Blue Ribbon Award

  • National Blue Ribbon Award

    Regency Place Elementary was awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award Nov. 10, 2006, in Washington, D.C. Regency Place was recognized as one of five schools in Kansas, specifically for ranking in the top 10 percent of high achieving schools in Kansas over a five-year period.

    The entire school community celebrated throughout the process. See pictures from D.C., our Pep Assembly (attended by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius) and the balloon launch! The formal application gives all the logistics to what it takes to be a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School.

    Student Achievement Increases in Kansas

    More Schools Make Standard of Excellence

    TOPEKA, Dec. 12, 2006 ~ Student achievement continues to increase across Kansas. Assessment results show 1,172 schools will receive a building-wide Standard of Excellence award that recognizes their ability to raise student performance. The results were presented today to the Kansas State Board of Education during its regular monthly meeting.

    The Standard of Excellence honors indicate that achievement in the top three categories (exemplary, exceeds standards and meets standards) remains strong.

    “The Standard of Excellence takes into account the achievement of all students,” said Dr. Tom Foster, deputy commissioner of Learning Services for the Kansas State Department of Education. “This award requires a school to focus on the learning of all children across the academic spectrum – from the highest to the lowest – not just those in the middle.  Schools that achieve this standard truly demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning for Kansas children.”

    This is the initial year for building-level awards for schools. Previously, only grade-level awards were available for grades 5, 8, and 11 in reading and grades 4, 7, and 10 in math. With the inception of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) testing in grades 3 through 8 and high school, a building-level award recognized overall student achievement in a school. In all, 4,567 building-wide and grade-level Standard of Excellence Awards will be given to Kansas schools this year.

    To receive a Standard of Excellence Award (at the elementary school level), the school must have at least 25 percent of its students score exemplary on the state assessment and no more than five percent of its students on academic warning. In middle schools, at least 20 percent of students must score exemplary on the assessments and no more than 10 percent of students can be on academic warning. High schools must have 15 percent of its students score exemplary and no more than 10 percent of students on academic warning.

    Reading Outshines Math

    This year 2,689 awards, including 720 building-wide awards, will be given in reading. In math 1,878 awards, including 452 building-wide honors. will be given to schools. Last year 407 grade-level awards in reading were given and 707 awards were given in math.

    Substantially more Standard of Excellence Awards are being given in reading to the same grades that tested last year – up from 407 awards to 862 this year. Eighth-grade reading saw the biggest gains from 87 awards given last year to 269 awards this year.

    While more Standard of Excellence awards were earned overall this year in math, fewer grade-level awards were given to the same grades tested previously – down from 707 awards to 517. Fourth-grade math saw the biggest decline from 464 awards last year to 280 awards this year. It is unknown at this time what factors may have contributed to the decrease.

    History

    The Kansas State Board of Education has established very high expectations for academic achievement for both Kansas schools and for individual students. These expectations are called the “Standard of Excellence.”  An excellence standard establishes a “world class” benchmark of performance for either an individual student or for a group of students for the particular skill assessed. A Standard of Excellence, in tandem with other achievement measures, is used to interpret performance on the Kansas assessments.

    The Standard of Excellence, in use since 1995, is based on a distribution of student scores across the five student performance levels of the state assessments for each content area tested. Input from a panel of superintendents, principals, and curriculum directors and an analysis of the building performances data were used to construct a criterion profile of performance for a building judged to be “excellent.” These “standards of excellence” criterion were developed considering the performance of all students as the base population.

    Assessment comparisons to prior years are not valid

    Although state assessments have been administered for a number of years, comparisons between this year’s results and prior years do not produce reliable conclusions and would not be valid. This year Kansas students were given new assessment tests, developed from new State Board of Education approved curricular standards. This will make 2006 the beginning of a new baseline for assessment data and the start of different assessment trends. All students in grades three through eight and once in high school were assessed in both reading and math this year. In prior years, students were assessed in either reading or math once in elementary and middle school. No history, science or writing assessments were given this year.

    Overall, the gains in Standard of Excellence at Kansas schools far exceed the increase in the number of schools that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and the Kansas Department of Education believes a Standard of Excellence designation is a better measure of overall student achievement and the status of a school’s educational programs. AYP measures only the progress individual schools, districts and states are making towards meeting the No Child Left Behind targets for 100 percent of a state’s student population by 2014. The Standard of Excellence criteria encourages schools to meet the needs of all learners at each of the performance levels.

    State assessment results

    Overall the results of the state assessments in reading and math indicate strong student achievement in both areas. Statewide totals show students in all grades meeting the Board of Education established targets in reading and math. While challenges still remain,Kansas educators are working diligently to meet the requirements of NCLB and the needs of all learners.

    Subgroups

    Although some subgroups scored below the general population on state assessments, achievement scores saw modest improvement among many of the subgroups. Teaching English Language Learners reading and raising the math achievement levels for students in poverty represent the greatest challenge for Kansas schools. Despite gains, any achievement gap that continues to exist is still a concern for educators and will need additional attention and resources in the year ahead.

    Other measures

    Additional measures are used to judge the adequacy of the educational programs at various levels in the state. The measures include the percent of students who participate in the assessments, the graduation rate and the attendance rate. For each of these measures, the state establishes targets for schools and districts. Meeting these targets is as important for schools and districts as meeting the performance goals on the student assessments. Schools that fail to meet these goals do not make AYP. In 2006, the State of Kansas met the goals for attendance, graduation and participation.

    Highly Qualified Teachers

    As the number of teachers entering the profession declines and the number of teachers eligible to retire in five years grows, educators remain concerned about the availability of highly-qualified teachers. Researchers attribute much of the success of student learning to high-quality teachers. Achievement among Kansas students is clearly related to the high percentage of core classes taught by “highly qualified” teachers across the state. The percent of elementary classes taught by highly qualified teachers in 2005-2006 was 94.4 percent, and the percent of highly qualified teachers in secondary schools (middle, junior high and high schools) across the state is 89.5 percent.

    2007 and 2008 Assessments

    Additional assessments in other content areas will be introduced in the coming years. In 2007, new writing assessments are scheduled to be administered, and the new science and history/government assessments are on tap for 2008. Science is to be given annually to one grade each at the elementary, middle and high school levels. History/government and writing assessments will continue, as they have in the past, to be offered every other year in alternating years to one grade at each educational level. As are the reading and math assessments this year, the science, history/government and writing assessments will be newly developed tests based on newly adopted standards.

    For a copy of the 2006 assessment data, Standard of Excellence list and List of Schools on Improvement, visit www.KSDE.org and click under 2005-06 Assessment Data under Hot Topics.

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