Ironton High gets national award

Published 1:41 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ironton High School has joined an exclusive academic group as it has just been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

“This is the state championship of academics, in my opinion,” Ironton Superintendent Dean Nance said. “This is an honor in the academic realm. This is equivalent of winning the state championship in football.

“The high school staff has worked very hard to receive this award. The preparation has been in the development through the excellent instruction being given at the elementary and middle schools. Even though it is a high school award, it is a celebration of our entire district.”

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Across the country 337 schools received this distinction based on their ability to close achievement gaps among student subgroups. There were 14 in the state of Ohio and IHS was the only school in Lawrence County. At Ironton, it was the school’s progress in closing the gap for those who are economically disadvantaged and with special needs.

Of the close to 432 students at the high school approximately 50 percent fall in those two subgroups, according to IHS principal Joe Rowe.

About a year ago the Ohio Department of Education recommended Ironton High for the award.

“It was a long process,” Nance said. “We had to score at a level equivalent to the past five years on the state report card. For the past five years in a row Ironton has been in the top 10 percent in the state of Ohio in achievement scores for special needs students.”

Nance attributes that success to the district’s philosophy of education where all students are exposed to the core curriculum.

“We feel that all students can learn and we feel it is our duty to try to stretch all children as much as they possibly can,” Nance said.

On Nov. 10 and 11 the federal department will honor the schools in a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. Rowe and one teacher will represent Ironton.

“This is something we are very proud of,” Rowe said. “Through the hard work and efforts of all students and teachers we have closed the gap in education over the past few years. It has been a long process. We are working a lot smarter, using teacher collaboration and the efforts of the students.”