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LakeView Technology Academy named National Blue Ribbon School
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LakeView Technology Academy named National Blue Ribbon School

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PLEASANT PRAIRIE — A Kenosha Unified academy can add a national accolade to its list of accomplishments.

LakeView Technology Academy was officially named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one of just eight schools in the state to get the designation and the only high school in Wisconsin. The honor was announced Thursday.

LakeView will be among the 312 public schools, along with 50 private schools, to be recognized during an awards ceremony Nov. 14 and 15 at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C.

LakeView, a specialty high school that prepares students looking to enter careers in engineering or higher-level technology, was nominated by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor in January with an application submitted by the school’s principal, Bethany Ormseth.

“I am so very proud of and grateful for the hard-working, dedicated and committed LakeView team. A blue ribbon is an outstanding achievement that’s earned through a tremendous amount of hard work, and this honor proves that this team goes above and beyond for our students each and every day,” Kenosha Unified School District Superintendent Sue Savaglio-Jarvis said Sunday.

LakeView is receiving recognition for being an Exemplary High Performing School, one that scores in the top 15 percent on state assessments. (Schools also earn Blue Ribbon status by scoring in the top 15 percent for closing achievement gaps.)

Over the last two years, LakeView has significantly exceeded state expectations in accordance with educational accountability priority areas.

At the high school level, the state’s report card takes into account student achievement, closing achievement gaps and whether pupils are on track for graduation and post-secondary readiness.

During the 2017-18 school year, LakeView achieved an overall score of 94.6 on a 100-point scale, nearly seven points higher than the previous school year, when it also significantly exceeded expectations. Last year, it earned 90, 97.2 and 98.5 points in the areas of student achievement, closing gaps and graduation ratings, respectively, compared with state averages of 57.3, 67.7 and 90.6.

In its application for Blue Ribbon School nomination earlier this year, Ormseth described the school as “present focused and future driven.”

The school — located in what was once an open-plan, repurposed warehouse — was established in 1997 with a grant from the Palmer Foundation in response to overcrowding at Unified’s high schools. Starting with 90 students in its freshman class, it has since quadrupled and continues its partnerships with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and Gateway Technical College.

LakeView’s program design allows students to enter the workforce directly as technically trained staff or continue to college with as much as a year’s worth of college credits already earned. Within the school’s culture are “collaborative and cooperative” strategies that are often project based and with students having a voice in the direction or methods used.

Working together

“This regard for our students as equal participants of the learning process has become our culture and is at the forefront of our clubs and after-school social events, with all participants teeming with a sense of community, family and friendship,” Ormseth said. “Our staff places building student relationships as paramount and find that doing so affects student performance greatly.”

In the Blue Ribbon application, Ormseth said teachers have “consistently raised the bar not only for the students but for themselves, always ambitious in their pursuits for more effective ways to educate and more opportunities for their students, be it training, site visitations or apprenticeships.”

On Sunday, she praised the schools teachers for their support in furthering student achievement.

“I have the honor of working alongside some of the very best educators and support staff in our nation. They, along with our extremely supportive families, have made this achievement a reality, and I am forever grateful for the endless support we receive at LakeView,” she said. “In the end, it’s about providing the very best service we can to our students, and I believe this recognition showcases all that we are doing to ensure all students succeed.”

Stanford Taylor congratulated Wisconsin schools on the award.

“Students, teachers, families, educational support staff, school and district leadership, all of you can take pride in achieving this national honor, which recognizes schools’ success for all students,” she said.

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