Eisenhower Academy Receives Award


The National Title I Association has recognized Eisenhower Academy in Joliet Public Schools District 86 and Washington Elementary School in Marion Community Unit School District 2 as National Title I Distinguished Schools. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) nominated Eisenhower Academy for the honor based on its exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years. ISBE nominated Washington Elementary School for significantly closing the achievement gap between student groups.  

ISBE honored both schools at the annual statewide Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Conference Feb. 11-13 in Chicago. The National Title I Association recognized the schools Jan. 31 at its annual conference in Kansas City, Mo.  

“The State Board is proud of and thankful to the educators, leaders, students, and families at Eisenhower Academy and Washington Elementary School for their incredible efforts,” said Jason Helfer, Ph.D., ISBE Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. “The ways in which both schools have built cultures of success for all students is very impressive and powerful.” 

Title I is the cornerstone of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, reauthorized in 2015 as ESSA. Title I provides funding for students in schools that serve low-income communities.  

One hundred percent of students at Eisenhower Academy are eligible to receive free lunches based on Joliet Public Schools’ overall low-income student percentage. Eighty-four percent of students met or exceeded standards in math on the state’s accountability assessment in 2018, and 82 percent met or exceeded standards in English language arts.   

Fifty-three percent of students at Washington Elementary School qualify as low-income. The gap between low-income and non-low-income students demonstrating proficiency on the state’s accountability assessment in English language arts closed by 14 percent between 2016 and 2018. The gap in math closed by 2 percent.  

Eisenhower Academy is a public magnet school with a staff committed to providing a structured educational setting for students with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. Principal Wendy Wolgan attributes Eisenhower Academy’s success to the dedication of the staff and robust engagement of parents and families.  

“We work hard every day to transform the lives of the students who walk through our doors,” said Wolgan. “Eisenhower’s students work hard, and because of the support of the staff, the students, and the community, we have the honor to be a National Title I Distinguished School.” 

Washington Elementary School makes a conscious and intentional effort to nurture a positive and supportive teaching and learning environment. Washington Elementary School Principal Tommy Colboth says a systemic approach to meeting students’ academic and behavioral needs is integral to the school’s success. The school uses the Multi-Tiered System of Support framework to monitor students’ needs.    

“All students at Washington Elementary School have equal access to instructional and behavioral supports,” said Colboth. “Student progress is closely monitored with scheduled data review meetings, giving students quick access to the appropriate interventions. Washington Elementary is grateful that our hard-working students and teachers have been recognized as a National Title I Distinguished School.” 

For more information on the National Title I Distinguished Schools program, visit www.isbe.net/Pages/Distinguished-Schools.aspx

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