Chelsea Green, Emily Shepard, Jessica Burch, and Lindsey Campbell, from left, all 9 and fourth graders at Olney Elementary School in Northwood, work on their book projects.
Four northwest Ohio schools were among 83 in the state honored yesterday for having 75 percent of all students, including those with disabilities, pass last year's achievement tests or the Ohio Graduation Tests in reading and mathematics.
Olney Elementary in Northwood, Clinton Elementary in Tiffin, Ellis Elementary in Bellevue, and Pettisville Elementary in Fulton County were named "Schools of Distinction" by the Ohio Department of Education.
Although many schools earn high marks in tests overall, oftentimes schools lag in results for special education students.
J.C. Benton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said the 83 schools deserved the honor.
"This shows the dedication of these schools for helping improve the academic achievement of all children regardless of disability," he said.
Mr. Benton said the state is analyzing the demographic data regarding which areas did better than others.
No Toledo schools were on the list. The only urban schools to receive the honor were three in Columbus and one in Dublin.
Greg Clark, who became Northwood's superintendent in June, credited the school's teachers and leaders for the accomplishment.
"The district adopted a policy to have a focus that all children would learn," Mr. Clark said. "I think that helped our whole district to improve, and Olney has improved as well."
Susan Tave Zelman, Ohio superintendent of public instruction, praised the 83 schools.
"Overall school performance increases when students with disabilities receive access to the general curriculum as well as individualized instruction and support," she said. "These schools are helping improve academic achievement for all students."
Scott Urban, director of elementary education for Tiffin City Schools, said the staff at Clinton Elementary has high expectations for all students.
"Students with special needs are expected to strive and achieve at very high levels," Mr. Urban said.
Kim Lammlein, a special education teacher at the school, said the needs of each student are considered.
"We think we have realistic expectations for every single child," she said.