Gold Star School

Lake Road named Missouri Gold Star School
Posted on 05/15/2018

Lake Road Elementary has been named a Missouri Gold Star School among only eight statewide for performing at a high academic level while serving a significant proportion of disadvantaged students, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced. 

“The students, faculty and staff at these eight schools reflect Missouri’s continuing effort to prepare every student for success,” stated DESE Interim Commissioner of Education Roger Dorson in a press release. In a letter to the district, the commissioner wrote: “The Lake Road Elementary School is a ‘gold star’ of success in Missouri’s schools!”

Criteria for the prestigious honor includes scoring in the top 15 percentile of all schools in the state in the reading and mathematics portion of the Missouri Assessment Program test. In 2017, Lake Road students achieved a 100 percent in English language arts and 74 percent in math. In addition, the high school graduation rate has to be in the top 15 percent. Last year Poplar Bluff High School graduated 91.8 percent of the cohort. 

Lake Road Principal Erica Weadon attributes more students scoring proficient or advanced on MAP to the elementary school’s Professional Learning Community model. A PLC, practiced district-wide, is when educators collaborate in recurring cycles to use data to drive instruction.

The attendance rate at Lake Road has increased from 80.9 percent seven years ago to 91.21 last year with help from the Good Habits Store, according to Weadon. The Rotary Club of Poplar Bluff sets up a makeshift store monthly in the gymnasium for students to purchase toys, snacks, clothing and personal hygiene products with attendance points accrued.

Last summer Lake Road won the Dr. Mary Richter Award under the school-wide positive behavior support program for the framework staff has established to improve student behavior. The elementary school has reached the highest level—gold—under the intervention system. As a result, major office referrals have decreased from 367 during the 2011/12 school year to 55 in 2016/17. They stand at 46 as the current school year wraps up. 

“We’re finally able to focus on best instructional practices, not just behavior,” Weadon explained. “Our scores moving up truly shows we are moving in the right direction, doing the right work.” 

Along with two-time award winner Junior High, Lake Road was named a national showcase school last month under the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program, a cultural initiative that promotes connectedness with students throughout the campus community. O’Neal also received the award from the professional development company in 2017. 

The Bright Future Site Council at Lake Road developed Club Day a few years ago to ensure students are able to participate in extracurricular activities bimonthly during the lunch hour including basketball, cooking, science, gymnastics and swimming. Lake Road has over a 90 percent free and reduced lunch rate. 

“By the time they get to Junior High, I want them to have experiences in different areas like sports, art and music,” Weadon said. “We want kids to love to come to school.” 

Recipients of the state Gold Star award, established in 1991, are nominated for the national Blue Ribbon Schools program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The national Blue Ribbon award, slated to be announced this fall, is considered the highest honor a school can achieve. 

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Cutline: Faculty members form a “teacher tunnel” for students of the week to pass through during morning celebration on Friday, May 11.

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