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2016 School of Distinction title to 8 Yakima County schools

Eight of south central Washington’s schools are among 94 that have been honored statewide with the 2016 School of Distinction Award, which recognizes outstanding student improvement in reading and math during the past five years. 

Five of the local schools are repeat winners from a year ago, including the Yakima School District’s Discovery Lab elementary school, which is the only area school this year being recognized as a School of Distinction for the third time since the award was first presented in 2007.  Another three Yakima area schools are among the 36 in the state that have become first-time recipients of the School of Distinction title this year.

The eight regional schools named as a School of Distinction for 2016 are:

The Yakima School District’s Discovery Lab K-8 elementary school, among the seven in the state becoming a three-time recipient of the award this year.  Discovery Lab was among the schools that were recognized during the award’s debut year in 2007, and was also a recipient last year.

The Yakima School District’s Barge-Lincoln Elementary School (1st received the award last year).

The Yakima School District’s Robertson Elementary School (1st received the award last year).

Sunnyside High School (1st received the award last year).

Zillah Middle School (1st received the award last year).

East Valley Central Middle School (1st-time recipient this year).  (East Valley’s Moxee Elementary School earned School of Distinction honors during 2013, 2014, and 2015.)

East Valley Elementary School (1st-time recipient this year).

The West Valley School District’s Apple Valley Elementary School (1st-time recipient this year).

The Schools of Distinction Award goes to the top 5 percent of Washington schools that have attained the most outstanding levels of sustained improvement in English language arts, math, and graduation rates among their students over the past five years.  Levels of student achievement are calculated from state testing scores, including the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the High School Proficiency Exam, and high school end-of-course math results. 

To be eligible for the School of Distinction Award, a school must perform at or above the state median in grades 3-5 for elementary schools, and in grades 6-8 for middle schools.  Measurements for high schools this year were determined based on combined 4-year and 5-year adjusted cohort graduation rates. 

The recipients throughout the state of Washington for this year recognize the performances of 51 schools at the elementary level, 20 at the middle school level, 23 high schools, and 6 alternative schools.  (Six of the schools are classified in two categories, which is why the statewide overall total is 94 schools instead of 100 schools.)
 
Each school will be formally honored by their local Educational Service District with a plaque and banner during special assemblies that will be scheduled during the next several weeks. 
 
The Schools of Distinction awards have been presented since 2007 to recognize the highest improving schools in the state of Washington.  The program was originated by Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and is now presented by a group of six organizations: the Center for Educational Effectiveness, the Association of Educational Service Districts, the Association of Washington School Principals, the Washington Association of School Administrators, the Washington State School Directors’ Association, and Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
 



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