French Run Elementary and Slate Ridge Elementary are among eight schools in Franklin County to be named Schools of Promise by the Ohio Department of Education.

French Run Elementary and Slate Ridge Elementary are among eight schools in Franklin County to be named Schools of Promise by the Ohio Department of Education.

It's the first time either school has achieved the honor.

The awards are based on 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 Ohio Achievement Test scores. In addition, winning schools must be 75 percent or better proficient in reading and mathematics. At least 40 percent of students must be classified as economically disadvantaged.

With an enrollment of 520, Slate Ridge's percentage of economically disadvantaged students is 45 percent, while French Run's is 47 percent of an enrollment of 403.

"We should be shouting this recognition from the mountaintops," said Reynoldsburg Superintendent Steve Dackin.

"Last year, Herbert Mills Elementary received the Schools of Promise and what it means for this year is our schools are doing great things with kids I'm very proud," he said. "It really says it doesn't matter what ZIP code you live in or where you come from or how much money your parents have or don't have, it means you can learn at high levels if you're given the right supports at the right time and the high quality instruction that is needed to do it."

Slate Ridge principal Karen Hand agreed.

"It is absolutely awesome, and it says we're doing some awesome work in Reynoldsburg. What it means is that all kids across all grade levels showed significant growth.

"We are very proud of the work and talent of our teachers, and the dedicated time they spent with these kids, enabling all boys and girls to meet the expectations of the state department, and go beyond," she said. "We have a lot of boys and girls that are advanced and accelerated which is even beyond what the state requires."

French Run principal Jana Alig said her school has become "very, very focused on being data-driven and responding to and being proactive in how all of our students are doing.

"I think we have really focused in on literacy skills across all of our grade levels and having really high expectations of our students," she said. "So it's just a lot of hard work of teachers continuing to focus in and be flexible enough to adapt their instruction to meet the needs of their students."

Slate Ridge earned an "excellent" rating on the state report card this year and French Run earned an "excellent with distinction" designation.

Both Hand and Alig said they expect their schools to earn excellent rankings again next year.

"I can't imagine it being any other way," Alig said.

dowen@thisweeknews.com