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home : schools and education : schools May 24, 2016

4/30/2014 11:04:00 PM
Chelan High honored
Amber Schlenker
Assistant Editor

Being recognized for a 'job well done' is quite possibly becoming commonplace at Chelan High School.
Earlier this month local schools were awarded, among 413 schools statewide with the Washington Achievement Awards.
Schools can be recognized in six different categories, including Overall Excellence, High Progress, Reading Growth, Math Growth, Extended Graduation Rate (awarded to high schools and comprehensive schools only)
and English Language Acquisition.
"The passion and dedication that the faculty and staff at this high school has for each and every student is truly exemplary. When you combine this with a culture that is predicated on solutions based on teamwork, a supportive community and school board - success is eminent," said Barry DePaoli, CHS Principal.
Chelan was recognized for overall excellence, math growth and its five-year graduation rate, at 98.5 percent.
"Our math program really is second to none," said DePaoli.
With three national-board certified math instructors at the high school, DePaoli says that's what's right with CHS, in addition to several college-in-the-high-school courses. DePaoli says specifically in the math program, it's all about consistency. Local math instructors agree.
Chelan High School math teacher Marty Rothlisberger says though he doesn't know what other schools do, the teachers of Chelan High set high expectations for themselves, and the students.
"Our students learn it's ok to struggle," said Tom Robinson, another math teacher at CHS.
"They know, we aren't going to give up on them."
The three math teachers at CHS say that each math course at the high school level is taught with the next one in mind.
"Each course is a prep for what comes after that," said Robinson. "I want to make sure my kids are prepared for the next class in line."
Ken Barnes, a 20-year teacher at the high school, says over the years, the culture of school all together has changed.
"There is a common respect, among staff and students, they (students) are there to learn," he added. "I am so proud of our school.
All three math teachers agree, the school wouldn't be where it's at without the leadership of DePaoli and Dr. Rob Manahan, schools superintendent.
Robinson says students, too, know that the teachers at the high school mean business, and the students learn the same attitude.
"Students know that we work hard, teach hard. We aren't going to waste their time, and we expect the same of them," he added.
"Eventually, they get it."
Barnes also added that teaching with a a passion isn't all they do.
"A young person needs encouragement," he said. "They need to hear, 'we'll help you', it's huge."
Chelan High School Counselor Greg Moses says though he's only been at the school a few short years, he's seen tremendous support from the school's administration, which largely contributes to the success of the school.
"It starts with Mr. DePaoli," he said. "It goes down to the staff, then the students, everyone is excellent, caring and willing to work with each other.
"That transfers to the kids," he added.
"That's what I see in this building; from a great administration, to a supportive and caring secretarial staff, awesome teachers and not one disrespectful student," he said.
Even the parents are supportive and willing to pitch in, says Moses.
It truly takes a village, and in Chelan's case, it's working.
In addition to the aggressive curriculum and caring teachers, Moses says the school's administration and school board has developed other helpful avenues, that contribute to the successful graduation rate.
"We have caring teachers and they really try to prevent a student from failing," he said. "But if they do fail, the school has a credit retrieval program, along with high-quality teaching that all helps get the kids to graduation day."
According to senior Anna Kelly, the success of CHS has everything to do with the staff.
Moving to the Chelan school district in fifth grade, Kelly says it was a big transition for her, but from then on she began to learn of the staff's caring attitude towards each and every student.
"Mr. DePaoli knows every student here by name," she said
Knowing you're cared for when you walk in the doors of school, helps a student focus on success, and actually want it, too.
"I've never really wrapped my head around it (the success of the school), but I'm sad to be leaving a place I'm proud of," she said of her looming graduation date.
As the eyes and ears of the school, Mrs. Johnson, the middle/high school secretary, she says the school has a very supportive and caring set of employees.
"Relationships are paramount to being ready to learn," she said.
"If students know they are in a safe place, they will be ready to learn."
Students attribute the school's success to the teachers and administrators, teachers attribute it to the administrators and the administrators attribute it to the teachers and students. All in all, everyone involved is lauded for the school's success, and the numbers prove, it's rightly so.

Amber Schlenker can be reached at 509-682-2213 or by email

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