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Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School

Guidance counselor Christine Zarkos talks to students at Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School in a January 2017 file photo. The state Department of Education on Friday presented the high school with a Breaking Barriers Award for its work with students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds.

SERGEANT BLUFF -- The Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School has been picked for a notable award given to five schools by the Iowa Sate Board of Education.

The SB-L school in Woodbury County was given the Breaking Barriers to Teaching and Learning Award, which is given annually for successful efforts to eliminate achievement gaps.

In a release from the Iowa Department of Education on Thursday, this year’s winners were recognized for having the highest proficiency rates statewide in math and reading among a specific subgroup of students, such as students whose first language is not English and students from low-income backgrounds.

State assessment results from the last three years were examined to confirm a positive trend for each school.

“These schools are taking major steps forward in closing gaps in achievement while also working to raise achievement for all students,” said Charlie Edwards, president of the State Board of Education.

Edwards said Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School received its Breaking Barriers Award for work with students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds. Among those students, 94 percent are proficient in reading and math, compared to a statewide average of 68 percent.

The four other winners are Riverdale Heights Elementary School in the Pleasant Valley Community School District, Pleasant Valley High School in that same school district, Carlisle High School in Carlisle and Gilbert Intermediate School in the Gilbert Community School District. This is the first time two schools in the same district won a Breaking Barriers award.

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County and education reporter

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