West Carter Middle School, Olive Hill, K.Y.
West Carter Middle School has not retained a student in the last five years. Staff members proudly point to this fact as evidence that their decision to not permit zeros is working. Coupled with the ‘no zero’ policy were a number of programmatic supports in mathematics and reading/language arts as well as a strong tutorial program offered multiple times during the day that allowed all students to meet state standards and demonstrate significant academic growth. Six years ago, the school with 475 students in 6th through 8th grade, 69 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged, was one of the lowest performing middle schools in Kentucky; today, the students outperform 90 percent of the students in the state.