OREGON COUNTY -- More than 300 schools across Missouri, including two in Oregon County, Thayer and Couch, have qualified for the states "Distinction in Performance" award.
According to Thayer Superintendent Rod Priest, the award is presented to schools on the basis of their academic achievements and progress during the last school year.
Janet Duncan assistant director of accountability, data and accreditation with the Missouri Department of Education said, in all 300 school districts, compared to 295 last year, earned this award, which is presented annually by the state education department. Of this year's recipients, 278 are K-12 districts, including Thayer and Couch and 52 are K-8 school districts. Duncan said there are 523 public school districts in the state.
"We are gratified by the steady increase in the number of districts meeting the high standards for this award," said Stan Johnson, assistant commissioner with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
"Teachers and school officials throughout the state are definitely focused on meeting these standards and we are seeing the results of that effort. To earn this award, a district must be doing well, or making consistent progress, in all areas of academic performance. Parents and patrons should be proud if their school district has earned this honor," Johnson said.
The Distinction in Performance award is based on the 14 academic performance standards that are the basis of the state's accreditation program for all school districts. The standards are based on scores from the state-mandated MAP tests, graduation rate, attendance, ACT scores and other indicators.
To qualify for the award this year, K-8 districts had to meet six of the seven performance standards that apply to these districts, including all of those based on the results of MAP tests. K-12 districts like Thayer and Couch, had to meet 13 out of 14 standards, including all of the MAP-based measures.
Under the state's accreditation program, each school district is evaluated at least once every five years. Since it is based on the same standards as the accreditation program, the Distinction in Performance award provides an annual confirmation of a district's status and state-level recognition of its overall performance.