Northside, Southwest earn Academic Excellence Awards

Lisa Depies

Northside Elementary School and Southwest Elementary School in Geneseo were both awarded 2008 Academic Excellence Awards by the Illinois? State Board of Education.

To be eligible for the award, schools must have at least 90 percent of their students meet or exceed state standards in both reading and math on the ISAT tests for three consecutive years. Only 388 elementary schools in the state received Academic Excellence Awards.

“(Receiving this honor)?says something about the district as a whole,” said Dr. Joni Swanson, curriculum director for the Geneseo School District. “90 percent is a very, very high mark to have to meet.”

Though Millikin Elementary School did not receive the state honor, Swanson said she believes that school was “very close” to the 90 percent mark as well.

“We try very hard to make sure the quality of education is as similar and as high as possible in all of our schools,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized by the state for our accomplishments.”

ISAT ?tests, which are Illinois standards tests, are given at the elementary level to students in third, fourth and fifth grade.

The 2008 Academic Excellence Award program tracked schools’ results in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

According to information provided by the Illinois State Board of Education, 92.1 percent of Northside students met state standards in 2006, with 93.5 percent meeting standards in 2007 and 95 percent reaching the mark in 2008.

At Southwest, 92.1 percent met state standards in 2006, followed by 92.9 percent in 2007 and 92 percent in 2008.

“We’ve worked very hard to get our students to this point,” said Swanson. “People have always thought Geneseo schools are good academically, but we’re trying to move from good to great. We’re continually looking for ways to improve.”

Annawan Grade ?School also received the 2008 Academic Excellence Award. In 2006, 90.5 percent of Annawan students met state standards, followed by 91.7 percent in 2007 and 90 percent in 2008.

The ISAT test is administered to students each spring, with results sent to school administrators the following fall.

For more information on the award, visit