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2 schools honored by state
Buffet of knowledge
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It was no surprise to Riverview Middle School’s principal that his students placed high in a statewide program that recognizes achievement.


“These kids are high achievers,” Bill Zadernak said. “If knowledge is food, they come forward with a big appetite. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet of knowledge at Riverview.”


Zadernak credited staff as well for the school’s 2009 Single Statewide Accountability System Gold Award from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.


The local middle school was one of nine in the state to receive the designation.


Riverview wasn’t alone in its accolades.


Dawson County High won a silver award in the same program. Principal Wayne Chelf said it’s the fifth straight year the school has earned a state or national award for academic achievement.


“It’s a nice reaffirmation that what we’re doing is working,” said Chelf, adding that the high school was one of 23 statewide to receive the award.


Superintendent Keith Porter said it’s the first time two schools in the district have been recognized in the same year by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.


“It’s something we’re really proud of,” he said.


Schools must meet three criteria for the award. Those include making annual yearly progress, or AYP, for two years straight; having at least 25 percent of students exceed standards in all state tests; and demonstrating that at least 96 percent of students meet or exceed standards.


In Riverview’s case, students placed in the 97th percentile or higher statewide, elevating them to the gold designation.


Zadernak could not be more proud of the students and faculty at Riverview, but credited the entire school district for its success.


“It takes the whole system,” Zadernak said. “These kids did well in middle school because it’s ingrained in them from elementary school, and it’s our job to prepare them for high school.


“We make middle school a place where kids love to come to school. School shouldn’t be a place where kids don’t want to be. It can be fun, and we strive to make it a good experience.”