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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Board members Neil Reynolds, left, and Bob Nelson, center, and EACS Superintendent Ken Folkscongratulate New Haven Intermediate School staff for earning a national blue ribbon award.

New Haven school earns federal award for improvement

– It was a blue ribbon day Wednesday at New Haven Intermediate School as teachers, school board members, administrators and community members celebrated a student achievement honor.

New Haven Intermediate is one of 12 Hoosier schools, and the only one in northeast Indiana, to be named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

“It’s very encouraging to see what hard work can accomplish,” East Allen County Schools Superintendent Ken Folks said.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at high levels or are making significant gains in academic achievement, according to the program’s website.

Schools that receive the award are recognized as “exemplary high performing” – ranked among their state’s highest-performing schools based on state assessments – or “exemplary improving.”

New Haven Intermediate was among the schools recognized for exemplary improvement that have at least 40 percent of students from low-income families.

Students at New Haven Intermediate, formerly Meadowbrook Elementary, increased overall ISTEP+ scores from 59.2 percent of students passing English and math in 2011 to 68.6 percent for both in 2012.

The school’s preliminary spring 2013 scores show a slight drop of about 2.2 percent in the number of students passing both sections of the test.

Folks credits the school’s success to an increased focus on data-driven instruction and dedication from parents, teachers and students.

“When you get students and parents to own their own data – when they know what their scores are and what they need to improve – that really helps, and that’s what we’ve been focusing on at East Allen,” he said.

New Haven Intermediate teachers and Principal Alicia Gatewood shook hands with board members Bob Nelson and Neil Reynolds and received a blue ribbon from Folks.

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, also visited with teachers and administrators Wednesday.

Folks said the district plans to celebrate the award with New Haven Intermediate students at a future date.