Tonasket Elementary named 'School of Distinction'

TONASKET - Tonasket Elementary Schools is one of 90 schools across Washington State to be honored with the 2015 School...

Tonasket Elementary School Staff celebrate being one of 90 schools in Washington State to be given the 2015 School of Distinction Award. Katie Teachout/staff photos
Tonasket Elementary School Staff celebrate being one of 90 schools in Washington State to be given the 2015 School of Distinction Award. Katie Teachout/staff photos

“Our students are making great growth each year and and are a true  joy to work with,” Tonasket Elementary Principal

One of just 90 schools honor across Washington State

TONASKET – Tonasket Elementary Schools is one of 90 schools across Washington State to be honored with the 2015 School of Distinction (SOD) award.

The award is given to schools who demonstrate sustained improvement over a five year period in reading/English language arts and math.

“The 2015 School of Distinction award is a reflection of the incredible amount of time and effort our staff puts into making a difference for every child,” said Tonasket Elementary School Principal Jeremy Clark. “Our students are making great growth each year and are a true joy to work with.Thank you also to our parents and community for your support of our students and our work. Sustained improvement requires the efforts of us all. What an amazing community Tonasket is to work, grow and learn in! Congratulations Tonasket School District!”

Tonasket Elementary School staff members sign the 2015 School of Distinction award banner on Friday, Dec. 11.
Tonasket Elementary School staff members sign the 2015 School of Distinction award banner on Friday, Dec. 11.

“This is a great honor for our Tonasket Elementary School, and the entire school district,” said Superintendent Steve McCullough. “I commend the efforts of our elementary school staff, the entire adminstrative team and our school board to help earn this award. This is a long-term look at our improvements, which is a lot harder to accomplish than just a snapshot of a year or two.”

The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE), partnered with the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), the Association of Washington School Principals, Washington Association of School Administrators and the Washington Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development recognize schools in the top five percent of improvement for their levels. Elementary and middle schools are recognized for improvement in reading/ELA and math achievement, and high schools are recognized for sustained improvement in graduation rate over the last five years.

This year, 51 elementary, 20 middle/junior high and 21 high schools including five alternative schools were given the SOD award.

The 90 schools come from all regions of the state and include schools from large urban as well as small rural communities.

“These schools demonstrate that significant improvement is occurring across all our diverse public schools,” said Greg Lobdell, CEE CEO.

Bridgeport High School won the award in 2013 and 2014 as well as this year, the ninth consecutive year the award has been given.

TES is one of fifty-five schools this year to receive the award for the first time.

“In a year of unprecedented change across our state with the new Common Core Standards and the new Smarter Balanced Assessments, it is cause for celebration to see so many schools rising to these challenges and causing great improvement for our students,” said Dr. Rich McBride, Superintendent of the North Central ESD in Wenatchee and president of the AESD. “This award process highlights our need to continue to support improvement efforts of our schools and the dedicated and talented leaders and staffs that make this kind of increased student achievement happen. Our congratulations to the staff, students, leaders and communities across our state for their exceptional efforts in service to our students.”

CEE is a service, consulting and research organization dedicated to the mission of partnering with K-12 schools to improve student learning.

According to a Methodology Brief by the CEE, the switch to Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) in the spring of 2015 presented challenges in celebrating sustained improvement, with the entire state declining at all grade levels due to the use of a different measurement tool. CEE dealt with this challenge by translating percent meeting standard to percentile ranks for each year and each content area. The percentiles are calculated for each year by combining ELA and math percentiles, and the five-year trend of improvement for each year used to measure improvement over the five-year period.

CEE determined that SBA could not be used at the high school level due to irregularities in the testing, with nearly 50 percent refusals state wide for HS testing. CEE consulted with ESD leadership, district leadership and building principals around the state and decided to use sustained improvement in graduation rates for awarding high schools.

 

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