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High school recognized as pacesetter
5 Pacesetter School pic
From left, Val Dickerson, Alisa Abe, Jessica Abe, Neil Harrison and Wayne Chelf display a banner naming Dawson County High School a High Schools That Work Pacesetter School for 2008 - 10. - photo by Adam C. Stapleton

High Schools That Work, a program of the Southern Regional Education Board, has named Dawson County High School a Pacesetter School for 2008 - 10.


Dawson County High School, along with the 24 other schools selected for the honor, will serve as models of success for other high schools across the nation that are working towards improvement and excellence in education.


“It’s a recognition, I feel, of everything that’s going on in the building,” said Dawson County High School Principal Wayne Chelf.


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, this is a multi-criteria look at what we’re doing, it recognizes the importance of our career-tech side as it is integrated with our academic side,” said Chelf. “High Schools That Work looks at our overall program and sees that we are preparing kids to leave here and enter society, whether it’s directly to a four-year college, a two-year technical college, the military or directly into the workforce. This program asks us, ‘Do we have them ready?’ and the answer is that we do,” Chelf added.


Dawson County High School was one of more than 1,300 schools in 31 states to be evaluated by the High Schools That Work program, gaining the program’s capstone honor of Pacesetter School 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. 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,” said Chelf on some of the many standards that being named a Pacesetter School requires.


Chelf said that as a Pacesetter School, the high school would be 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, who also expressed his pride in being a part of Dawson County High School.


“I’m delighted to be here at a time when the school has finally been recognized for all of the hard work and dedication that staff, faculty and students have put into setting Dawson County High School apart as a model of excellence in education,” said Chelf.


“It delights me on behalf of the staff. This really represents a recognition for what everyone here is doing. It really represents what the whole school is all about,” he added.


E-mail Adam C. Stapleton at