City Heights -- There's one school in San Diego that's recently been honored for raising the bar for under-achieving students. It combines hard work and the belief that every child can succeed.
Students at Andrew Jackson Elementary in City Heights are smiling, because their school was recently honored as a California Distinguished School by the Department of Education and is the recipient of the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award.
Educators are also proud, claiming a stellar achievement for this Title 1 School whose students live at or below the poverty line.
"We are Title 1 100 percent free and reduced lunch. That's given to schools that, for two years, make their adequate yearly progress and academic performance index target," said Principal Eileen Moreno.
By raising educational standards and expectations, the teaching team has significantly raised students' academic performance.
"Our API in 2006 was 723 and in 2007 it was 763. So we had a 40 point growth which is amazing," Moreno continued.
Programs, like Buddies, pair 5th graders with younger students for cross-age tutoring and has inspired learning and leadership.
"It's awesome being a buddy. I can teach my buddy how to be a great example in school and what to do in the future," said Cool 5th Grader Lucia.
Students also credit the school's strong emphasis on math and science.
"More than I ever thought, I've been learning many things in math and science. I never knew anything about science and now I'm so smart at it," Cool 5th Grader Rocio.
"If you were to talk to every single teacher, one thing you would note are the expectations. There's no question, no doubt, no ifs ands or buts, every child can and will achieve," Moreno added.
Students say it's that mindset and support that has truly made the difference in their success.
"The coolest thing about Jackson is I have teachers and principals that love me," Lucia said.
Congratulations to Andrew Jackson Elementary - News 8's Cool School of the Week.
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