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Feds recognize Pattengill Elementary as a high-performing school

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published October 14, 2015


BERKLEY — Pattengill Elementary School, part of the Berkley School District, was one of 13 Michigan schools to be named a National Blue Ribbon School for 2015 based on the school’s overall academic excellence.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the recognized schools Sept. 29, which included 335 schools nationwide. The award honors public and private schools in one of two performance categories — schools that achieve high learning standards and schools that make notable improvements in closing the achievement gap.

Pattengill was honored as an exemplary high-performing school based on the school’s state assessment scores, subgroup performance and high school graduation rates.

“When I was hired two years ago, I immediately knew this was a special place because of the people here,” Pattengill Principal Scott Francis said. “They are dedicated, hardworking and caring. To be recognized for the hard work and going the extra mile and doing what is best for the kids, it is about time the teachers and students’ hard work is known by more than just the small Pattengill community.”

Pattengill, a kindergarten through fifth grade school, is one of four elementary schools in the district that feeds into Anderson Middle School and eventually Berkley High School. Norup International School educates students in grades kindergarten through eight.

Francis said one of the main programs that he feels helps set Pattengill apart from other elementary schools in the state is the Response to Intervention that the school takes with all students.

The first tier of the three-tier Response to Intervention is the primary general education instruction that takes place in a classroom setting.

“Teachers challenge students to have a deeper analysis of their work and think deeper about concepts,” Francis said. “It is not just reading, writing and arithmetic, but we get the students prepared to be part of the 21st century.”

The second tier is implemented by learning and intervention specialists for students who are struggling in the classroom. It provides small group instruction inside and outside of the classroom. The final tier is a strong staff for students with special needs.

Francis said that having high-functioning education on all three tiers helps students get the most of their education.

“It really brings every student into the light all the time, because we meet weekly with the special education and general education teams,” he said. “We recognize which students are struggling and how we can help them individually. It is the individual attention at Pattengill that we give that makes a big difference, as we are willing to go that extra mile and give that extra attention that all our students need.”

The process for the National Blue Ribbon recognition began last year when Pattengill was selected by the Michigan Department of Education to apply for the national award. Francis said it was the work of former Principal Daryl Robbins that helped set up an environment at Pattengill where students could succeed.

But it was also the work of the school community.

“It is definitely a whole-community award, without a doubt,” Francis said. “The parents are incredibly involved and invested in our school, and we recognize the efforts and hard work that the students put forth daily in working to become not just better students, but better people.”

As students leave Pattengill and go to Anderson and Berkley High, Superintendent Dennis McDavid said it is the work of the entire district that aids in student achievement.

“Having Pattengill named a National Blue Ribbon School demonstrates our commitment to high expectations for all our wonderful students,” he said. “I’m very proud of the work the Pattengill staff does on a daily basis to encourage and guide our students to reach their personal best. I’m also very proud of our parents and entire Berkley Schools community working together to support, love and nurture our children.”

Pattengill will receive the award during a special U.S. Department of Education celebration Nov. 9-10 in Washington, D.C.