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Tampico turnaround tranforms adversity into achievement

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A Whiteside County school is turning academic adversity into achievement.

Tampico Elementary School is one of just eight schools statewide to get double honors from the Illinois State Board of Education.

It's now on the Illinois Honor Roll and also became a Spotlight School.That honor recognizes high poverty but high performing schools.

It seems that youngsters always learn something new at Tampico Elementary School.

Inside Teri Schlindwein's third grade class on Monday, students are developing reading skills. They rotate through five stations to learn at their level.

"It's more individualized," she said. "Children get to read more because they are reading more often."

Once failing to meet federal standards, now nearly three-fourths of the students are succeeding.

"It makes me feel awesome and proud," said Dominique Robinson, 9.

"The teachers are doing a very good job of teaching, and the students are paying attention," added Jacob Malone, 10.

Tampico is beating the odds with old-fashioned hard work. It's a remarkable honor for the 15 teachers and 250 students.

It's just a way of life for Randy Behrens' fifth graders. Since the district must find ways to do more with less, teachers are creative as students find new ways to learn.

"It means a lot to us," said Tampico Principal Konnie Fry. "We work very hard as a team. We work hard every day to know our kids, to know their needs."

The school will celebrate with a special assembly on Friday. But with new computerized testing on the way, there's no time to rest on the recent laurels.

"When you set a goal and work hard to achieve that goal, that speaks volumes," Schlindwein said.

It's an academic turnaround for the kids and their community.

"Wow, that has never happened before," Robinson said.

"We can be proud that we have won an award," Malone concluded.

A turnaround that's aiming for the future in Tampico.