Orem's Lakeridge Junior High School Selected as Best K-12 School in Utah

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Lakeridge transforms from a failing school to winning Best of State Award.

A few years ago, Lakeridge Junior High School was a failing school. This week, Lakeridge was recognized as the best public K-12 school in Utah by the Best of State Awards.

"Six years ago, Lakeridge was one of the lowest academically performing Junior Highs in the Alpine School District. At that time, a group of parents, teachers, and administrators joined together and created a plan on how to become a top performing Junior High. Since then, we have seen dramatic and consistent progress among all students," stated Tim Stay, Lakeridge Community Council Chairman.

Garrick Peterson, the principal of Lakeridge Junior High School stated: "This is such an honor for our faculty and school community. Parents and teachers at Lakeridge have worked so hard to make the experience students have here the best it can possibly be. It is nice to see them recognized for their efforts."

The Best of State Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. The mission of Best of State is that by recognizing excellence in the Utah community and sharing examples of success and triumph in worthy endeavors, the hope is all will be inspired to reach a little higher.

One of the many reasons Lakeridge was honored was the increased success with typically low performing groups. Sterling Hilton, a parent who oversees the Community Council School Improvement Plan, stated, "We have a core belief that all students can learn. One of the accomplishments we are most proud of has been our ability to see dramatic academic improvement among all students. We have seen improvement with minority students, our non-English speaking students, our students with disabilities, and our low income students. We have seen up to 100% improvement among these sub groups over the past 6 years and we see the Minority Achievement gap continue to narrow."

Lakeridge is honored to receive such a prestigious award from the Best of State committee. Lynn Eyestone, a parent on the Community Council who oversees the School Land Trust expenditures within the school, commented, "We are so excited to receive this award, because it is a validation of the progress we have made. This progress is due to the incredible dedication of the teachers of Lakeridge who spent countless hours implementing the school improvement plan, supportive parents who cared about the education of their children, and a visionary administration who were willing to share governance with parents and faculty. We still have much more work to do, but we are excited about where Lakeridge is headed."

"The real exciting story of Lakeridge is that any school can have academic success among all of its students. The problems of education can be fixed today. It is simply a matter of will. With enough of a unified will among parents, faculty and administration, all students within a school can learn. We hope our story will allow other schools to adopt proven methods and processes that will allow them to be more effective in helping all students learn," stated Tim Stay.

Lakeridge will be recognized at the Best of State Awards Gala, held Saturday, May 3, 2008 in the Salt Palace Grand Ballroom.

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