Posted Date: 03/18/2021
De Baca County News – Fort Sumner Elementary is one of just two New Mexico schools to be named to the 2020 National Elementary and Secondary Education Act Distinguished Schools list Just 24 schools nationwide were named to the Category 1 list, which features schools “exibiting exceptional student performance and academic growth for two or more consecutive years.” The only other New Mexico school named to the list was Explore Academy of Albuquerque, which was a Category 3 winner. Those schools were chosen for excellence in serving special populations of students, including homeless, migrant, English language learners, etc. Fort Sumner Elementary Principal Steve Dimitroff said the award was a based on the vast improvements students made over the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. “It’s a credit to the efforts of our teachers and their innovative methods of providing subject matter to our students,” Dimitroff said. “And, we are fortunate to have students who work hard to learn and parents who support them.” With the award, a team from Fort Sumner Elementary would have typically received a trip to the National Distinguished Schools Conference to present their plan for success and how it was implemented. But the 2020 conference was reduced to an online presentation due to the pandemic. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools award recognizes schools that show exceptional student performance or demonstrates educational equity. Award winners showed exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years, showed significant progress towards closing the “achievement gap” – the disparity between student groups – or showed excellence in service to special populations of students. This progress is measured using Smarter Balanced Assessment scores and student growth percentiles, which measure students’ growth against their peers. In addition to recognition at the National ESEA Conference, Fort Sumner Elementary will receive $20,000 for use toward professional development, team building, research, and strategy development.