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Local school sets an example for the rest of the state

News Channel 10
September 25, 2014

By Madison Alewel

Amarillo, TX - Glenwood Elementary School is setting an example for schools across the state when it comes to overcoming academic barriers.

This past school year, 750 schools in Texas did not meet state education standards, 16 of which are in our area. Many of the schools are facing language and economic barriers just like Glenwood.

The odds are stacked against Glenwood because about 96 percent of their students come from economically disadvantaged families and 40 percent don't even speak English when they first start class. However, teachers at Glenwood are not letting those odds define their school's success. 

Last year, the school not only met all of the state's education standards, it exceeded them. "I think Glenwood decided a long time ago that just because our students might face some challenges, that it was not going to be enough to have those expectations lowered because of that," said Glenwood principal Holly Holder. "In fact, we have to have higher expectations because we have to close those gaps for them. No one else is going to do it. My teachers really recognize that it is our job and our passion to teach them and overcome those problems that they have."

Their dedication is now getting the attention of the Texas Education Agency. They want to conduct a case study to find out how the school is succeeding academically. "What we're really wanting to do is be able to get on those campuses and hear from the teachers and the principals there about what they've done to be successful so that we can capture that and share it out with the rest of the state," said Mark Baxter, the TEA director of school improvement and support.

Glenwood is only one of 11 schools across Texas chosen for the study. "I think for Glenwood and AISD to be chosen as one of only 11 schools for the state of Texas is pretty cool," said Holder. "I think it really shows how hard our district works to make sure that all our students are learning despite any obstacles that they have."

Baxter said the Texas Education Agency hopes to have the case study published for schools across the state by early 2015.