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Christmas came early to four out of five Ray County school districts when they received the coveted “Distinction in Performance” award from the state.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has determined the school districts in Hardin, Lawson, Orrick and Richmond have met the performance standards which are the basis of the state’s accreditation program for all school districts.
The four districts are listed among 330 school districts in the state that earned this distinction, compared to 295 last year.
“We are gratified by the steady increase in the number of districts meeting the high standards for this award,” said Stan Johnson, assistant commissioner of DESE. “Teachers and school officials throughout the state are definitely focused on meeting these standards, and we are seeing the results of that effort. To earn this award, a district must be doing well, or making consistent progress, in all areas of academic performance. Parents and patrons should be proud if their school district has earned this honor.”
Mary Pettegrew, Title 1 Reading teacher for fourth and fifth grade students at Sunrise Elementary in Richmond, said, “I think we’ve had this one time. The state sets certain standards and this says we’re meeting all of them at a high level, at or above. Some states lowered their standards in order to make meeting them easier, but Missouri didn’t lower its standards. And, it’s more than just academic. They consider the buildings too. We didn’t qualify before, because of the old Intermediate building. They consider the counselors, nurses, teachers, custodians and everybody. It’s a credit to our leaders and something our school can benefit from. It’s a district-wide effort.”
“The Distinction in Performance award is based on the 14 academic performance standards that are the basis of the state’s accreditation program for all school districts. The standards are based on scores from the state-mandated MAP tests, graduation rate, attendance, ACT scores, and other indicators.” (from DESE Web site)
“K-12 districts had to meet 13 out of 14 standards, including all of the MAP-based measures. Last year, Sunrise Elementary did not meet the goal in communication arts, but was given a bonus point by the state due to the curriculum standard improvement status. That overrode the one missed point and allowed us achievement towards this determination announced by the state on Dec. 12,” said Jim Robins, superintendent of Richmond schools.
The award is presented annually. There are 523 public school districts in Missouri. Of this year’s recipients, 278 are K-12 districts and 52 are K-8 districts.
Some of the local recipients have received this status in previous years. For instance, Hardin-Central, Norborne, Chillicothe, Wellington-Napoleon, Lathrop, Lawson, Liberty earned the DIP in 2006 and in 2007. Orrick earned it in 2007.
This year is the Richmond district’s first year in some time. Lexington, Carrollton, Polo and Odessa were also recipients for the first time.
Among the K-8 districts earning the distinction were Cowgill and Missouri City, who was also awarded in 2007.
The Distinction in Performance award is based on the same criteria used in the accreditation process, but it provides an annual confirmation and recognition of a district’s consistent performance.
The staff at Richmond met in the high school commons Wednesday Dec. 17, for the announcement and refreshments as a part of the weekly PLC (Professional Learning Communities) teacher collaboration and education meetings.