Coeur d’Alene receives national award

Coeur d’Alene and Lake City high schools recently received national recognition for providing underrepresented students with the support they need to be successful in high school and in preparing for post-secondary education. Superintendent Matt Handelman and Coeur d’Alene High senior Jacob Lockhart traveled to the Washington, D.C., last week to receive the prestigious award that was given to only three school districts nationwide in 2015.

The Gaston Caperton Opportunity Award — awarded by the College Board — recognizes schools succeeding to help underachieving students graduate high school and have access to career-readiness resources.

“We start with the premise that every student, regardless of his or her life circumstances, should be given the tools and opportunities throughout his or her K–12 career, especially in high school, to pursue and realize a dream of going to college,” Coeur d’ Alene Superintendent Matt Handelman said.

In the Coeur d’Alene District, 44 percent of students are enrolled in the free or reduced-price lunch program. Despite having a large population near the poverty level, both Lake City and Coeur d’Alene high schools have high graduation rates of 95 percent. This sits in contrast to national dropout rates that show kids living in poverty are five times more likely to not finish their K-12 education.

“All students deserve the opportunity to succeed. The Gaston Caperton Opportunity Award honors schools like Coeur d’Alene and Lake City that are making good on their commitment to deliver that opportunity every day,” said David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board. “Today we celebrate Coeur d’Alene and Lake City high schools for showing how great classroom instruction, challenging courses, and daily hard work and practice make all the difference in the lives of students.”

The Coeur d’Alene School District has doubled its courses available in the Advanced Placement Program and has tripled its participation rate in those classes since 2010.

In addition to the award, the Coeur d’Alene School District received $25,000 to be applied toward programs that encourage students to attend college. The College Board is planning a visit to the district later in the school year to host a celebration with the community.

“Beyond exciting,” said Laura Rumpler, Coeur d’Alene’s director of communications.