Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

State board certifies accreditation for schools

December 1, 2005

Parents whose children attended Lansing schools last year can rest assured that their students received an education that's up to snuff with Kansas standards.

All four Lansing public schools received accreditation in October for the 2004-05 school year.

Assistant schools superintendent Donna Hughes said accreditation comes from the Kansas State Department of Education and is based on quality and performance factors. The factors include but go beyond the standards of No Child Left Behind, Hughes said.

According to a press release, Kansas State Board of Education chairman Steve Abrams said the accredited status "means that the school has the programs and staff in place to advance student learning, and that the school is experiencing performance results that reflect those efforts."

Accreditation is evaluated annually, Hughes said. She said all the school principals knew at the end of the last school year that they would be accredited because they knew the schools' assessment scores and could figure the attendance rates. The State Board of Education officially granted accreditation status to schools at its Oct. 11 meeting.

"It's an acknowledgement that we met the requirements," Hughes said.

A school will be labeled not accredited after five consecutive years of not meeting state standards. After the first two years, the school becomes accredited on improvement, and it drops to accredited conditionally if it fails to meet the standards three years in a row.

A school that has lost accreditation must meet the standards for two years before earning the title back, Hughes said.

Criteria for state accrediation of schools covers a range of areas.

All four Lansing public schools earned accredited status with the Kansas State Department of Education for 2004-05.

To meet the quality criteria for full accreditation, schools must have:

¢ A school improvement plan that includes a results-based staff development plan

¢ An external technical assistance team

¢ Local assessments that are aligned with state curriculum standards

¢ Formal training for teachers on state assessments and curriculum standards

¢ 100 percent of core teachers fully certified and 95 percent of all other teachers fully certified

¢ Policies in place that meet the requirements of KAR 91-31-34, which includes requirements for staff, enrollment of students, transfer of credits, retention of records and interscholastic athletics requirements

¢ Programs and services to support learning and growth at both the elementary and secondary levels

¢ Local policies that ensure compliance with other regulations and state laws

High schools must meet additional stipulations. They must have:

¢ Local graduation requirements equal to or more than state graduation requirements,

¢ Curricula that allow students to meet the Regents Qualified Admission and State Scholarship program, and

¢ Secondary programs and services to support student learning in grades nine through 12 including business, family and consumer sciences, foreign language and industrial and technical education.

The performance requirements schools must meet include:

¢ Student performance on the state assessments as prescribed by the State Board of Education

¢ Participation rate of 95 percent on all assessments

¢ Attendance rate equal to or greater than that prescribed by the State Board for elementary schools; for high schools, a graduation rate equal to or greater than that prescribed by the State Board.

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