"The (IDOE) released the information via e-mail on Dec. 21, which was the last day before Christmas break. It was a nice gift for our staff and students to take home with them," SES Principal Sheryl Jordan said about the achievement. "I had to double check that it really was for this year and not last year. Once I found out, ... I called the staff together to share the news with them. We are all very proud and excited that our students' achievements and hard work have been recognized."
Clay Community School (CCS) Superintendent Kimberly Tucker said she credits the school's success to competent faculty and staff.
Jordan agreed staff members are an asset to the school, but she added they are not the only ones with which credit is due.
"The (SES) staff has a proactive approach that makes sure students don't fall behind before attention is given to them," Jordan said. "They are constantly looking at data and adjusting instruction to meet every student's needs. Our parents also take a proactive approach and support our efforts."
According to the IDOE website, for a school to receive the designation, SES ranked in the top quarter of all schools in the state based on combined Language Arts/Math passing percentages on the annual ISTEP+ exam.
"A school must be in the top 25th percentile for each grade level in which it tested at least 10 students in order to be considered a Four Star school," the website reads.
A school must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in order to be considered.
Tucker told The Brazil Times SES had an exemplary rating with an "A" grade designated for Public Law 221 and made adequate yearly progress.
Tucker added their spring 2011 ISTEP+ exam scores were in the top quartile of the state at every grade level tested.
In total, 181 Indiana schools received the Four-Star distinction.
"Being recognized as one of the top performing schools in the state helps us feel like our efforts are working, and we are right on track," Jordan said. "We need to continue analyzing our student data and working with students on an individual basis. Each year, the student population changes, and we have to adjust to the students. Our goal is that every student achieves success, and we strive to make that happen each and everyday."