State Awards Brentwood Middle a Gold Star
The school's consistently high test scores earned special recognition from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
You've heard of teachers giving gold stars to students for good work, but how about schools that receive gold stars from the state?
Brentwood Middle School received such an award from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this year. Unlike glittery stickers placed on the quizzes of thousands of children across the state, however, only six Missouri schools received the recognition for the 2009-10 school year. Brentwood Middle was the only school recognized in the St. Louis Area.
"The Board of Education is very proud of Brentwood Middle School," board member Keith Rabenberg said. "They've tried several times, and it's time they got the recognition they deserve."
The Gold Star is awarded to schools based on the students' standardized testing performance as compared to the national No Child Left Behind standard. State education officials selected Brentwood Middle School based on its students' high performance in reading and math, as well as the school's ability to keep up with yearly progress for at least two years, according to Marry Ann Burns, school improvement initiatives director for the state education department.
"To be nominated for this award and to receive Gold Star school status is really extremely difficult," Burns said. "Brentwood Middle School has much to be proud of in their accomplishments."
Now in her 12th year as the school's top administrator, principal Julie Sperry credits the teachers' sustained efforts to raise the bar over an extended period of time.
"I think I have an incredible teaching staff," Sperry said. "We've put in hours and hours of developmental training."
In addition to a character education program, Sperry has helped the district employ the eMINTS program to make technology a part of everyday class life and to train teachers in the latest in teaching methods.
Achieving program certification required that all teachers of third through eighth grade spend 200 hours of after-school time training with Brentwood's in-district eMINTS trainer over the course of two years.
"They met almost every week after school," Sperry said.
The character education program revises the previous method of enticing children to listen and behave by "bribing kids with rewards," Sperry said. Instead, character education emphasizes the value of good scholarship for its own sake.
"You have to teach to the head, the heart and the hands," she said.