RIO GRANDE — Rio Grande Elementary School was recently recognized as a High Progress School of Honor by the Ohio Department of Education.
“There are several criteria we have to meet to get this designation,” said Rio Grande Elementary Principal Julie Bays. “It’s not something that happens all the time. It basically takes data from over the past five years before the state can award this to any school system.”
Part of the award’s criteria asks that a school serve economically disadvantaged students compromising over 40 percent of the school’s student population. Rio roughly serves around 50 percent of students on free or reduced lunches.
“We’ve made major gains in our state test scores,” said Bay. “Over the (roughly) last five-year period, (the Ohio Department of Education) was looking at academic years ending in 2014 to 2018. (the school year began in 2013) So, once the state scores were released for last year, they saw over the past years our students have continued to grow and score well in our state tests.”
Rio Grande Elementary serves pre-kindergarten students up through fifth grade and around 315 students. Bays said only 67 schools throughout Ohio had been considered schools of promise in connection with the schools of honor awards.
“We’re excited to be part of that,” said Bays.
According to information provided by Bays, grades three through five also recently participated in STEM Day across the school. STEM is a commonly accepted acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The third grade was asked to design and build a tower, as tall as student groups could make, given only spaghetti. Fourth grade students were asked to build and design a paper roller coaster which would take the greatest amount of time to get a marble from the top of its first hill until the end. Fifth graders designed lunar landers and dropped them from a second story height with the aim of absorbing shock from a landing to protect two “aliens” from impact.
Engineers were available from Kyger Creek Plant, Gavin Plant and Electrocraft as well as the Gallia Engineer’s Office to observe and score students on designs.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.