Ramona Overcomes Great Challenges,

Receives Excellent Award and Founder's Award from L.A.E.P.

Ramona Avenue Elementary School, a recipient of an LAEP Excellence Award in the School category, also received special recognition this year for its success in overcoming great challenges to improve student achievement. Ramona, located in Hollywood, received the LAEP Founder's Award in honor of Peggy Funkhouser, LAEP's founding president and CEO, who recently retired. The award honors Funkhouser for her more than 15 years of commitment to improving education and her unwavering belief that excellence in education is possible and is essential for children in low-income urban schools. "In a sense, this Award represents the qualities that Peggy has brought to the education reform movement in Los Angeles - hard work, commitment, innovation, a spirit of collaboration," said Virgil Roberts, former LAEP chairman of the board and current board member of the LEARN/LAAMP alliance.

Ramona was selected to receive this year's Founder's award for its success in overcoming very difficult circumstances to improve student learning. Ramona Elementary is a large, urban school with 1,390 students. It is ranked as the third most overcrowded school in the Los Angeles Unified School District and 96 percent of the students meet poverty guidelines for participation in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch Program. Eighty two percent of the students are designated as English Language Learners.

Despite these challenges, Ramona's Stanford 9 scores increased over the 1997, 1998, 1999 school years in grades 1 though 5. The yearly gains in reading have been significant and consistent starting in 1997 with scores close to the 20th percentile across grades and moving up in 1999 to between the 30th to 43rd percentiles. Stanford 9 scores similarly increased in math and language at all grade levels by as much as 30 percentile points. In the recently published Academic Performance Index, Ramona scored 605 on a scale of 200-1000. Students who stay at Ramona for all of their elementary school education learn English. Ninety-five percent become fluent by the end of fifth grade. Ramona's similar school rank is a perfect ten!

So how did Ramona Elementary accomplish so much in so little time? Read this Learning Exchange profile and find out.