Congratulations to 780 students at Northwest Middle School, a west-side Salt Lake City school that went from near bottom to the top tier of Utah junior high and middle schools in student achievement after receiving a $2.3 million improvement grant three years ago.
This impressive achievement resulted in a school visit by the U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan last Thursday. The Tribune story ("Ed Secretary praises Utah school as 'fascinating case study,'" Dec. 6), indicated the student population is 87 percent minority, and close to two-thirds do not speak English at home. In speaking to the students and parents, Duncan said Northwest Middle School was a "fascinating case study and a "remarkable success story." In math the students went from 37 percent proficiency three years ago to 79 percent last spring. In science from 38 percent proficient to 58 percent proficient. In English/language up to 80 percent proficient from a fourth-grade level in 2010.
It increased to 90 percent in attendance and cut tardiness to half what it was three years ago. This is an incredible achievement and congratulations to Principal Brian Conley, Vice Principal Rachel Nance, faculty, staff and parents.
When we hear so much negativity about our schools, this wonderful story should make us proud. We should encourage Gov. Gary Herbert and the Legislature to duplicate the Northwest Middle School model and increase Utah's education budget.
Salt Lake City