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updated: 2/27/2012 11:14 AM

State honor for Gurnee Grade School

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By Odie Pahl
Gurnee Elementary District 56

An academic excellence award has been given one of Gurnee Elementary District 56's buildings.

Gurnee Grade School received the 2011 Excellence Award for Exemplary Academic Performance on the Illinois learning standards. The recognition came from the Illinois State Board of Education.

As part of the criteria, Gurnee Grade School had to make adequate yearly progress in 2010 and 2011 as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In schools serving eighth grade and below, 90 percent of the students must have met or exceeded state standards in reading and math for the three most recent years.

Throughout the state, 438 schools earned this award, but it's the first for District 56.

Gurnee Grade Principal Jen Glickley was notified in late January that her building received the state board of education award.

In an email to her staff, Glickley said: "This is a huge testament to all the hard work each of you does everyday. It's more proof that every child can learn! Thank you!"

More than 10 years ago, District 56 was feeling the pinch of a growing student population and decided to reopen the oldest building in the district, Gurnee Grade School. It closed in June 1998 and then rented to the Gurnee Park District and a local Christian school.

Officials were looking for an economical way to create more space for incoming students and reclaiming Gurnee Grade was the first step.

To entice families back into the flood-prone building, the district decided to make Gurnee Grade an option school. What it could not offer in amenities, it could give in choice. All-day kindergarten was initiated, smaller class-size, multi-age classrooms, and eventually housing kindergarten through eighth grade in the same building.

Accommodating all siblings in one school was a boon to most families trying to work out the logistics of a typical school day.