Public Education Improving Throughout Deer Park

Arcadia Elementary was recently awarded the School of Distinction Award by the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE). Arcadia has demonstrated five years of steady growth in its English Language Arts, and Math programs, and has improved more quickly than 95% of other Washington elementary schools over that five-year period. Principal Burke emphasized that “this isn’t just about one group of kids who did amazing things… this is about years of growth for ALL KIDS” and that this story demonstrates the excellent teachers who are “at the heart of this work”.

The CEE stated that “the awards are not intended to replace state and federal accountability measures of school performance, rather the award serves as a supplemental measure to recognize and celebrate school staff, students, and leaders who improve performance for all students over a sustained period of time in English Language Arts (ELA), and mathematics.”

The Deer Park School District announced the award on its website and “are thrilled that Arcadia has received recognition for the ways they’re changing the lives of kids!” Superintendent Hanson also shared the news with community business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce’s recent luncheon, and was met with a round of applause. Local realtor Jeff Hickethier then told the gathered business leaders how important school scores were in today’s realty market, and that improving public education was helpful for future growth and prosperity.

Hanson also noted the improved graduation rate at the Deer Park High School, which just reached a high of 90%. That number has steadily improved since 2013’s ten-year low of only 78%. When asked, Hanson credited the staff of the entire district in improving their abilities to work together and to “more effectively meeting the needs of kids who may have ‘slipped through the cracks’ in the past”.

The Deer Park Middle School has also demonstrated a steady improvement in the categories of Math and English Language Arts. “When compared with middle schools [with similar demographics], Deer Park Middle School’s test scores are in the top 1% statewide,” proclaimed Hanson.

By Caleb Stapp

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