Illinois Spotlight School
LaHarpe Elementary was recently named an Illinois Spotlight School. A Spotlight School is a high poverty school where academic performance is closing the “achievement gap” The Illinois State Board of Education recognizes Spotlight Schools located throughout the state in urban, suburban, and rural location. These schools exhibit achievements that are contrary to the conventional beliefs that test scores will reflect demographics, despite local efforts. LaHarpe Elementary School was one of 167 Spotlight Schools that earned this prestigious honor in this year.
Criteria for selecting Spotlight Schools are rigorous. All schools must be making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), which requires that at least 85% of the students must pass the state achievement tests in both reading and mathematics. (ISAT’s) At least half of the students in each school are from low-income families. As the AYP requirements continued to rise, the number of schools achieving this award leveled off in 2008 and has declined in succeeding years. Both LaHarpe Elementary and LaHarpe Junior High have consistently met AYP, which is an achievement to be celebrated.
The Spotlight Schools demonstrate that low-income students and schools with limited resources can show impressive academic performance. These schools know how to help all students succeed. LaHarpe can attribute its success to the hard work the students put forth throughout the year in preparation for assessment, as well as continued staff development with teachers dedicated to meeting the needs of the students. Congratulations to LaHarpe Elementary on being an Illinois Spotlight School!