USD 232 notches 14 standards of excellence
Students in De Soto USD 232 schools continue to show a high level of achievement, according to reports released this week by the Kansas Department of Education.
Districtwide, eight out of nine schools achieved the state standard of excellence based on reading and math assessment test given last year.
In De Soto, Lexington Trails Middle School achieved the standard of excellence in reading and math, De Soto High School in reading and Mize Elementary School in fifth-grade reading. Starside Elementary School did not make adequate yearly progress this year.
The standard of excellence designation means that students not only achieved adequate yearly progress, but a high number of those students scored "exemplary" and a low number scored below the proficient level. Those numbers vary between school districts and school buildings and are determined by the state.
"Our students performed at high levels," Superintendent Sharon Zoellner said. "On the math assessment, our students exceeded the current standard by nearly 36 percent. In reading, our students surpassed the goal by nearly 28 percent. Our children, our parents, and our dedicated staff should be proud of this success."
Also released this week were the building report cards for Kansas schools. The building report cards show charts of each school's state assessment data. The state assessments are given each spring to determine the schools' adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law. The law requires that all students, regardless of disability, meet the standard requirements for academic performance by the year 2014. There are five levels of perfor
mance by the year 2014. There are five levels of performance -- academic warning, approaches standard, meets standard, exceeds standard and exemplary. A school can make AYP and still not make the standard of excellence.
Lexington Trails Associate Principal Ryan Wiebe said the scores reflected the efforts at the school.
"We're very pleased that our building made the standard of excellence in math and reading," he said. "It's because of all the efforts and strategies the teachers use and implement in their classroom. And (because of) our approach of each student who needs the additional challenges or additional help."
This year, the state testing was slightly different because all students in grades third through eighth grade were tested in both reading and math. Previously, only specific grades were tested. At the high school level, juniors were tested in reading and sophomores were tested in math.
De Soto High School Principal Dave Morford said although the school achieved the standard of excellence in reading, they would continue to work on math scores.
"We made AYP and we're very happy with that, but we have a long way to go, too," he said.
The data is also compiled into categories required by the law. Those include economically disadvantaged students, English language learners, students with disabilities, migrant students, race and gender. According to the law, if schools have one category that doesn't achieve the required status, the entire school and the entire district doesn't make AYP for that year.
Starside Elementary School, for example, had a group of economically disadvantaged students who didn't achieve required scores this year in reading.
Monticello Trails Middle School, however, earned the state standard of excellence in reading even though the school did not make AYP in reading because a smaller group of students with disabilities didn't achieve high enough scores.
Morford said with growth at DHS, it could become more difficult to attain AYP or the standard of excellence.
"It's going to be harder because of the way AYP is set up," he said. "The more students there are, the more potential for subgroups."
A full building report card for the 40-plus subcategories in the district is available on the Kansas Department of Education's Web site.