Expecting the best

Cape Horn-Skye receives state honors for student success in testing

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Ask Mary Lou Woody what makes Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School a success, and the answer is simple.

“The staff,” she said. “I always tell them that I know just how lucky I am. They have high expectations, both for themselves and each other.”

And it shows.

Cape Horn-Skye has been named to the statewide 2011 Schools of Distinction.

It is the only public school in the Camas or Washougal area to receive the honor. River HomeLink, a parent-partnered program formerly housed in Camas, was the other school.

The award is based on improvement on standardized tests during the past five years. A total of 99 schools across the state were recognized.

This is the second time since 2009 that Cape Horn-Skye has received the honor, Woody said.

“Our staff, students and community really work to do what is best,” she said.

Third-grade teacher Lucie Willeman echoed that sentiment.

“Receiving this award really gives me a sense of vindication for all the hours of work the staff does outside the classroom,” she said.

“To have it make a difference for the kids really feels good. The staff as a whole is always interested in learning more. If we see someone who is successful, we ask what they’re doing.”

Second-grade teacher Jocelyn Aldridge mentioned collaborating together through Professional Learning Communities, which are made up of different teachers who meet regularly throughout the Washougal School District.

“Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom,” she said.

School Counselor Michelle Mederos added that the teachers expect the best from all students, which helps self-esteem as well.

“I consistently see teachers challenging them,” she said. “Showing kids how they can be confident learners really helps them.”