Jemtegaard Middle School and Gause Elementary School are State Recognized Schools for their work in the 2018-19 school year.  The State Board of Education, Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction recognized Jemtegaard for closing the achievement gap for special education students, and Gause was recognized for their work increasing academic performance for Hispanic students.

“We are thrilled to the see the State recognize the success our schools are having,” said WSD Superintendent, Mary Templeton.  “The work at these schools is an excellent example of how we are supporting all our students by closing the opportunity gap through knowing, nurturing and challenging them to rise.”

The schools will be recognized by the State Board of Education during a virtual event later in the Spring.   Equity is one of the six pillars in the Washougal School District Strategic Plan and closing the achievement gap requires hard work on the part of students, teachers, and school leadership.

“Gause is very honored to be recognized for the work we have done, and continue to do, for the academic growth for our Hispanic students,” said Gause principal, Tami Culp. “Our staff works collaboratively to review data and design instruction to meet the needs of our students. This award recognizes the effectiveness of our instruction, specifically in our diverse student populations. This growth is an example of the work we are doing to close the gap in education for our students.  We accept and celebrate this award on behalf of all the staff at Gause for making a difference in our Hispanic students’ academic lives each and every day.”

“Our JMS teachers have worked well together to create common curriculum and assessments grades across 6th through 8th grade based on the needs of our students,” said David Cooke, JMS principal.  “This means that there is consistency in learning throughout the grade levels in essential reading, writing, and mathematical skills.”  He added that JMS has a dedicated paraprofessional team who work so well with students who need additional support.

“Finally, we are most proud of our JMS students,” he added. “They show up with a great attitude and a willingness to learn. They trust the adults in our building and work well with them to improve their learning. They look after each other so that all Huskies can be successful.”

Schools in Washington stand out for closing gaps, showing growth, and demonstrating achievement according to new data released by the state. The state has re-imagined the recognition system to highlight schools that have received support and are thriving, and highlight positive systems changes happening all over the state. This year, 391 schools are being recognized.

“Washington schools are inspiring. With these awards we recognize the outstanding efforts of our schools and their positive impact on students,” said Washington State Board of Education Chair, Peter Maier. “The State Board, OSPI, and the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee are excited to celebrate the diverse educational communities that support Washington’s ever-changing K-12 student population. Thank you to our state’s schools and educators for your dedication to students!”

“The Legislature is dedicated to recognizing the great work Washington schools do,” said Senator John McCoy, of Tulalip, member of the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee and sponsor of this year’s Senate resolution honoring state-recognized schools. “With the current health concerns in our state, we are taking time to thoughtfully and safely celebrate the commitment and success of our schools in serving all students equitably.”

“Right now, the whole world is understanding the significance of our public schools,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. “Public education provides each student with an opportunity for success; it’s the foundation of our democracy and our society. Next week, we are honoring our educators who are committed to continually improving outcomes for their students. Thank you all for your amazing work.”

Recognized schools receive a banner for display at their buildings. To learn more about why schools were recognized, and to see the data behind the recognition framework, visit