BARTON COUNTY — Two Barton County Schools, Holy Family Catholic School in Great Bend and St. Joseph Catholic School in Ellinwood have earned the Governor’s Achievement Award. Forty-two Kansas elementary schools, 11 middle/junior high schools and 18 high schools have been recognized as part of the sixth annual Governor’s Achievement Awards, honoring top performing schools in the state.
“We’re proud to receive this,” said Marlene Clayton, lead teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Ellinwood. We’re proud of our kids.”
St. Joseph won the award three times- in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Third through eighth grades area tested in reading and math.
Holy Family School in Great Bend has won the award four out of the last five years.
“It’s like getting a pat on the back for a job well done,” said Karen Moeder, principal of Holy Family. “It’s validation for our hard work and knowing we’ve done what we are asked to do.”
She credits their success to the commitment of their parents and students. “We have wonderfully supportive families. We have total buy-in for our students,” she said. “One hundred percent of our students believe that they can do it.”
Moeder said that having a well-rounded student contributes to their success. They pray before every test and get a peppermint, teaching service and how to treat each other as well as going to Mass.
However, both leaders acknowledge it may be the last year for the award or the award may change with changing standards such as the Common Core.
To receive this prestigious award, schools must have achieved the Standard of Excellence in both reading and mathematics for 2012 and have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in both reading and mathematics and one additional measure in 2012. For elementary schools and middle/junior high schools the additional AYP measure is attendance and for high schools the measure is graduation rate. Additionally, the school must have been among the top 5 percent of schools in both reading and mathematics on the 2012 state assessments at its respective level.
“I want to offer my congratulations to all of the schools receiving the Governor’s Achievement Award,” said Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. “This is a significant award that recognizes exceptionally high achievement. It is certainly something in which the students, staff, parents and communities of these schools can take great pride.”