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Mary G. Jarvis of Smoky Hill High School in Cherry Creek, Colo., has been named the National Principal of the Year. The National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. sponsor the award.

As the principal of the Denver-area school, Ms. Jarvis has aggressively battled student absences and the dropout rate. Both daily attendance and graduation at the 2,700-student school have climbed above 90 percent.

Among her innovations is a program that identifies students who are at risk of failing basic courses. The program has become a model for a $1 million K-12 mentoring program in the 35,000-student Cherry Creek district.

The school also has established an inter-ethnic advisory committee to deal with racial differences among students and a student response team to work with administrators on issues such as the dress code.

Ms. Jarvis, 47, was chosen for the national award, given each year, from among 52 principals from throughout the country. She was honored last week at a dinner in Washington, D.C.

Another Colorado educator, Maria Ramirez, has been named the National Bilingual Teacher of the Year by the National Association for Bilingual Education. Ms. Ramirez, 39, teaches 2nd-grade bilingual education at Alsup Elementary School in Commerce City.

Her lessons emphasize group learning, team teaching, and intensive involvement from parents.

Ms. Ramirez will be honored in March at the association's national conference in Orlando, Fla. She will also receive $4,000 worth of school supplies.

The George Lucas Foundation has taken its first steps toward producing a documentary film and a resource book to spotlight examples of effective education. The San Rafael, Calif.-based foundation has chosen Gerry Wurzburg to produce and direct the documentary. Ms. Wurzburg is the president of State of the Art Inc., a Washington-based multimedia communications company. The company produces films and videos about education, including "Educating Peter," an Academy Award-winning documentary about the experiences of a child with Down syndrome in a regular classroom.

--Adrienne D. Coles

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