The state Department of Education recognized only one school in Kanawha County as a School of Excellence this year: Herbert Hoover High School in Clendenin.
The honor is based on a school's curriculum, innovation, learning environment, leadership, teaching and student achievement.
Principal Mike Kelley and Herbert Hoover's faculty have turned Herbert Hoover around.
"We were in a hole and didn't know how to get out of it," Kelli Plutro, an English teacher at Hoover for more than a decade, told the Daily Mail's Shay Maunz.
So they invented their own solutions.
In 2009, only 30 percent of Hoover students tested proficient in reading. Last year, 55 percent achieved proficiency in reading.
To sharpen writing skills - students tested low on writing assessments - teachers assigned students to write a one-sentence exercise in each class period.
Students also used the state's computer program to improve their writing skills.
An "enrichment program" gave students a 23-minute period each day to work on their problem areas.