Aides play a key role in Bruin Point's success.
Hard work, perseverance and coming to school every day ready to learn are just some of the traits Bruin Point Elementary teaches its students when striving to reach their goals.
Bruin Point Elementary staff and faculty are working hard to help students learn and grow and their efforts are not going unnoticed.
Last month, the Utah State Office of Education honored 10 Utah Title I schools for their efforts in closing the achievement gap between white and ethnic minority students and also honored 58 additional Title I schools for their high academic performance during the 2009-10 school year.
Title I schools are schools that have a high percentage of low-income students, with Utah having a total of 273 such schools in the 2009-10 school year.
To earn the Utah Title I Closing the Achievement Gap Award, a school must achieve adequate yearly progress in both language arts and math tests given to all students at the end of the school year; must reduce by at least 50 percent the achievement gap between disaggregated student groups and the whole school in both subjects; and must be nominated by the district superintendent or charter school leader.
To earn the Utah High Performing Title I School Award, a school must achieve adequate yearly progress in both language arts and math tests given to all students in the school for at least the previous two years; must achieve at or above the Utah state average in both subjects on the most recent set of tests; and be nominated for the award by the district superintendent or charter school leader.
Bruin Point Elementary was recognized by the state for both awards. The awards are an example of the hard work put in by a number of different people, said Principal Melissa Hamilton.
"Teachers, students, faculty and family all played a role in these achievements," said Hamilton.
It's not an easy achievement to attain, especially in a small community of Sunnyside and East Carbon. Around 65 percent of the students at Bruin Point receive free or reduced lunches, Hamilton said.
Although that is a daunting percentage to look at, Bruin Point focuses on getting the most out of their students. The faculty has put into place a high emphasis on individualized work with the students and test taking strategies. The results: students are succeeding and the numbers, and awards, are proof.
"We take a team and family approach with this," said Hamilton. "We engage families to help out as much as possible so that students are excited about school and come here ready every day to learn."
One of the ways Bruin Point helps promote the importance of an education is by having members of the community who went to school locally come in and talk to the students about their career and how school has played an important role in their lives.
"We all work really hard to help them (students) not only succeed in school, but also in their lives as well," said Hamilton.
Hamilton and the faculty work with students individually to set goals and finding whathey need to focus on improving each day.
"It's a very empowering feeling for them," she said, "especially when they see the results of their hard work."
Bruin Point currently has 122 students enrolled this year ranging from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Despite being a smaller school, the test results and achievements show a school with a hard working faculty and staff and students who want to succeed can be successful, Hamilton said.
"Any school can do it," she said. "You can get there with the right staff and everyone involved in helping the students succeed."
While the achievements and awards are an example of the hard work put in by many people, going forward the main focus will continue to be on students and helping them succeed, Hamilton said.
"In the end it comes down to all of these kids and helping them reach their goals," she said.