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Watch: Graham Elementary Achievements Highlighted in Department of Education Video

The achievements of Graham Elementary School have been highlighted in a video released last week by the U.S. Department of Education, which selected Graham—a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School—as one of only four schools in the nation to be featured in the online video series.

Each year, the Department of Education asks the top education official from each state to nominate schools that have been exemplary in demonstrating either high performance or improvement. Graham was selected as an “Exemplary Improving” school, an honor reserved for schools where at least 40 percent of students are from disadvantaged communities and that demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels.  

Being named a National Blue Ribbon school is one of the most prestigious honors awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The video showcases how Graham staff members, led by Principal Blaine Helwig, build trust, fill knowledge gaps and develop successful students.

In only five years, Graham Elementary, a Title I school in East Austin, has gone from slipping toward academic unacceptability to “one of the best elementary schools in the state of Texas,” in the words of education researcher Ed Fuller of Penn State University. 

Show Up—Work Hard—Read! from RMC Research Corporation on Vimeo.

Four principles underlie the school’s success: 

  1. Highly effective classroom management
  2. A culture of hard work
  3. “Stop-gap” measures to close academic gaps
  4. Community-wide adherence to mission 

Or, as the Graham mantra has it: Show Up—Word Hard—Read!

The video of Graham has been released as one of the four 2012 National Blue Ribbon Profile Schools. The four selected profile schools (chosen from 314 qualified private, parochial, charter and public schools nationwide) are featured on the U.S. Department of Education’s website. 

“For any school to succeed at these high academic levels, it not only takes the elements featured in the video, but a faculty who is committed to the learning and educational future of their students,” Helwig said. “Our achievements have been accomplished through the professionalism and collective dedication of Graham teachers, students, parents, and community stakeholders over the past seven years. I am extremely proud of all the successes Graham’s students, parents, and faculty have collectively accomplished during our years of working together, and I am equally pleased that Graham Elementary has the privilege to represent the Austin Independent School District at the national level.”