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Lawton's Ike Named School of the Year

LAWTON Okla_ Students at one Lawton school are adding a new award to their trophy case this year, and it's the school's academics that are getting all the national glory.

The National Math and Science Initiative, or NMSI, has named Eisenhower High School their 2012-2013 School of the Year. The Advanced Placement program came to the school two years ago, thanks to a $36,000 grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation. Since then, the school has smashed every challenge and goal given to them by the initiative.

Since 2011, their enrollment in AP math, science and English courses grew by 138 percent from 176 students to 418. To put that into perspective, Oklahoma only had a ten percent increase in those courses overall, and fifteen percent for the nation. Exam scores were also high, but those numbers weren't the only factors that made NMSI like Ike.

It was all smiles Monday, as folks gathered to see what the educational world is buzzing about. After being one of the first to join the initiative, thanks to Northrop Grumman, Eisenhower High School sits on top for the nation.

"It's a multi-player system," Superintendent of Lawton Public Schools Dr. Tom Deighan said. "With the teachers, NMSI, Northrop Grumman and the community all coming together, it's just been an incredible mix."

In addition to high enrollment, passing grades on AP exams also rose 160 percent at Ike alone. Among those scores were students that NMSI doesn't see very often.

"This is very uncommon," NMSI Senior Director of Programs Dale Fleury said. "After seeing some of the triple digit increases, particularly in enrollment and particularly in the number of underrepresented students, African Americans, Hispanics, and particularly females, we had to recognize Eisenhower, because they had unbelievable results."

One by one, 48 students took to the stage as they were awarded $100 apiece for their hard work. EHS was also given $5,000 in additional money for the program. State Superintendent Dr. Janet Barresi said the state now looks to Lawton to lead the way for the future.

"We have other schools lining up that want to participate in the program and they're looking at what happened at Eisenhower, what's going on here in Lawton, and they're saying, ‘Wow. It is really working for them,'" Barresi said. "'We see ourselves as being similar to Lawton. We know now that it will work here.' So, they're an example for the rest of the state."

Dr. Deighan gives credit to the ones who dedicate their lives to their students.

"We wouldn't have a single student in AP classes if it wasn't for the teachers," Deighan said. "If you take our students and show amazing results, it really takes a lot of excuses off the table, and it really shows what investing in a group of Lawton kids can do. It's not only going to change this community. It's going to change Oklahoma, and it already has ramifications around the nation."

Eisenhower beat out nine other schools in Oklahoma and over 550 in the country for this award. Fleury said the Eagles had already beaten their third-year goals within the first year of receiving the grant in 2011. Eisenhower High School was one of the first two schools to adopt the National Math and Science Initiative's program in 2011.

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