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McGrath Elementary garners Blue Ribbon recognition

Posted: December 8, 2010 9:49 p.m.
Updated: December 9, 2010 6:00 a.m.

McGrath Elementary School is one of 33 California schools nominated Wednesday for the federal Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon recognition.

Despite its students’ economic hardships and English-language obstacles, the Newhall Elementary District school is one of the highest achieving in the state.

The Newhall school serves one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Santa Clarita Valley. Almost all of its 700 students are on the federal free- or reduced-lunch program.

Also, more than 60 percent of the students are English-language learners. These students often require more help via special programs.

Yet McGrath’s leaders and Newhall School District administrators have managed to turn McGrath into a model school.

McGrath was awarded the 2010 State Distinguished School designation. The school’s latest score on the state’s Academic Performance Index was 859, well above California’s goal of 800.

“McGrath has been a shining example of a highly effective school, and their accomplishments are proof that every student, from any background, can succeed academically,” school board President Michael Shapiro said in a statement.

“The teachers and administrators there have found the keys to success.”

McGrath is eligible for a Blue Ribbon award as a “Dramatically Improving, Disadvantaged School.”

Schools in that award category have 40 percent or more students who are in the free- and reduced-lunch program or are English-language learners, or who have parents who did not earn a high school diploma.

McGrath meets all three category qualifiers.


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