Roosevelt Elementary School in Miami closed the school year on a high note.

The school was the recipient of a Title I award for making exceptional gains in closing the gap between reading and math for the past two school years. It is part of the federal “No Child Left Behind” Act.

“We're in good company,” Roosevelt Principal Frank Hecksher said. “We're the third elementary school in Miami to receive similar recognition.

“It just shows that teachers throughout the district work hard.”

Earlier in this school year, Washington Elementary School was named a national Title I distinguished school for exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years.

Wilson Elementary School received an award similar to Roosevelt's the previous year.

The award honors high-poverty schools that have made significant improvements in reading and mathematics.

Roosevelt received a grant for slightly more than $30,000.

“That should make up for anticipated budget cuts next year,” Hecksher said. “The grant money is to be used to enhance reading and math programs and there are several new programs we are interested in exploring.”

Currently, Roosevelt is using Accelerated Reader, Star Reader and Star Math programs.

Perhaps the most important thing in helping students make progress in reading and math is creating excitement about the subjects.

“We try to celebrate each little step forward our students make,” Hecksher said. “The children don't get excited unless we do.”

Hecksher explained that “we” is not limited to the school's teaching staff.

“Everyone including aides, the secretary, the custodians have to help the students as well as the classroom teachers for the students to make progress,” he said.

Modern testing helps the school identify the students who need assistance.

“We have before- and after-school tutoring programs specifically designed to help students with reading and math,” Hecksher said. “They're specifically targeted at students who are struggling.

“The closer you can get to one-on-one the more beneficial the tutoring is for those who need help.”

Part of the grant money will enable Roosevelt to begin its after school program earlier in the school year.

“Perhaps most importantly is the response of the students' parents and the community,” Hecksher said. “They've been proud and supportive of our school.”