SWES earns third Top Gainer award at conference

SOUTH WHITLEY — Students doing well academically and showing their progress across the board — that is what Whitko School Corporation officials are saying resulted in one of their elementary programs being lauded by the state.A contingent from South Whitley Elementary School traveled to Indianapolis Tuesday to collect the school’s “Top Gainer” Award at the seventh annual Indiana Conference on Learning.Principal Bruce Hansen, along with kindergarten teacher and literacy coach Diane Williams and fifth-grade teacher Gina Borton traveled to the state capital to receive the award.SWES was one of 47 schools in the state who garnered the honor.“It (the award) tells me the teachers and staff at SWES continue to provide an excellent instructional program to our students,” said Whitko Superintendent Steve Clason.“They work extremely hard to make certain each student has their needs addressed and hold children to high expectations.“For the most part, those expectations are met and with the cooperation of the parents, students and staff, the school continues to get great achievement results.” Schools are named Top Gainers based on student achievement over a two-year period.This year’s honor makes the third for SWES.Clason said while the award is a nice feather in the corporation’s cap, it’s what can be taken away from the conference that provides the most value in the school system’s continued growth.“Having attended the conference in the past, I would presume there are several things they (SWES staff) would have brought back to at least investigate a possible impact on SWES,” said Clason.“That is part of the process. The conference is all about school improvement and not being satisfied with the current results.”Aside from being recognized as an outstanding elementary school in the state, the SWES contingent that attended the conference participated in a statewide conversation about strategies that work, high achievement and high growth.The Indiana Conference on Learning will help schools explore practical strategies for raising student achievement and closing achievement gaps.