Let's face it. Local educators do take an awful lot of heat. Between reports that indicate that education in this area is substandard and a general dissatisfaction with the schools in general, there is very little good news coming from that arena.

It's very nice to be able to pass along a story of success in the area of education.No less than 20 area schools have been recognized for excellence.

What, you may ask, caused this improvement in these schools? Read on. It's a very basic subject.

 The schools recognized for excellence are:
Alfred M. Barbe High School
Bell City High School
DeQuincy High School
Dolby Elementary
Frasch Elementary
W.T. Henning Elementary
Sam Houston High School
Iowa High School
John. F. Kennedy Elementary
E. K. Key Elementary
Maplewood Middle School
Moss Bluff Elementary
A.A. Nelson Elementary
Cypress Cove Elementary
Prien Lake Elementary
Starks High School
Vincent Settlement Elementary
Vinton High School
Westlake High School
Westwood Elementary
This is a huge achievement, according to State Superintendent John White who presented a check for $169,077 to be divided among those 20 schools as a reward for their improvements. Each school will receive approximately $8,453.
"It takes so much work to make a great school, but 20 schools in this parish didn't just make gains last year, they made big gains and it's really important that we come out and say thank you," White said.
Those school principals were excited as well. The money will go toward school educational purposes.
"We really are excited about the reward," said Dr. Dinah Robinson, principal at JFK Elementary. "My teachers, my students, we all work so so hard to make sure our kids receive what they need so they can be successful."
Principal of Westwood Elementary, Jerry Treme, said it was tough trying to meet the growth target.
"We're very honored and I'm very excited and I'm very excited for our community," Treme said.
The principals will make sure the money is spent wisely on instructional tools for the classrooms.
But what is the secret to their improvement?
"Reading is the success to everything you do in life. You have to know how to read and that's what we're doing," Robinson said.
"Reading is key," principal of Dolby Elementary, Missy Bushnell, said. "Our students have really shown growth in their reading and the better readers they are, they're going to be successful in all subject areas."
Schools also showed improvements in other subjects such as math and social studies.
"We got to find the path to career or college for every child in high school. If we can do those things, we know we're on our way up, but it's examples like these educators here today that show us what's possible," White said.
For more on the schools improvement in Calcasieu Parish, check out the raw interview with Superintendent John White attached to the right of this article.
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