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Outside team praises Great Bend schools
USD 428 recommended for accreditation
Great Bend USD 428 administrators were the first group to meet with the Outside Visitation Team on March 26. USD 428’s OVT is comprised of professionals from the Kansas Technical Assistance System Network who are trained by the Kansas Department of Education in the OVT process. Members are chair, Stephanie Stindt, MSEd, Beth Clavenna-Deane, Ph.D., and Spencer Brown.

An Outside Visitation Team (OVT) came to Great Bend on March 26 to assess USD 428 for accreditation. Assistant Superintendent John Popp told the school board on Monday that the OVT will recommend full accreditation to the Accreditation Review Council (ARC).

“It was a very complimentary report,” Popp said. We do not expect to have any concerns.” The Kansas State Department of Education can give full accreditation or can make accreditation provisional and require additional improvements and reports.

“After compiling the quantitative and qualitative data and evidence produced by the Great Bend district leadership team, the OVT will submit a report and recommend without reservation that the district be fully accredited,” Popp said. “There is compelling evidence of the work the district has undergone to improve achievement for Great Bend students. The Great Bend school district should celebrate the enormous accomplishments noted by the OVT as the district enters their next cycle of accreditation.”

The list of accomplishments includes:

• There are large numbers of students moving out of interventions — that is, extra help in targeted areas — and catching up to their peers.

• There is obvious evidence of collective ownership of all students.

• The Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework is embedded into the school system and has become part of the culture.

• The evidence showed improvement in communication and partnerships with the community.

• The district has begun focusing on Trauma Informed mental health with community mental health partners.

• The entire system is making decisions for students based on data.

• According to the state assessment, the Great Bend school district outperformed the state in terms of rate of growth in English Language Arts (ELA). The district improved 2.64 percent from 2015 to 2018 in the highest level of the state assessment (Level 4). The state average in Level 4 grew only about 1.74 percent during those same years.

• According to the state assessment, in Math, the percentage of students in Level 4 from 2015 to

2018 has increased from 2.7 percent to 6.24 percent in the Great Bend district, while the state as a whole grew only 1.57 percent in Level 4.

• The district is addressing attendance and graduation rate through the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program and Freshman Academy.

• More students in special education are participating in core instruction.

• There is an intentional effort to bring preschool programs into alignment with the rest of the district.

• The district leaders have been mindful of aligned and focused professional development to support the goals of the district. They have identified high leverage, evidence-based practices and sought training and implemented Learning Walks and peer observations.

• District and building leaders demonstrate a high level of instructional leadership and have created a culture centered around instruction, impact for students, and a focus on learning.