The Joshua Circle Bulldogs have beaten the odds and brought home one of the state's top honors.

On Tuesday, Joshua Circle Elementary School was one of 239 named a 2007-2008 Title I Academic Achievement Award winner. Other High Desert schools receiving the award were Braddach Elementary in Adelanto and Sixth Street Prep and Excelsior Education Center in Victorville.

"The dedicated staff here is one of the reasons this award came here," Principal Lois Reaber said Friday afternoon.

The award doesn't signal a change in teaching methods, she said, but rather the "steady application of what we believe is right for these students."

This year, Joshua Circle's Academic Performance Index scores went up 25 points over the year before, to 766. But the award focuses on Adequate Yearly Progress scores, which measures how individual subgroups, such as English language learners and economically disadvantaged students did. And that's where Joshua Circle shined.

Joshua Circle has more students from poor families than any other Hesperia Unified School District elementary school, but they doubled their improvement goal for students in the lower socio-economic bracket.

"And this comes with, of course, support from the district office, support from folks in speech [therapy], all the way through," Reaber said.

There's an award ceremony in April in Century City, and Reaber is hoping that the teaching staff can participate, not just the school's principal.

"This is a solid staff that's stayed together, except for retirement, through the years," she said. "They need to be honored."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.