Marilyn Lewis visited Ashford High School for the first time Tuesday.
The State Department of Education Program Coordinator says one thing really stands out.
"Everyone has concern and care for the children at the school."
"Ashford High School was among one of three schools to significantly improve in graduation and attendance rates.”
"I’m proud of what we've done; I hope we can do more."
During Lewis' tour, faculty, staff, and even students talked about the school's motto, 'Knowledge is power'.
And the meaning is one they stand by.
"The more you know, the better able you are to deal with problems and to deal with issues in your life. If students know about the world around them, they learn from us and they learn from us and they know what’s expected in life, they are going to make good decisions because they have knowledge," said Rhonda Kelly.
Administrators and faculty also stressed the importance of teachers.
"If the school makes them feel like they are a part of the community, part of the family, if they take ownership of the school and of themselves as a student of the school, they will stay in school," said Rhonda Kelly.
All tips that Lewis plans to share with larger schools.
"Some of what I’ve gotten from here, because unless our locations are small enough for us to know the children, we are not going to be as successful as Ashford has been in ensuring that their children are graduating college and career ready," said Marilyn Lewis.
Proving a big city can learn something from a small town.
Cottonwood High and Houston County High School have also shown improvements on graduation and attendance rates.