To be successful on an athletic field or in the classroom, the same skill set is needed – cooperation, collaboration, hard work, dedication, time, effort and teamwork.

On the athletic field, success is judged by wins and losses. At Lake Elementary and North Canton's Orchard Hill elementary schools, success was judged by earning the 2016 Momentum Award and the All A Award for straight As on the Ohio School Report Card for value added measures.

In speaking with the coaches of each school, Orchard Hill Principal Renee Manse and Lake Elementary Principal Donna Bruner, the scouting reports that were executed at each school were similar. The players, or in this case the teachers, implemented the game plan to perfection.

"At Orchard Hill, we have what we call Response to Intervention (RIP)," said Manse. "We started this five years ago. This program has allowed us to achieve our success."

Manse said RIP is instruction the students receive in areas that they are struggling to achieve success. 

"Through tests, the teachers will look at the results, analyze the data and make assessments," said Manse. "Whatever skills are lacking, the teachers will intervene and help the students. Five days a week, for 40 minutes, we have RIP or what students may refer to as 'Viking Time.' "

Bruner outlined Lake’s road map to success.

"Our teachers are broken up into Professional Learning Teams," said Bruner. "The teachers meet at grade levels. They collaborate best practices and see what needs to be done for student achievement. The teachers do reflecting, analyzing data and look at the data. They see how they can get better at their craft to better educate the student.

"The Professional Learning Team is critical to our success. They organize their day to get into groups together – sometimes it is before school and other days after school. Many of the teachers get together in summer to reflect on the past year and prepare for the new year."

For both schools, winning the award came as quite a surprise.

"We were thrilled to receive this award," said Manse. "I’m proud of their hard work; years of hard work with intervention. I did a celebration for the staff. I called a staff meeting and had a continental breakfast. It was a nice day that day, so we took all the teachers and kids outside and took a picture to celebrate. For us, it is like the Cavs – we are all in; we are in it to win it."

Bruner said she is working on a staff celebration at Lake Elementary. Likewise, she said the day they found out they won, the teachers went outside on a beautiful day to take a picture.

"In the past, we have won the SOAR award, which was for student growth," said Bruner. "That was for kids continuing to show growth (this year, Ohio Department of Education changed the name of the award). This is a solid team, where we all work together. Each grade level works well as a team and the kids benefit. We are thrilled to win the award."

North Canton City Schools Superintendent Jeff Wendorf, who came from Lake Local Schools last year, said in a press release, "The teachers and staff recognize the importance of teamwork as they prepare our students for the rigorous state testing program. We are also proud of Orchard Hill students and their parents who work diligently to support their children and their school."

Wendorf’s successor, Lake Local Schools Superintendent Kevin Tobin said in a press release, "We are very proud of this award. It affirms that our collaborative culture has a direct impact on student achievement. The teachers, support staff and our parents are all partners in pushing our students to meet this level of success."

The teachers are revising their game plans with a new set of students in the buildings this year. But both schools – students and staff – are working toward defending their tites.