Daniel Ekker, Enoch Elementary School principal, 4701 N. Wagon Wheel Dr., Enoch, Utah 84721, said the school received a letter in November congratulating them as a “recipient of the 2013 Utah High Performing Title I Schools Recognition.”
Ekker said this is his second year as principal at Enoch Elementary, and the school has achieved the honor both years he has been at the helm. However, he said the tradition did not start with him - it started with the principal who came before him, Lenore Roundy.
“We’ve had the recognition for years back,” he said. “I think one year they earned a blue ribbon school, which is a national recognition.”
Utah State Department of Education Title I Coordinator Ann White said that Enoch did indeed earn a national recognition awards for their high performance as a Title I school. In fact, White said they have received national recognition twice for being a Distinguished High Performing Title I school in the state of Utah, in 2006 and 2008.
Every year, White said each state chooses two schools for national recognition that have shown exemplary achievement in maintaining high scores despite some of the adversities that come along with being a Title I school. She said that Enoch Elementary is one of just a few schools in the country to receive the award twice.
White said it all started when Enoch Elementary received a warning that they were falling below adequate yearly progress standards – a system which she said they no longer use – and they were in danger of being noncompliant with Title I requirements for learning a little more than a decade ago.
She said the school made a swift turn around and by the next year; they had not only met the minimum requirements, but had leapt into the top percentage for test scores. In addition to the national award, she said that the state honors the top 15 percent of high scoring Title I schools annually, and that is what the 2013 award is.
“They have maintained it over that many years,” White said. “I don't think they have ever dropped below the reward recognition since then.”
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, found at www.naeyc.org/, “Title I, formerly known as Chapter 1, is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and is the foundation of the federal commitment to closing the achievement gap between low-income and other students.”
The Utah State Office of Education, found at www.schools.utah.gov, reported that Iron County currently has six Title I elementary schools: Cedar East Elementary, Cedar North Elementary, Enoch Elementary, Three Peaks Elementary, Parowan Elementary and Escalante Valley Elementary. Of the six Title I schools in the Iron County School District, a press release reported that all, but East Elementary were considered to be within the top 15 percent of the highest performing Title I schools in the state in 2013.
The designation as a Title I school allows schools to access additional grant monies that help to purchase additional educational tools to help enhance the educational experience of students who may have had fewer opportunities and experiences in life.
Ekker said Enoch Elementary has recently used Title I funding to purchase SMART board technology for each classroom to help teachers and students become more interactive during lessons.
White said that what sets Enoch Elementary apart from the rest of the schools in the district is not so much that they have achieved the top 15 percent recognition, but rather the consistency in which they have maintained that achievement.
Ekker said that the recognition isn’t something that the school has set out to attain. Instead, he said it is a byproduct of the actual goal, which is to provide a high quality educational experience to youth who are attendants at Enoch Elementary.
“This year I believe we even rose above a lot of the schools that were not economically challenged,” Ekker said.
Iron County School District Elementary Education Director Terry Pickett said he is proud of all of the schools in the district. He said Enoch has a passion that is simply unmistakable, and he believes that is what makes them unique.
“In my opinion every one of our schools here in Iron County are just doing a super job,” he said. “But Enoch elementary has taken it up to a level that it’s a passion for them to excel.”