Fred Assam named Nat'l Title I School

By: 
Jamie Hult, Staff writer
Fred Assam Elementary principal Susan Foster announces news of the school's award to students and staff. Jamie Hult/BV Journal
Fred Assam Elementary is making significant strides with students learning English as a second language, and those efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. 
This Thursday, the South Dakota Department of Education will publicly recognize FAE as a National Title I Distinguished School during a 1 p.m. program at the school. 
Fred Assam joins fewer than 100 schools across the country being honored in 2017 and two in South Dakota. Wall Elementary in Wall, was also selected. 
Schools are selected by their state Department of Education for making significant improvements for students.
According to Mary Stadick Smith, SDDOE’s director of operations, Fred Assam qualified for excellence in serving special populations of students.
“Specifically, they saw growth with their English learners population,” Smith said. 
ELA – English Language Acquisition – is one of Fred Assam’s biggest subjects, said principal Susan Foster. 
ELA test scores from the 2016-17 school year proved FAE was deserving of the award, but getting there took time and teamwork. 
“From five years ago, four years ago, when we started evaluating our curriculum, looking at our reading, and we went and we observed different schools and doing research and put together this Walk to Read process, I think we tapped into something,” Foster said. 
The largest federally funded pre-college education program in the U.S., Title I, provides funding to school districts to aid in the education of economically disadvantaged students.
“I just can’t tell you enough how much we support all those little subgroups out there and how we all come together, from an EA to a classroom teacher to a reading specialist to an administrator to the parents,” Foster said. “It’s such a nice team effort and team cohesiveness that brings an honor like this to our school.”
Thursday’s celebratory program will feature South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp and is open to the public. 
The National Title I Association implemented the National Title I Distinguished Schools Program to highlight selected schools that have successfully used their Title I federal funds to improve the education for economically disadvantaged students. 
Schools selected for the award receive professional development resources, exposure on the National Title I Distinguished Schools website at www.titlei.org and $2,500 toward travel to the National Title I conference Feb. 8-11 in Philadelphia.
More information about all National Title I Distinguished Schools is available on the National Title I Association website: www.titlei.org.

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