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Two Acadiana schools earn national distinction for exceptional performance

Posted at 10:38 AM, Jan 12, 2021

BATON ROUGE, La. — Early College Academy in Lafayette Parish and Pine Prairie High School in Evangeline Parish have been named National ESEA Distinguished Schools by the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA).

According to a release from the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana schools earned the honor for exceptional performance for two or more years.

“Our children are our highest priority. The teachers, leaders and families of these schools are committed to that student-first mission," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley in a release.

The NAESPA annually recognizes two Title I schools in every state. Title I schools, a designation based on the percentage of their students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, receive additional federal funding to support populations of at-risk or economically-disadvantaged students through enhanced programming.

To be selected, schools must either demonstrate high academic achievement for two or more consecutive years or significantly close the achievement gap between specific student groups and their peers.

Early College Academy, which is housed at SLCC in Lafayette, was recognized in the category of “High Achieving Schools,” which highlights exceptional student performance for two or more years. Students there have consistently met or exceeded expectations for high academic achievement.

Pine Prairie High School was recognized in the category of "Closing the Achievement Gap" for their work improving the educational performance of students that have historically struggled.

Both schools have been invited to participate in the National ESEA Conference on February 8-11, where they will be honored among distinguished schools nationwide.

The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators —formerly the National Title I Association—has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program (recently renamed from its predecessor, the National Title I Distinguished Schools program) since 1996.

These schools demonstrate a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized programs for student success and strong partnerships between the school, parents, and the community.

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