South Range Elementary wins award

By Amanda C. Davis

The state education department nominated the school based on its consistent record of achievement.

NORTH LIMA — South Range Elementary School is being recognized as a national model of excellence, furthering the district’s longstanding reputation as top-notch.

Principal Steve Matos and Sandy Toy, a Title 1 teacher at the school, will travel to Washington, D.C., for two days in October to accept a plaque and banner for being named a 2008 No Child Left Behind — Blue Ribbon School.

Lloyd Elementary School in Austintown and Prospect Elementary School in Girard also earned the designation.

“In the entire country, I want to say it’s about 350 schools getting the award,” Matos said.

The Ohio Department of Education recommended South Range to the U.S. Department of Education, which granted the designation after approving a 20-page application submitted in February.

Matos said the application covered academic performance, individual subjects, pupils in the district, the community and demographics of the area.

A Blue Ribbon school must either have a consistent record of high achievement — which is the case with South Range Elementary — or show significant improvement after a period of low achievement.

Matos, who’s been the school’s principal for four years, said the award is not just about the school doing well last year, but rather over a period of years.

“It’s pretty exciting and I’m pretty proud,” he told the school board this week. He was quick to share the credit, saying the award results from the dedication of all those who work with him now and those who came before him — teachers, administrators, pupils and staff.

The ODE will make a visit to the kindergarten through third-grade school soon to present Matos with a certificate.

Superintendent Dennis Dunham said parents, pupils, staff, the board and community all play a role in the district’s success.

South Range has received an excellent rating each year since the state implemented its report card system to gauge achievement.

This year’s report card shows that South Range is tops in the tri-county area in terms of the percentage of pupils passing standardized tests, Dunham said.

“I’m very proud of what’s going on in all three buildings,” he told the school board this week.

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