Harrison Elementary on Bruce Street in downtown Lexington has long been one of Lexington's poorest schools and one of the state's poorest performing, consistently falling into the lowest categories for elementary schools. It had dedicated teachers, a health clinic for kids and an active family resource center to help parents, but it could not seem to help its children get what they needed most — education.That's from the start of a great Herald-Leader report, showing yet again how good teachers in good teams with good leaders can take our children much higher.
"We just knew it had to change," said [Principal Tammie] Franks.
Four years later, it has. When state test scores were released in the fall, Harrison not only had made its federal No Child Left Behind goals for a third straight year, it racked up double-digit gains in the Kentucky Core Content Test in social studies, writing, science and math. Harrison's index score, which was 77 two years ago, jumped to 94.
Those gains took money, a lot of it; many extra hours of work from teachers, students, and parents; and maybe, most of all, leadership that was unwilling to accept the status quo.
The rest of us are responsible for thanking them, supporting them, and doing everything we can to help more educators do work this good. It's stories like this that should keep our whole state upright and pushing forward against every wind of recession and every wave of new excuses.