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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Schools honored with Challenge Award

  • Three Dodge City elementary schools are among 102 schools in 66 Kansas public school districts to receive the 2013 Challenge Award. Initiated by the Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force, the award recognizes Kansas schools that have demonstrated strong student achievement among disadvantaged students.The t...
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  • Three Dodge City elementary schools are among 102 schools in 66 Kansas public school districts to receive the 2013 Challenge Award. Initiated by the Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force, the award recognizes Kansas schools that have demonstrated strong student achievement among disadvantaged students. The three Dodge City schools to receive the award are Northwest Elementary School, Miller Elementary School and Wilroads Gardens Elementary School. Qualification for the award was based on socio-economically disadvantaged students' performance on state assessments in reading and/or mathematics. Northwest Elementary was recognized for fifth grade reading, while Miller was recognized for third grade math and Wilroads Gardens was recognized for third grade reading. “The Challenge Awards recognize schools that provide tangible proof of the long-held contention that all children can learn,” said Charles Volland, chairman of the Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force in a news release. “These schools are to be commended for overcoming the very real challenges that poverty poses to education.” Certificates of Merit will be issued to the winning Kansas school districts at a ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Junction City Middle School at 700 Wildcat Lane in Junction City. “Probably the best accomplishment a school can say is we are able to make a difference in students,” Northwest Elementary Principal Kathy Ramsour said. “It doesn't matter if they're high socioeconomic, low socioeconomic, we make a difference. When you can close an achievement gap, you're closing any boundaries. Everyone is equal in learning.” “We are incredibly proud of the children and the teachers,” Miller Elementary Principal Joyce Warshaw said. “Our goal is to make sure that all children are learning and can succeed academically.” Data has indicated that the largest achievement gap occurs in schools with a high number of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches. Dodge City public schools offer a free and reduced-price lunch program and most students take advantage of it. At Miller Elementary, more than 80 percent of the school's 396 students qualify for the program. All schools in the district take measures to ensure students are on equal footing. One such measure is the implementation of tiered interventions, where teachers focus on each student's individual needs in math and reading. At Northwest tiered interventions take place each day for thirty minutes. Each grade level also holds weekly meetings to discuss student needs. At Miller, extended learning is offered two to three times per week. The school also takes advantage of the YMCA's after school program, which includes tutoring. Each school has its own reasons for its success. The three elementary schools' recent accolades may be attributed to the fact that they all have some of the longest-standing principals. “These buildings have had multiple years of constant leadership,” Warshaw said. At Northwest, Ramsour attributes the school's accomplishments to its collaborative environment. “In my building it is such a team collaboration that we have,” she said. “It's because of that strong bonding our building has and our focus on learning that we have been successful.”
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