"This award serves as recognition of the work our students and teachers are doing in the classroom," said Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent. "This is a direct reflection of all of their hard work."
Receiving the Distinction in Performance Award helped the district qualify for a Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) waiver, which means the district is exempt from the MSIP on-site review process and MSIP resource and process standards and indicators not listed in the waiver checklist. DESE will conduct a mini-team review that will focus on the areas identified in the waiver plan.
"Having the reputation as a district that receives distinction in performance awards helped give us the opportunity to receive a full MSIP waiver," said Asbill. "The award also allows us to continue to provide good data that says the school is high performing and that we are making adjustments when needed and evaluating student progress to provide a high class education for the children in this community."
Over the last year, district administrators and staff members have concentrated on making building level adjustments in an effort to focus on individual student growth, said Asbill.
"We continue to evaluate student progress in order to provide intervention services and after-school tutoring for students," said Asbill. "We know that there is not one prescription that fits all our students.
"Our teachers and students have done an outstanding job of realizing the building level goals," said Asbill. "Our staff is constantly working to better serve our students, and the principals have done an excellent job of encouraging the staff to find time to work with individual students and evaluate our curriculum for student needs."
Wheaton School District
The Wheaton R-3 School District continued its standard of excellence in the classroom and achieved a second DESE Distinction in Performance Award this year.
"I am very proud that the district received this award again," said Joe Layton, Wheaton superintendent. "This is based on a lot of hard work by our high school and elementary school principals, our teachers and our students."
Wheaton School District faculty members have concentrated on providing quality instruction in the classroom and monitoring student performance through assessment programs, said Eileen Ford, Wheaton Elementary School principal.
"We are using more data to guide our instruction," said Ford. "We also continue to monitor our curriculum to ensure that we are providing effective instruction."
The district's focus on quality instruction hinges on the efforts of a dedicated teaching staff, said Ford.
"The district is retaining high quality teachers," said Ford. "Plus, our students are taking more pride in their work as the district improves. They want to do their best on the state tests to help the district excel further."
Wheaton has also received outstanding community support over the last few years, said Ford.
"The parents and community have encouraged us as we implemented our afterschool programs and worked to improve performance," said Ford. "We have a school board that is very supportive of the administration and teachers. They have given us opportunities for improvement by supporting the programs and materials we are interested in using."
A new focus on research and the implementation of proven instruction strategies have helped the district excel, said Ford.
"Our teachers have visited other districts to observe other teachers, and we are using new data to decide what materials are needed to teach or reteach students effectively," said Ford.
Shell Knob School District
A supportive community and dedicated staff also helped the Shell Knob School District receive its fifth consecutive Distinction in Performance Award this year.
"We have an outstanding board that supports our teaching staff and keeps our salaries competitive," said Shelly Fransen, Shell Knob superintendent. "It really trickles down. We have an outstanding community and an outstanding staff, from our bus drivers and cooks to the custodians who keep our school in tip top condition. It takes pride from everyone."
Shell Knob also received the award during the 2001-02 school year.
DESE's Distinction in Performance Award is based on the 14 academic performance standards that are used in accreditation of all public school districts. These standards include Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores, ACT performance, graduation rates and other indicators.
Kindergarten through 12th grade school districts must met at least 13 out of 14 performance standards, including all six MAP standards, in order to achieve the Distinction in Performance Award. Kindergarten through eighth grade school districts must meet six out of seven performance standards and four MAP standards.
The Purdy R-2 School District received the Distinction in Performance Award for the first time this year. A complete story about Purdy's accomplishment will appear in next week's newspaper.