Sparks school distinguished as Title I

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Sparks school distinguished as Title I

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Alice Maxwell Elementary School in Sparks is one of only two schools in Nevada to be named a national Title I Distinguished School this year.

About 100 schools across the country will be recognized.

Title I schools are chosen based on student performance for two or more consecutive years. They receive federal funding set aside for economically disadvantaged students, an amount based on how many children receive free and reduce lunches.

Denise DuFrene was principal of the school last year and now leads Roger Corbett Elementary. She says Alice Maxwell has been successful because of the staff's belief system.

"It's a true, heartfelt belief that any student that walks into our building can perform academically regardless of whether their first language is Spanish or English, whether they come from a background of poverty or whether they come from a background of affluence. It's really about recognizing the strengths of each student."

Along with believing in all students, one strategy that DuFrene says has increased student achievement is common planning among all teachers for each grade.

"So, basically, every student who was in fourth grade or fifth grade had the exact same teaching practices, the same standards, the same assessments to make sure the individual teachers were all together, so it wasn't just about having one teacher having a strength maybe in math or another teacher having a strength in reading. It was about combining those strengths to maximize student achievement."

The Title I funding will help pay for additional teaching assistants, along with school supplies and textbooks.