The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

January 13, 2012

School in the running for national education honor

ENID — Take enough baby steps, end up making a big step. That’s the way Hoover Elementary School Principal Karen Heizer sees her school’s accomplishment.

Hoover is one of only six Oklahoma schools nominated for placement on the U.S. Department of Education’s list of Blue Ribbon Schools.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Hoover was nominated for the award because it has narrowed the achievement gap between regular students and English language learners, minority students and special education students.

“We are very proud of the staff and students at Hoover,” said Shawn Hime, superintendent of Enid Public Schools.

Hime pointed to the requirement the school make academic improvement over a number of years, as opposed to being an award for a single year’s progress.

“There are 1,800 schools in Oklahoma,” Hime said. “To be one of only six — that’s very exciting.”

Heizer gave credit to her teachers and teaching assistants for keeping a “never give up” attitude.

“We’ve just steadily marched forward a little at a time and this year was a pretty big jump,” Heizer said.

Heizer said the staff designed after-school programs that tied closely with lessons and provided after-school help for students who are struggling in math and science.

“I do have to say it’s not the programs that make the difference,” Heizer said. “It’s the people who make the difference. I have the most dedicated employees at Hoover. They are never going to give up on the kids.”

Heizer said the staff lives up to the school’s action statement: “Every child. Every chance. Every way. Every day.”

Once schools are nominated for Blue Ribbon status, they must be willing to go through an intensive application process with the national Blue Ribbon office. Blue Ribbon Schools typically are announced in September.

“They serve as model schools in the state and nation for continuous instruction and success of students,” said Gloria Bayouth, executive director of federal programs at the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

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