West Elementary Earns National Recognition

West Elementary Earns National Recognition
Posted on 12/29/2020

Highly regarded for academic achievement, stakeholder involvement, creativity, and innovative programs, West Elementary earns top honors as a 2020-2021 ESEA Distinguished School.

"We are so excited for West Elementary and the entire community," said Dr. Brian Hunnell, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Cleveland County Schools. "They have an amazing history of excellence."

Fourteen North Carolina schools were considered for the coveted recognition. After a rigorous selection process, including the submission of an extensive school portfolio, a virtual site visit, and stakeholder interviews, West Elementary emerged as one of two schools earning national recognition per the recommendation of a federal programs committee within the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

Tamara Goforth, executive director of elementary education for Cleveland County Schools, concurred, "West Elementary deserves to be congratulated for their hard work, tenacity, and utmost dedication to student success."

Additionally, West has met or exceeded growth for the past five years, is a PBIS Exemplar School, and has been recognized as a Green Ribbon School. The selection committee noted the following as contributing factors and "fantastic" points from their findings.

  • High enthusiasm of staff, parents, and principal
  • Parent involvement was phenomenal
  • Teachers are empowered to lead
  • On-site professional development is designed to focus on student achievement, leadership, and customer service
  • Parents and staff stated that the principal was always visible and believed in shared leadership
  • Social media platforms such as Facebook and Bloomz are in place to share positives about the school with families and community members
  • Principal, staff, and parents not only believe in a collaborative culture but create a collaborative culture for all
  • Professional learning communities are collaborative and active on campus as a collaborative way to analyze data, execute new learning, and reflective leadership
  • Top-ten percent of the county for overall reading and mathematics proficiency

"Cleveland County Schools and the Cleveland County Board of Education are extremely proud of the students and staff at West Elementary," added Dr. Stephen Fisher, superintendent of schools. "West serves as a great example of what happens when dedicated school staff works together and partner with parents and community to meet the needs of the school's students."

In their public announcement regarding West, the ESEA Distinguished School selection committee recognized core values of leadership and noted how culture and academics are exemplified throughout the school and community. 

"West Elementary has a long tradition of high expectations and achievement," concluded Fisher. "This award honors and recognizes the hard work and achievements of their sustained excellence."