De Soto schools earn Standards of Excellence

Each school in the De Soto school district earned Standard of Excellence marks in at least one category in 2011, the Kansas education department revealed this week.

Each year, grades 3-8 and high school students are given state assessments and assigned one of five performance levels for their work: exemplary, exceeds standard, meets standard, approaches standard and academic warning.

Belmont Elementary School and De Soto High School are the only two schools to not receive a Standard of Excellence in math. Both, however, received a Standard of Excellence in reading.

Kimberly Barney, the De Soto school district’s director of elementary curriculum, instruction and assessment, said Belmont’s being a new school may have made it more challenging to earn a Standard of Excellence out of the gate.

“Not that it excuses it,” she said, “but it makes it more difficult than being a building that is well established.”

Barney said Belmont, which opened in 2010, has had to bring together a new community of students, teachers and leadership in its first year.

Educators have had since the spring to review the data. In August, Annual Yearly Progress results were released, with the De Soto school district meeting AYP.

To receive a Standard of Excellence, grades 3-6 must have at least 25 percent of its students score exemplary and no more than 5 percent receiving an academic warning. In grades 7-8, 25 must score exemplary and have no more than 10 percent of students receiving an academic warning and at the high school level, 15 percent of students must score exemplary with no more than 10 percent receiving an academic warning. For a grade or building to receive a standard of excellence, its school must also make AYP in the all students group.

By Stephen Montemayor

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