NORFOLK – Learning to Read. Reading to learn.
That was the theme of Governor Pete Ricketts’ visit to Washington Elementary School in Norfolk on Thursday.
The Governor signed a proclamation celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week at an assembly.
Ricketts picked Washington because of its academic achievements over the last few years.
“They’ve won national awards recognizing their great work,” Ricketts said, alluding to the school’s National Blue Ribbon recognition in 2015 and Title One Distinguished School recognition in 2016. “If you look at their test scores between the 11-12 school year and the 15-16 school year, their math scores have gone up eight points and their test scores in reading have gone up 19 points to 97%. That is phenomenal work.”
Ricketts’ visit came at a time when elementary education is front and center in Nebraska. He was accompanied on his visit by state Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, whose bill on enforcing reading standards for third graders is currently being debated by the Nebraska Legislature.
Ricketts says regardless of what happens at the state level, schools can look within themselves to find the same successes as Washington.
“The teachers work together in teams,” Ricketts said. “They set goals and standards and have accountability for making sure they get those outcomes with those kids. Every grade level has goals for math, reading and writing, and the teachers work together through the school year to make sure every child hits that by the time they get into that grade level.”
Washington was the third if three stops for the governor on Thursday, after visiting elementary schools in Hastings and Lincoln.