Walla Walla County schools win state acclaim

Washington Achievement Award winners can be found around the region this year.

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Several schools in Walla Walla County are recipients of 2011 Washington Achievement Awards through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Columbia High School (Burbank), Prescott Junior-Senior High School, Touchet Elementary and High School, Prescott Junior-Senior High School, Waitsburg High School, Walla Walla Alternative Education and Walla Walla High School received special recognition for their extended graduation rates.

Garrison Middle School was recognized for improvement.

Waitsburg High School was also recognized for overall excellence, the third year the school has received this award. It is also the third year Waitsburg has been recognized for a high rate of graduation. The high school was also recipient of recognition for achievement in language arts in 2009, the first year the awards were made.

Walla Walla High School was one of two schools in the state recognized for closing the achievement gap in 2010.

Waitsburg Superintendent Carol Clarke said she believes the small size of the district allows individual attention that "is the true reason for our success with our students, and it's not just at the high school. We provide individualized, personalized education. We have that opportunity because we are a small rural district. We know our kids, we know the challenges they face individually and collectively, and we tailor the education services they receive."

The state education agency and the State Board of Education created the Washington Achievement Award to celebrate top-performing schools, and recognize achievement in multiple categories. Those categories include overall excellence, language arts, math, science, extended graduation rate, improvement and closing achievement gaps.

Awards are given based on each school's performance according to the Washington Achievement Index, a measurement of how schools in the state are performing over time.

Principals from each recognized school have been invited to an awards ceremony April 25 at Mariner High School in Everett. They include Garrison Principal Gina Yonts, Wa-Hi Principal Pete Peterson and Lincoln Principal Jim Sporleder, Waitsburg High School Principal Stephanie Wooderchak, Prescott School Principal Jodi Thew, Touchet School Principal Elissa Tinder, and Columbia High School principal Kyle Miller.

More information on the Education Awards is available at www.k12.wa.us.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289. Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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