Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

U.S. Dept. of Education names Lawrence’s Woodlawn as one of five Blue Ribbon Schools in Kansas

The school was one of five in Kansas recognized with the award.

September 9, 2010


The U.S. Department of Education named Woodlawn School as one of five Blue Ribbon Schools in the state on Thursday.

With that honor, the North Lawrence elementary school, with a little more than 240 students, risks losing the distinction of being one of the Lawrence school district’s top schools that no one knows about.

“We do feel like we are the best kept secret,” Woodlawn Principal Jeanne Fridell said. “Although, now the secret is out of the bag.”

Last year Broken Arrow School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School.

The award, which went to 304 private and public schools in the country this year, honors schools that are among the highest performing in the state based on state assessment test scores. It also recognizes schools that have a high percentage of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and have improved student performance to high levels on assessment tests.

Other winners

Along with Woodlawn School, four other schools in the state were recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education:

• Franklin Elementary School, Junction City

• Garden Plain High School, Garden Plain

• Lakeside Intermediate School, Cawker City

• St. George Elementary School, St. George

Woodlawn qualified in both categories.

“All teachers work hard, but Woodlawn has really changed systemically how they approach teaching kids,” Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll said. “They’ve used excellent instruction coaches to get better, changed schedules and the way they do business.”

Fridell credits the school’s success to using data from test scores to help drive what is taught in the classroom, teachers and aides collaborating to make sure students understand the material and setting high expectations for the students.

One of the biggest changes the school made was adding half an hour intervention blocks for reading or math. Support staff members help with small-group instruction for students who are at risk and also for those who are performing well.

“We’ve drilled down to look at each student and their individual needs,” Fridell said.

Each year, the students at Woodlawn have watched their state assessment scores creep upwards.

“We feel like all the work we have been through is paying off,” sixth-grader Isabelle Krones said.

Five years ago, 77 percent of third- to sixth-grade students performed at or above the state standard for both reading and math. Today, those numbers have changed to 95.7 percent for reading and 97.4 percent for math.

“More studying for tests,” sixth-grader David Krejci gave as the reason for the improvement. “Last year we studied over spring break in math and reading.”


Jefferson_County 7 years, 8 months ago

What in the world are you trying to say? How about congratulations and good work, Woodlawn!

Bobbi Walls 7 years, 8 months ago

Actually Woodlawn enrollment is staying roughly the same from year to year and we gain new students every year!

Jefferson_County 7 years, 8 months ago

You're right. I'm sure the Department of Education is in on this conspiracy to make Woodlawn look better than it is. Take your baseless complaining elsewhere.

stbaker 7 years, 8 months ago

Woodlawn is a great little school, and Mrs. Fridell truly cares about her students. Congratulations!!!

maybeso 7 years, 8 months ago

Way to go Riverhawks! Mrs. Fridell and ALL the staff at Woodlawn are to be commended. There will always be challenges and a few disgruntled parents, but with sincere communication and effort from home, families will find that the Woodlawn staff will work tirelessly to better students' grades and prepare them for the future. A great school!

kugrad 7 years, 8 months ago

Congrats to Woodlawn staff and students.

It is worth noting that some other Lawrence schools could or would have gotten this designation as well, but the size of the school prohibits them from being eligible. Our school district does a great job.

Bobbi Walls 7 years, 8 months ago

Makes me very proud to be a Woodlawn parent! Way to go Riverhawks. The teachers and principal are excellent, and I wouldn't send my kids to any other school in town.

Cogito_Ergo_Es 7 years, 8 months ago

Congratulations Woodlawn! Looks like everyone, staff, families, and children have been working very hard out there. Looks like you've made tremendous improvements. You should be commended. I do find it interesting that there are no awards for the other Lawrence schools that do consistently well every year. I was told that you cannot win this award unless you are a Title 1 school, I have not had a chance to confirm that, but what awards are out there for the other really great Lawrence schools (Title 1 or not) that have children scoring in the 90th percentile every year? They have virtually no room for improvement, so they get no accolades. So, not to take anything away from Woodlawn, they have worked hard, but 'high-fives' to all the great Lawrence elementaries, their staff and families that through great effort, achieve the high scores for those various and arbitrary assessments, by which we measure success. Good work all!

Clevercowgirl 7 years, 8 months ago

Just wondering....Who applies for these awards.

twinetowngirl 7 years, 8 months ago

Woodlawn was a great school for my son! We loved it. His teachers were top notch and very caring. Yes, they were a little demading at times, and lost homework earned you "riverhawk" after school, but these kids are taught not only their "school lessons" but also responsibility and self worth. Because of the teachers at Woodlawn, my son was selected for the Duke University talent program. He earned a 99 on his MAP tests and in a few months will be taking the ACT's or SAT's given to the HS students. Quite the accomplishment for my 7th grader!! I don't mean to sound like I am bragging, I am just so proud of him, and the teachers that helped him get there!! Thanks Woodlawn!!!

geoismeo 7 years, 8 months ago

I went to Woodlawn back in the sixties. It was a great school with a small town feel. Whats the deal with the "Riverhawk" name? We were sandrats back then.i

bearded_gnome 7 years, 8 months ago

congratulaions Woodlawn staff and students!

apparently fewer parents in north lawrence are raising narcissists [see blog about adjusting school start times.]

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