Pride Elementary third grade teacher Stacey Burns helps students with math homework over Zoom last week at the school.

In a time when everyone could benefit from a bright spot, Pride Elementary has provided just that — literally.

The school was named as a “Bright Spot” in Kentucky Education for third-grade math by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and the Center for Business and Economic Research.

“It feels amazing, but it is also something we always consider our school to be,” said Principal Kristy Saint. “For us, it is just confirmation of what we already knew.”

Pride was one of 47 schools chosen out of 1,466 schools in Kentucky. There were 28 elementary schools, four middle schools and 15 high schools that received the title.

The Prichard Committee analyzed education data from 2011-2012 through 2018-2019 from the 1,466 schools within 173 school districts. Key factors identified were those affecting academic achievement and constructed statistical models to predict an expected level of performance on state assessments, according to their website.

“We looked at elementary and middle school performance on the K-PREP reading and math assessments, as well as the performance of high school students on the ACT,” said Michael Childress, a research associate with the Center for Business and Economic Research in a news release. “Student, community and district characteristics were also taken into consideration.”

Two key findings of the analysis were that teacher experience and the socioeconomic status of students have a significant impact on achievement levels.

“We know that teachers matter, and these results can offer insight into how Kentucky can continue to improve education, while also breaking the cycle of deep poverty in our state,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, CEO of the Prichard Committee in a news release. “These results can inform additional research designed to reveal best practices that facilitate better-than-expected educational outcomes — given that Kentucky remains near the bottom of the nation for families living in poverty.”

Saint said she hopes the recognition will help give students and teachers sustainability and motivation to keep moving forward.

Stacey Burns, a third-grade teacher at Pride, said it was exciting to see the school get the accolades it deserves.

“I think it is a testament to all the teachers in our school because it is not just third-grade, it is before they get to third-grade,” said Burns.“It takes us all working together and doing our part.”

She credited the teachers who have not only been part of the school for years, but the newer teachers as well.

Burns said she was really proud of the students because the recognition shows the kids believe in what they are being taught at the school.

Saint said they are always refining their lessons and finding ways to better help the students, and this honor reinforces that they are on the right track.

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