Berkeley’s John Muir Elementary School was one of just three schools in Alameda County and 214 statewide to receive the prestigious Title I Academic Achievement Award, the State Department of Education announced Tuesday.
The school will receive a cash award for its achievement, the amount of which remains undetermined.
The award goes to schools with high levels of poverty that display strong standardized test scores for students from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds. To be eligible for the award, a school must have a poverty index equal to at least 40 percent of all students enrolled.
In the latest state Academic Performance Index report, which ranks schools on a basis from one to 1000, John Muir had an overall score of 815. African Americans at the school scored a 734, while socioeconomically disadvantaged students scored a 752. For the district as a whole, the average score was 731 overall, 642 for African Americans and 665 for socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
“We’re feeling proud and happy that the hard work everyone is doing is being recognized,” said John Muir Principal Nancy Waters.
She said the school, which at 242 students is Berkeley’s smallest, is able to give students a lot of positive, individual support.
Six times a year teachers send out postcards to students with praise about a specific area of progress, Waters said.
“It’s part of our culture,” she added. “We’re constantly trying to find the good.”