Congrats, Lakeland

Published 6:52 pm Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hard work pays off, and nobody is more acutely aware of that right this moment than the students and educators at Lakeland High School.

After several years of falling short of state benchmarks on standardized test scores, the school boosted its mathematics pass rate last spring just enough to meet the goal and become fully accredited.

Students and teachers celebrated with a pep rally on the football field Friday, photographed by a drone and punctuated by speeches from school officials congratulating the students and teachers.

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“You celebrate your successes,” Principal Douglas Wagoner told a reporter on Friday. “The kids worked hard, teachers worked hard and the scores … show that all their work made a difference.”

Wagoner said Lakeland teachers received extra assistance from math specialists from the division’s central office. They focused on designing lesson plans aligned with state standards and making sure assessments were written similarly to what students would encounter on the Standards of Learning tests.

“The teachers really put their noses to the grindstone and were open to change and advice,” Wagoner said. “They put in a lot of extra hours after school and on weekends.”

That kind of hard work and dedication makes a big difference. Surely the teachers were dedicated before, but a renewed focus combined with the opportunity for re-takes, new to the Virginia standardized testing process this year, likely made the difference.

Going into the holiday season and gearing up for the second semester, it was an especially appropriate time to have a pep rally to celebrate the accomplishment, which surely made for a nice early Christmas present for administrators and teachers.

We applaud Lakeland’s students and staff for their accomplishment and look forward to more improvement next year.