State educators learn the secret of Lawrence County#039;s success

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2005

The quality of Lawrence County schools are a point of pride with many residents. Educators from throughout the state got to see why Thursday, as they toured the county's seven Schools of Promise.

The Ohio Department of Education developed the Schools of Promise program to identify and congratulate schools that have overcome economic hardship to provide a top-notch educational experience for their students.

Chesapeake Elementary and Middle schools, Dawson-Bryant Middle and High schools, Rock Hill High School, and Burlington and South Point elementaries were each toured yesterday by Ohio educators to see what they could learn from the schools' superintendents, principals and teachers.

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Following the tour, the educators convened in the Bowman Auditorium at Ohio University Southern to discuss what they had seen, and to learn first-hand the secrets of success from Lawrence County educators.

Sam Hall, Superintendent of Chesapeake Schools, was thrilled to have two of his schools, Chesapeake Elementary and Middle, chosen as Schools of Promise. However, Hall said he was not ready for his schools to rest on their laurels.

"It's a great honor, especially to have two of our schools that are Schools of Promise," Hall said. "It shows that the things that we're doing are moving our students in the right direction."

"But we don't remain Schools of Promise, we want to achieve that plateau of an excellent school, but it is a marker along the way to show that we're on the right track."

Dr. John Fink is an educational consultant who helped select the Schools of Promise. He said that some of the leaps that Lawrence County schools have made in math and reading scores are unbelievable.

"If you look at the demographic data on these schools, the amount of progress they've made in one year is just phenomenal," Find said. "That's what attracted me to this in the first place. I looked at some of these reports and thought 'My God, how did they do this?'"

Much of the credit for the success, Fink said, was not due to any one group, but rather how all those groups manage to work together.

"There seems to be a higher-than-normal sense of community in the county," Fink said. "People really work together better, that's probably part of the reason, they tend to rely on one another."