Two schools in the South-Western City School District have been recognized for their success in exceeding expectations for student growth during the 2016-17 school year.

Harmon Elementary School and Holt Crossing Intermediate School received the Momentum Award from the State Board of Education. Both schools were recognized at the Dec. 11 South-Western school board meeting.

Harmon and Holt Crossing both received the Momentum Award for the past two years.

To be eligible for the award, schools must earn straight A's on all value-added measures on the state report card. A school must also have at least two value-added subgroups of students, which include gifted, lowest 20 percent in achievement and students with disabilities.

At Harmon, teachers and staff members have used student data and collaboration to focus on how they can have the biggest impact on their students' academic progress, principal Michael Wang said.

"We have teams of teachers who look at each students' academic data and talk about and brainstorm on how we can best help that student," Wang said.

The collaboration allows teachers to gather input and ideas from their colleagues, Wang said.

"They're able to consider and incorporate what other teachers have found has worked in their classrooms," he said.

Harmon teachers deserve credit for their willingness to work with and learn from each other, Wang said.

"We just feel so privileged to be serving our students every day," he said. "To get the Momentum Award two years in a row is a nice accomplishment. But we aren't stopping there. We'll continue to work together as a team to provide even better instruction for our students."

At Holt Crossing, teachers work hard to create an environment that encourages and inspires student achievement and parent involvement, principal Tyler Winner said.

"We've tried to establish a tight-knit school community here," he said. "Teachers work hard to make students feel welcome and supported and to reach out and make a connection with our parents and families. What they do at home to encourage and support our students pays off in the classroom."

Winner is in his first year as Holt Crossing principal.

"I am so lucky to have walked into such an incredible situation here," he said. "I'm in awe of the hard work and dedication of our teachers. They beat me in to work each morning and they're staying here well after the school day ends."

Holt Crossing's mission statement is that "all will learn and achieve individual excellence now for success in the future."

"We really believe that every student has the opportunity for success," Winner said. "We work with them to build up their confidence and set them up so that when they leave us and go on to the seventh, eighth and ninth grades and beyond, they can have success."