The Cassville R-4 School District will be recognized with its sixth Distinction in Performance Award from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The Wheaton R-3 School District was honored a third time, and the Shell Knob School District received its seventh award this year.
"We are excited," said Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent. "I am very honored to have the privilege to work with a school district that has achieved this six years in a row.
"This is a good credit to the educators, teachers, students and parents who support this district," said Asbill. "Anytime a rural school district can exceed the local expectations and strive to exceed the state and national expectations you have to be proud of the efforts that the parents, teachers and students are making."
Asbill also credited former Superintendent Jim Orrell with building a foundation for academic excellence.
"Jim led this school district for so many years," said Asbill. "He helped the administration develop a vision for working for tomorrow. We concentrate on where we need to be and what we need to do to make our students successful when they graduate from Cassville R-4 Schools."
The Wheaton R-3 School District continued its standard of excellence in the classroom and achieved a third DESE Distinction in Performance Award this year.
"This is a tribute to the good teachers and good students at Wheaton," said Dr. Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent. "Our students take pride in doing well on the MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) and end of the quarter tests.
"Distinction in Performance is based on improvement, though," said Massey. "We are not where we would like to be, but this shows we are improving. Over the last several years we have made good strides getting toward where we would like to be. I hope every year we continue to get closer to reaching the No Child Left Behind mark of 100 percent student proficiency."
Over the last few years, the Wheaton School District has focused some of its efforts on improving ACT scores.
"We struggled for a few years, but on this year's annual performance report (APR) we achieved the category of met," said Massey. "This is based on the number of graduating seniors that score at or above the national average on the ACT. Achieving met shows that our efforts over the last few years are starting to pay off for our students."
The efforts of teachers at administrators are also helping Shell Knob School District students meet annual yearly performance (AYP) goals. Academic improvement helped the district earn its sixth consecutive Distinction in Performance Award this year.
"We are thrilled at receiving our seventh Distinction in Performance Award, sixth in a row," said Shelly Fransen, Shell Knob superintendent.
Shell Knob also received the award during the 2001-02 school year.
"This award confirms we are continuing to stay on track," said Fransen. "The district also met AYP this year, which was nother sign we are doing what's best for our students.
"I feel there are several reasons why our students are so successful," said Fransen. "One is our highly qualified staff that puts their students first in the classroom. Another is our intervention work we do with students who may be falling behind."
Student success can also be attributed to the district's many volunteer mentors, who spend hours working with students who need one-on-one instruction.
"Finally, our board is so supportive of everything we do here at Shell Knob School," said Fransen. "They see that our students are given every opportunity possible to become successful members of society."
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 meet 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.