In August 2008, Dawson County High School was named as a Pacesetter School for 2008-10 by High Schools That Work, a program of the Southern Regional Education Board.
Along with 24 other schools that received the recognition, Dawson County High School will serve as a model of success for other high schools across the nation that are working toward improvement and excellence in education.
Dawson County High School Principal Wayne Chelf felt that this recognition reflected everything that has been going on within the school.
The award is only given to schools that meet or exceed the strict standards of the High Schools That Work program.
“This recognition is not just based on test performances,” said Chelf. “This is a multi-criteria look at what we’re doing, it recognizes the importance of our career-tech as it is integrated with our academic side.”
High Schools That Work looks at the overall program of a school to see how well students are being prepared to enter society once they graduate. Whether that be continuing their education in college, joining the armed forces or going straight into the work force.
Dawson County High School was one of more than 1,300 schools in 31 states to be evaluated by the program, gaining the program’s capstone honor of Pacesetter for 2008-10.
“We had to have 85 percent or more of our kids graduating meet their readiness goals and 85 percent or more had to meet their curriculum guidelines,” said Chelf.
“Ours here are more rigorous than most. We require four years of English, science, math and social studies. High Schools That Work, and many other schools in the nation, will settle for only three years in those studies, so we knew going in that we were going to exceed those standards,” Chelf added.
As a Pacesetter School, the high school is now a part of an elite education network with other schools that are implementing innovative educational programs.
“We can learn from those schools and what they’re doing and apply it in our own system and vice versa,” said Chelf.