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Pine Tree Elementary receives national academic honor

Staff Report

Pine Tree Elementary School is one of two Indiana schools that earned the National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished School award for the 2020-21 school year. Pine Tree, one of six schools in Avon Community School Corporation, is recognized by the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) for excellence in closing the achievement gap between student groups in a Title I school.
“We celebrate all who were involved in earning this honor,” said Karie Mize, long-time Pine Tree principal who transitioned into the principal role at White Oak Early Learning Center this school year. “As we continued our journey, we observed the change in ourselves and in our teaching. Subsequently, we observed the learning gap closing.”

Mize noted professional development efforts and a staff-wide commitment to building a more responsive culture.

“The success of our students was a direct reflection of a significant change in adult priorities over the last three years,” said Karmesha Molton, former Pine Tree instructional coach and current Sycamore Elementary principal. “Our staff committed to studying culturally responsive teaching strategies. During a traumatic, divisive time, we were united to keep one another safe, healthy, and learning, and — most importantly — to ensure that everyone knew they had a significant role to play in our success.”

More information about the program is available on the National ESEA Distinguished Schools website. More information on Indiana’s Title I schools is available on the Indiana Department of Education website.

“We are proud of this award and for the incredible work of Pine Tree’s administrators, educators and students that the award represents,” said Superintendent Scott Wyndham. “Our mission is ‘all belong, learn, and grow.’ This award is an affirmation of the results we can achieve when we work together to help all students succeed.”

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