RAPID CITY, S.D. – Being recognized by the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is like getting an A= on a report card. Only two elementary schools in South Dakota received the honor this year, and one is in the Black Hills, Whitewood Elementary School.
The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is a project of NAESPA that publicly recognizes qualifying federally-funded schools for positive educational advances and the outstanding academic achievement of their students.
The motto of, “Every student, every day, every way,” at Whitewood Elementary School is put in practice every day, says Brittan Porterfield, Whitewood Elementary School principal. Making sure each student has at least one person in the school they connect with is a key to success, according to school administrators.
The school, part of the Meade School District 46-1, stands out for its math and English testing scores, outperforming the district and state. Whitewood students scored 76% in English and 86% in math. Meade School District students averaged 55% and 48% respectively, while the state came in a little lower at 51% and 43%.
This isn’t the first time Whitewood Elementary has been singled out. In 2008, the school was selected as a Blue Ribbon School. Becky Rost, a second-grade teacher says that parents, administration, teachers and the community all contribute to the school’s success.
The school will join the other recipient from South Dakota, Lake Preston Elementary School, in February, 2023 to be honored at the National Elementary and Secondary Education conference.