LELAND, NC (WWAY) — A Cape Fear Area school which has had trouble making grades in the past is now one of the top growing schools in the state.Molly White has been the principal at Lincoln Elementary School in Leland for five years. At the start of her sixth year, she has extra reason to celebrate.- Advertisement – “This week, the state released our growth report, and so, what happened is, we’ve basically had a significant improvement,” said White.This is a big accomplishment for a school where more than 80 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch, according to the latest available data from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.Now, Lincoln is in the top 100 schools for growth in the state, with a growth index score of 6.09 overall, and 7.14 in math.Related Article: Firewood giveaway for elderly“A negative two to a positive two effect size essentially is meeting growth, and anything above a positive two is exceeding growth. So for us to be in the 6’s and 7’s and basically tripling that was a great accomplishment,” said White.White says this means students are surpassing expectations. So what’s changed at Lincoln?Katie Bunn first taught at the school six years ago, and returned three years ago as an instructional coach.She says she’s seen a shift in the way the school operates.“I just think the complete culture of the school has changed. There’s extremely high expectations, not only for every staff member, but also for the students, and the parents are a big part of the community as well,” said Bunn.Bunn says a big part of teaching effectively is understanding the needs of each individual student.“We’re a family, and in the good times and in the bad times we all stick together,” said Bunn.Principal White says she hopes these successes will be carried with the students as they continue onto middle and high school, and then hopefully college.