Columbia schools again selected for award

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | 6:58 p.m. CST; updated 9:03 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

All of the school attendance, the homework and the studying has paid off for Columbia Public Schools. The district was among 294 in the state to win Distinction in Performance Awards on Wednesday.

The annual recognition is determined by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, according to a news release from the agency.

The Distinction in Performance Award is based on 14 academic performance standards, including scores on the state-mandated Missouri Assessment Program tests, attendance rates and ACT scores. Districts with K-12 schools had to meet 13 of the 14 standards, including all of the MAP-based measures.

Last year, 235 of the state’s 524 districts received this award. Jim Morris, spokesman for the state education department, said he thinks two things played a role in the jump from 235 to 294 districts being recognized: the award is highly coveted; and schools are adjusting their focus to the standards they must meet.

“This award has become a significant point of pride for school districts,” said Morris. “It’s something that they are proud to claim and want to be able to claim it multiple years.”

Gov. Matt Blunt commended teachers and students.

“By maintaining a strong focus on achievement and accountability in all schools,” Blunt said in the release, “we can help all students have a brighter future.”

Missouri schools are evaluated at least once every five years under the state’s accreditation process, while the Distinction in Performance award provides annual recognition of districts with consistent performances.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Columbia Public Schools has received the award.

“This award is a testament to the hard work our students, teachers, administrators and staff have put forth. The entire community should be proud of their work,” Superintendent Phyllis Chase said in a news release.

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