The students at CICS Jackson Elementary School in Rockford are required to have a 135% growth rate.
They exceeded that rate to 142.5%, doubling their growth in math and reading.
"We measure students' growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, so each assessment is individualized and each student is given a target that they have to meet by the end of the year," says Principal Angelique Watson.
Teachers say certain projects help them develop more every year. A research project is asked of kindergarten and first graders. They are required to pick an animal, create one out of recycled items, use an online library to gather information and write a five sentence paragraph telling the rest of the class about it.
Amanda Heredia, the kindergarten and first grade split class teacher, says she tries to have fun topics for her kids, because when they enjoy the projects, they are more engaged and eager to learn.
"Anytime you can engage in a fun and different way, they're really going to take ownership and be excited about it," she says.
Ultimately, the teachers say it's about the connection all of the students have. They encourage each other to get better. They say that's a big part of their growth as well.
"You can do this, and I'll stand right beside you while you're testing. I'll cheer you on, and don't give up. So, everyone's just been very involved," Watson said.
Because of their achievements, the students are going on field trips to Santa's Village and Six Flags.