Washington Academic in Sanger among best in country

FRESNO, Calif.

Students at Washington Academic are now being taught at one of the top middle schools in the country -- after recently named to the list of the national schools to watch by state education leaders.

Christina Tapia: "I thought woo hoo! "And it's all about the children's performance."

7th grade student Rosario Vazquez was born in Mexico and began learning English in the third grade. She says her grades have turned around under the schools program. "When I first started they weren't so good because I didn't understand that much English now they've gotten better."

Jon Yost, Washington Academic Principal said, "Students aren't allowed to fail here. We continue to look for ways to support them."

Yost says they are closing the minority achievement gap and have seen a 90 point jump in scores over the past several years.

The school's academic performance index this year is 799 -- up from 710 in 2006. When ranked against similar schools Washington Academic received the highest score of 10 points.

Washington Academic is part of a growing list of award winning schools in the Sanger Unified School District.

Centerville was recently named a National Blue Ribbon School, and last year John Wash Elementary won the same award.

District Superintendent Marc Johnson is in Washington being considered as the superintendent of the year.

The staff says meeting and working as a team, using student data to plan lessons and giving extra resources to struggling students is paying off.

Christina Tapia: "There are after school tutors. Teachers the time they put into the profession they give up their lunch hour, I give up my lunch hour."

This is the first time Washington Academic has ever been named to the schools to watch list.

Students and administrators say with this honor they want to serve as an example for other schools.

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