"Ketchup Program" gains national attention

In 2009, Cardinal Community School District was one of the lowest achieving schools in the nation according to a list published by President Obama.

But thanks to the â??Ketchup Programâ?? the school has gone from more than 130 â??Fâ?? grades a year ago to about six â??Fâ?? grades.

â??So really just basically telling kids we expect their work is going to get done and we're going to do everything we can as educators to help them do that including helping them during the day, after school, before school and on Saturdays if needed,â?? said Joel Pedersen, Cardinal School District superintendent.

The kids will be sent to the â??Ketchup Roomâ?? until they finish their assignments.

â??We didn't want to have a negative connotation so we had kind of a play on words so the â??Ketchup Room.â?? Now we have T-shirts with ketchup bottles on it. We talk about that with the kids. It just seems to work because itâ??s kind of a funny way to talk about the program and it kind of resonated with the American School Board Journal also. They kind of picked up on our results and had a story in the July issue so we're kind of excited about that that we got some recognition for all the hard work that our staff and students are doing,â?? said Pedersen.

Cardinal Schools are transforming both inside and out. Construction will be ongoing throughout the summer making such improvements to the cafeteria and library.