Wells Academy, a public school in Steubenville, Ohio, has every excuse to be struggling.
The poverty rate among students is greater than 50 percent. The class size average is 26 students per class. The amount spent per student is lower than it is in most other districts nationwide.
Yet Wells Academy is the number one school in the state of Ohio.
What's the school's secret?
Check out our latest Moms Matter video after the jump -- and see for yourself.
As a parent of four (two now grown) and a reporter who has covered many, many public schools over the years, it was very clear to me after spending a day at Wells Academy that what they're doing here is working.
In addition to the Success for All program mentioned in the story, a few things stood out that are working at Wells.
While admission is first come, first served, parents in the district do have to apply for their child to attend Wells. I think this simple requirement ensures that the parents of these students care. They care enough to learn about Wells, fill out an application, get it in on time, and work out transportation for their child to go to the school. Instantly, you end up with a more involved group of parents to support what the teachers are doing at school.
Parents and teachers alike also said the uniforms have really made a difference at Wells Academy, particularly since income levels among students are across the board. Uniforms have helped level the economic playing field, helping to ensure Success for All.
I loved seeing students in every class team up on their classwork. With larger class sizes, working together helps free up the teacher to help more people and makes sure that no one gets left behind.
Wells is working, and I hope that more school districts take notice of the Wells model. What do you think? Would you like to see your school district follow in Wells Academy's footsteps?