Lincoln High School

Students gather after class in a file photo on the front steps at Lincoln High School. 

Journal Star file photo

Lincoln High School is one of eight U.S. public high schools honored as a “School of Opportunity” by the National Education Policy Center.

The honor merited a mention in a Washington Post education blog “Answer Sheet,” which has published the winners of the project for several years and which notes that the project recognizes public high schools that work to close opportunity gaps by “creating learning environments that reach every student.”

The project of the nonprofit education policy center at the University of Colorado-Boulder also honored schools in New York City; Chicago; Denver; San Diego; Seaside, California; Columbia, Maryland; and Aurora, Colorado.

The schools go through a rigorous application and evaluation process. 

“This award is an affirmation of the amazing work that our staff does every day,” Lincoln High Principal Mark Larson said. “This recognition also speaks to the unique culture that has been in place at Lincoln High for many years and hopefully will continue for years to come.”

The National Education Policy Center evaluates schools on 10 possible criteria. As part of the evaluation, schools went through a six-phase review process that included a self-assessment; reviews by school district and university experts, as well as past awardees; and site visits by project evaluators.

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In its final assessment, the center said this about Lincoln High: “Diversity and unity drive a culture of support and academic challenge in a school where everyone — including emerging bilingual students representing 30 different languages — finds a place to belong. A rich arts program, available to all, serves as a common language for (its) diverse student population.

This year’s winners join 37 previously honored schools that National Education Policy Center officials said can serve as examples of how “equitable learning environments can exist right now — not merely in some imaginary future.”

According to the Post blog, the project started in 2014 in New York and Colorado and went national the next year.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist.

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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