Dodge City USD443 Recognizes Several Schools for Continued excellence

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Dodge City, Ks. (westernkansasnews.com

By: Dylan Hunter

The USD 443 Board of Education recognized several schools for continued excellence and student achievement and heard final enrollment numbers at Monday night’s board meeting.

Under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as  No Child Left Behind, eight of the district’s schools received 20 Standard of Excellence Certificated from the Kansas State Department of Education for exemplary achievement on the 2011 Kansas Assessment Program.

“These awards reflect the hard work of the students of USD 443, the support of the public school by parents and the community, and the skill and dedication of the school district’s professional staff,” Superintendent of Schools Alan Cunningham said.

Representatives from Central Elementary, Miller Elementary, Northwest Elementary, Ross Elementary, Dodge City High School, Beeson Elementary, Linn Elementary, Soule Intermediate (now Elementary, Sunnyside Elementary, Comanche Intermediate (now Middle), and Wilroads Gardens Elementary, accepted the certificates from board president Lisa Killion.

Kansas was one of six states to be approved waivers this summer that allow flexibility in meeting some of the provisions of No Child Left Behind.  Critics have criticized the program for years saying it sets unrealistic goals and ties a school’s reputation to one test score.

“The hard work exhibited by all of our teachers and students, who ultimately deserve these recognitions, position USD #443 at an even better point for transitioning into the new Common Core Standards and future changes in assessment practices for our teachers and students,“ Mischel Miller, assistant superintendent of secondary education, said.

 The state’s new system of measuring student progress doesn’t discount standardized tests but now that test is just one measure instead of the only measure.  The new system places more concentration on science and social studies and integrated learning.

That new system will be tested on 154 more students than last year as the district once again reports growth after the Sept. 20, student count day.  District headcount for the 2012-2013 year came in at 6681 students.  While increased enrollment is a positive sign for Dodge City Public Schools and a good indicator for the strength of the community, it does come with some specific challenges, including facilities needs to accommodate a growing student population.

“Dodge City Public Schools welcomes another increase in student enrollment for 2012-13.  Faculty and staff are committed to providing a quality education for all students even though  larger class sizes present additional challenges,” Judy Beedles-Miller, assistant superintendent of elementary education said.  “Research varies, but many studies agree that smaller class sizes can have meaningful long-term effects on student achievement and perhaps on non-cognitive outcomes.  The continued student growth the past few years and the long-range projections show the need for strategic planning to discuss the future of district facilities.”


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