Press release, June 22, 2006
Oil City Elementary Magnet School in Oil City, Louisiana, a model Project Learning Tree (PLT) certified school, was presented on June 19 with the "National School Change Award" in recognition of its significant improvement. This honor is awarded each year to six schools around the country by the American Association of School Administrators, New York's Fordham University Graduate School of Education, and Pearson Education.
"PLT has played a major role in helping turn the school around and I see teachers using PLT activities and teaching strategies every day with their students," said Mike Irvin, principal of Oil City Elementary Magnet School.
Five years ago Oil City Elementary faced closure. That same year, the entire faculty was trained to use Project Learning Tree as part of their curriculum. PLT professional development workshops have been held every year since.
The results were dramatic. In 2001, 38% of fourth grade students scored in the basic to proficient level on the state standardized tests and 62% fell in the unsatisfactory category. By 2005, 67% of the fourth grade was performing at the basic to proficient level or above.
Oil City Elementary Magnet School was designated as a model PLT Certified School in 2003. The school's teachers regularly take their students outside for hands-on lessons using the school's three new outdoor classrooms, a greenhouse, and a nature trail. A PLT GreenWorks! grant is currently helping students add a fruit orchard and bird viewing station.