Pleasant Valley Elementary School is one of only two out of about 1,150 schools in Missouri to receive both of the two new marks of distinction being handed out by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education under a new school evaluation system.
Pleasant Valley school was named both a High Performing Reward School and a High Progress Reward School by the state. Carthage R-9 Superintendent Blaine Henningsen said the district received the letter confirming both honors on Thursday.
“Basically, they looked at the last three years of data and combined it, then they rank you compared to all the other schools,” Henningsen said. “These are Title one schools, mostly elementary schools they’re talking about. There are 1,150 in Missouri and Pleasant Valley is one of only two to receive both designations. It’s a tremendous honor and we’re really, really, proud.”
According to the letter from DESE, High Performance schools are “Title one schools with the highest proficiency rating in English language arts and mathematics, as measured by state assessments over three consecutive years.”
The letter defines High Progress schools are schools “demonstrating the most pronounced increase in proficiency rates in English language arts and mathematics on state assessments over the past three years.”
In both cases schools cannot have a proficiency gap of more than 20 percent between their lowest and highest performing subgroups.
Principal Scott Ragsdale said the Pleasant Valley staff was excited to hear the news about the designations.
“The teachers were jumping up and down and cheering,” Ragsdale said. “They were very excited. We’re working hard to maintain that trend. We got excited about it and then we got down to business.”
Ragsdale said he was happy to see the state recognize the hard work of his teachers.
“I’d say that one of the things we’re really doing pretty well, and we can still work on it, but it’s engaging our students through different instructional strategies,” Ragsdale said. “We’re using technology in the classrooms quite frequently, we’ve got our students working in collaborative groups quite a bit.”
Ragsdale said the teachers are teaching the entire class a subject, then they will work with the students in smaller groups to make sure the student gets the concept of what’s being taught.
Henningsen said the teachers at Pleasant Valley and at the other schools in the district are using the data from the different assessments to adjust their teaching.
“We’re using technology and we’re using data to inform instructional decision to provide kids with what they need,” Henningsen said. “If they already know it, we’re moving on and focusing attention on things we need to cover in the future. If we interpret the data and see that they’re not where they should be, then we stop and we teach that before we move on.”
Page 2 of 2 - Henningsen said all the schools are working together and sharing ideas for effective teaching methods.
“We’re pretty excited about partnering with our fellow elementary schools, Ragsdale said. “There’s a lot of collaboration among the principals, a lot of training among teachers. I think that, at Pleasant Valley, we’re lucky enough to be probably the first wave of some real good educational things that are happening in our district. I would say. We’ve made a lot of changes in the past few years and I think we’ve seen their impact.”