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Lancaster Elementary School Receives the Texas Honors Circle Awards for Public Education Excellence

Lancaster Elementary School is a recipient of the Texas Comptroller’s 2012 Texas Honors Circle Award, which recognizes schools and districts that are achieving academic success through cost-effective operations. Award recipients achieve strong academic performance while spending relatively little compared to their peers.

“We are so excited,” Principal Shemeka Millner-Williams said. “Less than one percent of Texas Public Schools achieve this honor.”

Millner Williams said that the campus took strategic steps in planning campus spending.

“We kept instruction our first priority,” she said. “All purchases that were even considered had to address a need that directly impacted not just students, but specifically our ability to provide high-quality instruction in our students’ identified areas of need.”

She added that this award means a lot to LES because, “it’s not just a financial award, it’s an award based on having a visible correspondence between lower spending and high student performance in comparison to other schools with similar demographics.”

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has announced that 45 Texas school districts and 329 school campuses received the Texas Honors Circle Award for high rankings received in the 2012 Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST).

FAST, mandated by the 2009 Texas Legislature, is an annual study that examines both academic performance and financial efficiency to identify school districts, charter operators and campuses that deliver high-quality education at relatively low costs. Combs created the Texas Honors Circle Award program to recognize districts and schools that receive high marks in the FAST analysis.

“In these challenging times where schools are under pressure to do more with less, it is more important than ever to shine a spotlight on those that are achieving strong student performance with cost-effective spending,” Combs said. “Your efforts to help our state and local governments wisely manage educational spending while preparing students for success in college or the work force is crucial to the future of Texas.”  

The Texas Honors Circle program awards certificates based on FAST results. Districts and charters receiving the Texas Honors Circle Award have achieved a Five-Star FAST rating. Only 45, or 4 percent of all Texas school districts, earned five stars. Elementary campuses receiving the award achieved a five-star FAST rating, while middle and high school campuses tapped for the honor achieved at least a 4.5-Star FAST rating.

“The best thing about being recognized for this is that it provides confirmation that always making decisions based on what is best for students is the right thing to do and that the decisions that we made were sound and effective,” Millner-Williams said. “It also gives us a clear path for continued practice in both the area of student achievement and fiscal responsibility.”