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NLMS Named School of Distinction for Fourth Year


December 3, 2012

North Lake Middle School, recognized for outstanding improvement in student achievement, received the 2012 School of Distinction Award from The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE), the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Phi Delta Kappa-Washington Chapter (PDK-WA), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Washington State ASCD and Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA).

Superintendent Amy Beth Cook stated, “I’m appreciative of the consistent level of work put forth by our teachers and administrators at North Lake Middle School; their work in identifying students strengths and weaknesses and adjusting teaching to meet students’ learning needs is resulting not only in solid testing scores but improved learning for students. I’m very proud of their dedication to teaching and to their students.”

To qualify for this recognition students in grades six and seven had to score at or above the state median as measured by state MSP test in math, reading and writing. Schools recognized represent the top 5% of schools in Washington state.

As compared to state averages North Lake Middle School students scored above state average in every testing category by the following percentage points:

Sixth Grade – reading 75.4% meeting standard, 4.7% above state average writing 81.9 % meeting standard, 20.4% above state average.

Seventh Grade – reading 75.2% meeting standard, 3.9% above state average math 76.8% meeting standard, 17.6% above state average writing 82.7% meeting standard, 11.7% above state average.

Several strategies have been put in place over time at North Lake and collectively have contributed to improved learning for students. Principal Brad Abels named a few that he believes has contributed to the success of the school including:

• Regular assessments to shape and guide instruction.

• Using data from assessments to respond to specific guided instruction.

• Dedicated time at staff meetings and professional development time that focuses on math, reading and writing.

• Teams of teachers working together in content areas to develop specific academic vocabulary that students need to know to understand the subject that is being taught.

• An energetic and engaged staff, positive students and a supportive community.

Principal Abels revealed some insight into his passion for teaching and the importance of time when he shared, “At our last staff meeting I surprised the staff with a cake and we took five minutes out of our time celebrate this award.”

Using every minute of time allocated in the day for student learning and every minute of time allocated for staff training to focus on teaching and learning in the content areas of math, reading and writing, has had an impact for improved academic achievement for students at North Lake Middle School.


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