JOHNSTOWN - Warren Street Elementary School has been recognized by the state Education Department as one of roughly 300 "rewards schools" statewide for the 2013-14 school year.
Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Robert DeLilli acknowledged the recognition at the Board of Education meeting Thursday night at Johnstown High School.
DeLilli said the honor - recognized by a certificate and ovation by the board - was for an "increase in students achievement."
The superintendent said Friday the data the state Education Department used as criteria for the "rewards schools" designation is from state assessments. He said the criteria looked at regular education and special education results.
"They didn't see gaps in achievement levels, but there was an increase in achievement levels," DeLilli said. "That's a testament to the hard work and achievement of the school."
During a break in the meeting, Warren Street Elementary School Principal Scott Ziomek said he is proud of his school's "great award" for "closing the achievement gap."
"I work with my staff all the time and they're exceptional," Ziomek said.
The school goes up to grade five, but next year will be just grades five and six. The district's buildings will undergo a 2014-15 conversion to grade-level grouping. Makeup of the city's three elementary schools will be this way: pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade at Pleasant Avenue Elementary School; grades two and three at Glebe Street Elementary School; and grades four, five and six at Warren Street Elementary School.
Ziomek said he understands only about 300 schools statewide receive the "rewards schools" designation, and he believes his school was the only one recognized in the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services region.
The principal gave total credit for this "absolute honor" to his staff, and not just faculty. He recognized others such as support staff like cafeteria workers. He said the staff work hard even after regular hours to improve the city elementary school.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org