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School rated in top 20 percent statewide, named model elementary school for 2019

FILE PHOTO - Sandy Grade School named model school in 2019. Sandy Grade School is once again proving to be the comeback kid of the Oregon Trail School District. Last week, the International Center for Leadership in Education named Sandy Grade a 2019 model school. After several years of academic growth and the school's overall improvement, the school has rocketed from the bottom 10 percent to the top 20 percent of schools, with one of the highest growth rates in the state, changing the narrative for the school.

"It's really exciting and not something we were expecting," said Rachael George, principal at Sandy Grade. "The teachers know they're doing the hard work, but to be recognized is a big deal."

In 2016, Sandy Grade received the Oregon's Whole Child award in recognition of the school's work to "provide a healthy, safe, engaging, supported and challenging learning environment for all students."

That recognition marked the school's "dramatic improvements in student learning and achievements," said a statement from the Oregon Trail School District.

Sandy Grade is one of only seven elementary schools, and of only 18 schools K-12 nationwide, to be honored. It also is the only Oregon elementary school to be chosen.

"It typically takes about five to seven years to see improvement, and we did it in four," George noted. "We're still not done yet. There are still things to improve on."

In June, George and staff will present to other educators on their proven best practices at a conference in Washington, D.C., to hopefully share their improvement-oriented practices,

"We're extremely proud," George said. "The teachers have been really intentional about their practices. They're changing the game of education for kids."

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