Hard work has paid off for the schools in Unified School District 428, with all the buildings receiving some recognition by earning statewide academic awards.
Recently, the Kansas State Department of Education released its Standard of Excellence Award winners and the Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force announces its Challenge Award recipients. All the honors were based on the 2010 Kansas State Assessment Test results.
"The awards are a reflection of how hard our schools, teachers, kids and parents are working," said Ruth Heinrichs, USD 428 curriculum director.
The Standard of Excellence awards are given at the classroom and building level. All schools in the state are considered, and 3,007 were given in reading, 2,532 in math and 430 in science (fewer grade levels are tested in science). It is possible for a school to receive multiple awards.
In order to achieve the Standard of Excellence ranking, a class or a building must have a large percentage of the students score in the "exemplary" category and only a sliver score in the "academic warning" category. These percentages vary from 25 percent to 15 percent exemplary and from 5 to 10 percent academic warning, depending on the grade level and subject.
Schools must also meet Adequate Yearly Progress, as set by the state, and the schools must be accredited.
Exemplary is the top end of a five-level performance scale. The warning is at the bottom.
The task forces challenge awards (certificates of merit or certificates of recognition) go to school that didn’t make SOE. They honor schools or classes that show improvement despite qualifying factors, specifically the sample size, ethnicity and socio-economic status of those taking the test.
Statewide, a 129 challenge awards went to 58 school districts.
State tests are given in grades three through high school in reading, math and writing (only given at the building level every other year).
However, since the awards are based AYP and assessment results, earning them is only going to get tougher, Heinrichs said. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, each year until 2014, the percentage of students who must make the targets gets higher.
Below are the awards earned by USD 428:
2010 Challenge Awards
Certificate of Merit
Riley Elementary: third Grade math; fifth grade reading; sixth grade reading; fifth grade math; sixth grade reading.
Park Elementary: third grade reading
Great Bend Middle School: seventh grade reading
Certificate of Recognition
Eisenhower Elementary: sixth grade reading; sixth grade math.
Park Elementary: fifth grade reading; sixth grade reading; sixth grade math.
Riley Elementary: fourth grade math.
GBMS: seventh grade math; eighth grade math.
Great Bend High School: reading.
2010 Standard of Excellence
Eisenhower Elementary: fifth grade reading; sixth grade reading; building-wide reading; fifth grade math; sixth grade math; building-wide math.
Jefferson Elementary: fourth Grade Reading; fifth Grade Reading; sixth Grade Reading; Building-Wide Reading; third Grade Math; fourth Grade Math; fifth grade math; sixth grade math; building-wide math.
Lincoln Elementary: fifth grade reading; sixth grade reading; building-wide reading; third grade math; fourth grade math; sixth grade math; building-wide math.
Park Elementary: fifth grade reading; sixth grade reading.
Riley Elementary: third grade math.
GBMS: seventh grade reading; eighth grade reading; building-wide reading; seventh grade math; eighth grade math; building-wide math.
GBHS: building-wide reading.