Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Teresa Simpson
Whitman County Gazette 

LaCrosse Elementary receives $30,000

Elementary named national distinguished school


January 12, 2023

Teresa Simpson | Whitman County Gazette

April Guske, Lauren Hart, Principle Jordan Jennings, Alli Heaton, Wendy Fleming, Katie Zaring and Brenda Camp pose with the ESEA National Distinguished School Award.

LACROSSE - LaCrosse Elementary school was nominated by Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) National Distinguished School Awards, and was presented a plaque by Assistant Superintendent of OSPI, Jon Ram Mishra, Friday Jan.. 6 at an 8 a.m. school assembly.

"LaCrosse Elementary school is being recognized for exceptional student performance and academic growth," Mishra said at the assembly, further explaining that ESEA Distinguished school programs publicly recognize federally funded schools on the outstanding academic achievements of their students.

Mishra read from a letter from OSPI Superintendent Chris Reykdal, explaining that the ESEA Distinguished School program has been in place since 1966, and has showcased the success of hundreds of schools in three categories. LaCrosse was recognized as the first category, which is exceptional student performance and academic growth. The two other categories are closing the achievement gap between students, and excellence in serving special populations of students.

Mishra presented Principle Jordan Jennings with a plaque, and with the help of a few elementary students a giant check for the school for $30,000.

Jennings explained that it was a team effort, "We came together to try and surround our elementary school and give them our support," he said, adding that they tried to close the gap in reading skills after coming out of COVID, "Our teamwork has made a difference in our elementary school."

"None of this would be possible without our awesome elementary teachers," Jennings said, "We are planning to keep the programs that we implemented a couple years ago," noting that this includes intervention programs called walk to read, and walk to math. Jennings explained that these programs allow students to go to certain small groups, with students that have similar skill levels in reading and math.

LaCrosse Elementary has big plans for the money that they earned as a national distinguished school, "We are increasing our availability to our mental health counselor," Jennings said, "We're trying to provide more access to services that students might need."

The school was able to hire additional staffing using money that the state gave schools for coming out of COVID, and are now able to use the money that they've received to continue that.

Jennings will be presenting a short video featuring the elementary school at the National ESEA Conference held in Indianapolis and online February 1st through the 4th.


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