Story and photo by Nancy Covert
Pioneer Middle School has been designated as a “School of Distinction”. The 2008 honor, which includes the 2008 State Superintendent’s Learning Improvement Award, was awarded on Oct.21 to 98 Washington State Schools. The honors were presented at a ceremony held at Garfield High School in Seattle.
“Students and teachers and schools continue to make incredible progress,” said Dr. Terry Bergeson, Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction. The honors were presented before an audience of more than 400 principals, superintendents, teachers and parents.
“This award,” continued Bergeson, “celebrates the real gains these schools have made; gains that aren’t recognized by the federal “No Child Left Behind” law or its “Adequate Yearly Progress” calculations.
“This honor,” said Pioneer Middle School Principal Kristi Webster, “not only acknowledges Pioneer Middle School, “but recognizes the steady growth over the past six years because of the efforts of all SHSD schools that send kids to Pioneer.” Pioneer is ranked in the Top Five Percent of schools around the state.
The schools honored share common strategies for increasing student success:
‚Ä¢ Teachers are continuously studying and establishing best practices.
‚Ä¢ The staff is committed to building strong ‘school families’ that include all students.
‚Ä¢ The staff is committed to the success of every single student.
‚Ä¢ The community is an active partner with the school.
To be considered for the award, each school had to exceed the state average performance in the 4th, 7th or 10th grade reading and math, as measured by the spring 2008 Washington Assessment of Student Learning. Those that met the average performance requirements were then evaluated for WASL performance during the last six years. Results in grades 4, 7 and 10 were evaluated because those are the only grade levels with six years of trend data.
The top five percent of elementary, middle and high schools, well as alternative schools, were given awards. This year’s honorees included 53 elementary schools, 21 middle schools, 20 high schools and 7 alternative schools‚Äîout of nearly 2,500 schools in the state. Three schools were awarded for achievement at more than one grade level.
A total of 89 schools won last year, the first year in which the award was given. Twenty-one of last year’s winners also won awards this year.
School leaders from each of the winning schools were presented with a plaque and a large banner, reading “School of Distinction ‚Äì 2008 State Superintendent’s Learning Improvement Award.” The honor was presented at a school assembly on Oct. 24. The banner will be displayed in the school’s front entrance.
“Whatever the path, it’s readily apparent that schools are succeeding,” added Dr. Bergeson. “You can see it in the hard work and dedication of students, teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and community members. Their success gives us hope that someday all students can succeed.
“It won’t be easy ‚Äì there will be bumps along the way. But the payoff ‚Äì and educated and well-informed citizenry ‚Äì is the most precious resource in any democracy.”
Please visit www.steilacoom.k12.wa.us and click the Pioneer Middle School newsletter link for information about Pioneer’s SWIFT (Simplified Web Interface for Teachers) website. This enables access to teachers’ web pages for information about announcements, documents, resource links, events and more.
The SWIFT program is in addition to the Skyward program enabling parents to access student records, grades, etc. This is a password protected site and you must have a user name and password to access the site. Please contact SHSD Registrar Ruthann Russell at 983-2216 or contact 583-7200 for more information.