A school that faced state takeover last year is now being hailed as an example for all Indiana schools.
Dickinson Fine Arts Academy, in South Bend, went from being an "F" school, to an "A" school in just one year. On Thursday, students got a special visit to honor their progress.
Superintendent of Public Education Dr. Tony Bennett stopped by the school to hand deliver a banner marking the "A" rating. Dickinson had the largest single year gains in the entire state.
"It set a bar for this school community, it set a bar for a state," Bennett said. " It proved that demography doesn't determine destiny. That every child in our state can have a great education like the children here are getting."
From the moment Bennett walked into the school gym, the students were beaming with pride. Principal Thomas Sims said events like this one serve as motivation for the students.
"It makes them feel empowered," Sims said. " Hard work was not the problem. The problem was the belief that they could actually succeed."
The staff and student body are already gearing up for next year. The slogan for the school year was unveiled at Thursday's assembly and led to everyone in the gym cheering, "See what I can do."
"When we found that we had made the gains, it was a wave of excitement for all the kids," Sims said. "Our community was so supportive because they had felt for so long that on this side of town our kids were not going to be successful. When they pulled the overnight and did it in one year, it just changed everything."