Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2000

Woodsonia praised in accreditation review

March 2, 2000

Woodsonia Elementary School has received the state's seal of approval.

Woodsonia received state accreditation and high praise from the evaluating team of educators who visited the school last Friday.

Principal Gaye Howorth said the evaluators told her what she already knew, but it was still nice to hear.

"They said our growth was strong and they were very impressed with student achievement at Woodsonia," she said. "They were so complimentary."

Each public school in Kansas is evaluated every five years through a Quality Performance Assessment, which measures things like state assessment test scores, teacher performance and community involvement. Howorth said her school tested well on all fronts.

"We got an extra commendation for having our curricula aligned with state and national standards," she said. "They recognized our great parents and our community involvement. We even had parents from the site council at the presentation."

Howorth has been the principal of Woodsonia for two years, which makes her a veteran compared with most of the school's faculty and staff.

"What is really impressive is that 71 percent of our staff is new to Woodsonia this year," she said. "Everyone has worked so hard to come together and the visiting team commented on how together we were."

Among the things the accreditation teams look for are student improvement in writing, reading and problem-solving, three things measured by the state's annual assessment tests.

Howorth said the team also looks for improvement from the students in the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

Although it's up to the students to perform well on the tests, Howorth said, it's the responsibility of the teachers and administrators to see that the students learn more each year.

"We look at test scores each year and we come up with teaching strategies that we think will help the students improve," she said. "Then we put the test data in graphs to show the visiting team where we started and how we have improved."

Woodsonia students showed improvement in all of the tested subjects, Howorth said.

Still basking in the excitement of the recent news, the principal was quick to pass the credit around.

"Our students have thrived and done so well because of their own efforts, staff teamwork and parent volunteers," she said. "We have always prized teamwork above all else."

Woodsonia getting its accreditation means that Monticello Trails Middle School is the only school in the district that has not yet received its accreditation.

An evaluating team will be visiting Monticello Trails later this school year.

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