Fairbanks, Alaska (KINY) - Denali Elementary School in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has been named National ESEA Distinguished School by the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.
Denali Elementary School is one of up to 100 schools throughout the country that is being nationally recognized for exceptional student achievement.
Denali Elementary School was recognized for outstanding performance in Category 2: a school that has significantly closed the achievement gap between student groups.
The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is a project of the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators that publicly recognizes schools for their positive educational services. It highlights the efforts of schools across the country to make significant improvements for their students.
Up to two schools per state can be selected each year, which makes this award an especially prestigious honor for the schools, staff, and students.
Alaska schools chose to apply for the honor, providing evidence of effectiveness in evidence-based instructional strategies, providing opportunities for all children, coordination of Title I with other programs, professional development of staff, and partnerships with parents, families, and communities.
Denali Elementary School is one of the oldest elementary schools in Fairbanks and prides itself on its more than a 70-year history.
It is a Title I school serving preschool to grade 5 students and enrolls 300 students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Its legacy is a community touchpoint for many current Fairbanks adults who attended Denali as children.
Current and exited English learners bring a dynamic of multilingualism to Denali.
Their language backgrounds include Spanish, Ilocano, Lao, Hmong, Vietnamese, Yup'ik, and Japanese.
Denali has focused on providing teachers with professional development in the Science of Reading, including a Walk to Read program and weekly emails to school staff to keep them informed.
Alaska's Education Challenge's top priority is to support all students to read at grade level by the end of the third grade.
Denali's school motto is 'Love, Kindness, and Respect', given to them through the making of a totem pole by artist Bert Ryan in the late 1990s. The totem pole still sits on the playground.
The Panther, the school mascot, tells the Raven who then flies to spread the word of all the kids of Denali living their life showing, 'Love, Kindness, and Respect'.