Western High Receives National High Schools That Work Award

Western High received a national High Schools That Work (HSTW) Gold Improvement Award, which recognizes local school leaders and teachers that have improved school practices and increased student achievement.

Western High was one of only five high schools in the nation to receive the Gold Improvement Award in 2014.

The award was presented by Dr. Gene Bottoms, senior vice president of the Southern Regional Education Board, at the 28th Annual HSTW Staff Development Conference in Nashville on July 16.

Bottoms praised the school for its achievement, pointing out that it takes dedication and hard work on the part of state, district and school leaders and teachers to make progress in preparing students for college and careers in an increasingly competitive world. He presented the award before an audience of more than 5,000 educators from across the nation attending the HSTW conference.

“It’s an honor to accept this award for Western High and speaks to the hard work and dedication of our teachers and support staff,” said Principal Pete Kashubara. “I am truly proud of our team and our school.”

To earn this recognition, schools had to increase their mean scores on the HSTW Assessment reading, mathematics and science tests by at least ten points from 2012 to 2014. These schools also met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) criteria of the federal No Child Left Behind Act or had a graduation rate of at least 85 percent. 

From 2012 to 2013, Western High’s graduation rate increased 6.7 percentage points from 81.1 to 87.8. Western High's new Advanced Placement Academy will open this fall with the state's only AP Capstone program, a challenging two-year program designed to train students for the independent research and collaborative projects common in college-level courses.

High Schools That Work is a national, comprehensive school improvement design based on the premise that most students can master rigorous academic and career/technical studies if school leaders and teachers create a school environment that motivates all students to make the effort to succeed.

The HSTW initiative is the nation’s first large-scale effort to engage state, district and school leaders in partnership with teachers, students, parents and the community to equip all students with the knowledge and skills needed to graduate from high school and succeed in college and the workplace.

More than 1,200 high schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia participate in the HSTW school improvement initiative.