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Lawton High Schools Among Top in Nation

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LAWTON Okla_ All three Lawton High Schools have been leading the way academically, not only in the state, but the nation.

The three schools have been a part of the National Math and Science Initiative Program that is in cooperation with the US Department of Defense, the State of Oklahoma, and corporate community sponsors. To be a part of the program, the school must have at least 15% military-affected students, and all three have well above 20%.

Katherine Hergenrether was named the IMF Teacher of the Year, and she said the training the program offers has made all the teachers better.

"What I found is even if you know the subject really well and you've been teaching it a really long time, it is not about learning the content," Hergenrether said. "It is about taking ideas from other successful teachers and incorporating it into what works for you."

That is just one thing that the program has been able to offer Hergenrether, along with teacher training, funds for new equipment, and online course material that Hergenrether said prepares students for college.

"I just had a recent graduate send me a message a few weeks ago that said 'Hey we are doing our homework online. This is just like you did,'" Hergenrether said.

Eisenhower Principal Rod Elam said the program has not only helped students with test scores; it has brought a higher morale to the school.

"It's improved the climate of the school," Elam said. "It allows a lot more people to feel some success and some pride in themselves and in their school."

Elam said that all the credit goes to the teachers and the students for the schools. He isn't just being a cheerleader for the program. Another cheerleader is Nate Slate, the general manager for Northrop Grumman the corporate sponsor for Lawton Eisenhower. Slate said the progress Eisenhower has made is incredible.

"They achieved their third year goals their first year," Slate said. "No one thought that was possible."

Slate said their progress can motivate everyone.

"It's changed how what people view as what is possible," Slate said. "You know when we started this program, if you told people you invest in STEM and Eisenhower High School and in one year they will be become a leader in the nation, no one would say that's possible."

In the first year Eisenhower was in the program, they had 127 qualifying scores on AP exams, which made them the National School of the Year for the National Math and Science Initiative. Last year, they had 182 qualifying scores.



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