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.