Distinction in Performance districts announced

One hundred fifty-eight Missouri school districts have earned the state’s coveted Distinction in Performance Award for making consistent progress in improving academic achievement, state education officials recently announced.

The annual recognition is based on school districts’ performance on Missouri Assessment Program test scores, ACT scores, attendance and dropout rates, and other measures of academic performance during the 2003-2004 school year.

Among area school districts earning the Distinction in Performance honor were: Lindbergh, Fox, Clayton, Webster Groves, Kirkwood, Ladue, Pattonville, Rockwood, Fort Zumwalt and Washington.

“This award is unique and demanding, because it requires districts to demonstrate growth and progress across the board. Dis-tricts must show improvement or high performance at every level — elementary, middle and high school. It isn’t good enough to excel in a single area,” Missouri Commissioner of Education D. Kent King stated in a news release.

“More than a decade ago, we set out to revamp the state’s accreditation standards and to focus more directly on improving academic performance by all students. We are proud to say that school districts have responded to that challenge and are working harder than ever to meet statewide standards and expectations. As a result, this award has become a prestigious honor for local school districts,” King stated.

Districts receiving the award this year include 34 elementary (K-8) and 124 K-12 districts.

Last year, 177 districts qualified for the award.

To qualify for the recognition this year, K-8 districts had to meet 5 out of 6 performance standards — at least 45 of 54 possible points — including all of the standards that are based on MAP test scores. K-12 districts had to meet 11 of 12 standards — at least 91 of 100 points — including all of the MAP-based performance measures.

Under the state’s accreditation process, school districts are formally evaluated once every five years, according to State Board of Education standards. The Distinction in Performance award is based on the same performance criteria that are included in the accreditation review process, but the award represents a one-year “snapshot” of the district’s key academic performance indicators.

The award is intended to provide an incentive for districts to focus on continuously improving academic achievement in all of the areas covered by the accreditation standards.