The Killdeer Public School was recommended for state-mandated accreditation by a team of educators working for AdvancEd, an organization hired by the Department of Public Instruction.
BY BRYAN GALLEGOS
DUNN COUNTY HERALD
The evaluators, educators and administrators from throughout North Dakota, visited the Killdeer school on March 1-3. The team gave a glowing report of the three-day visit, giving the school high marks in six of the seven categories in the review.
“It was a very positive experience for us,” said Amy Axtman, the school improvement team leader. “We are very pleased.”
The review committee is scheduled to take its findings to AdvancEd, where it will recommend accreditation. School officials will receive the formal accreditation document in about four weeks, Axtman said.
Schools are accredited every five years and the AdvancEd team visits each during that span to evaluate the progress.
AdvancEd is the largest community of education professionals in the world and conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of Pre-K schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential, according to its web site.
Its process aligns accreditation with accountability, emphasizing learner outcomes when evaluating institutional quality. AdvancEd Performance Accreditation requires that schools meet the AdvancEd Standards and accreditation policies, demonstrate quality assurance through internal and external review and engage in continuous improvement.
During its visit, the committee interviewed 44 individuals – students, staff, administration, school board members, parents, business leaders and other members of the community. It also visited and observed 22 classrooms.
The school was above average in the state in equitable learning environment; high expectations; active learning environment; supportive learning environment; well-managed classroom; and use of technology. The strongest area, the committee commented, was well-managed classroom, Axtman said.
However, the committee found that the school was a little below average when it came to using data for monitoring student achievement and growth. It suggested that the school have teachers focus on using data from tests throughout the school year to guide instruction.
The team was also impressed with nine areas it called “Powerful Practices” at the school. Those practices included: positive school climate; strong support among students, parents, staff and community; well-managed classrooms; school is safe and clean environment; and several individual programs designed to foster a positive influence among students and teachers. Those programs included: “Step Up to Writing,” “Cowboy Roundup,” “Big Minions, Little Minions” and “Peer Tutoring.”
“Step up to Writing” is a program the school implemented this year for the entire student body as a way to improve writing.
“Cowboy Roundup,” teams students with teachers in a mentoring situation where they can build positive relationships. Each teacher is assigned about 10 students and they check in with each other every day, Axtman said.
“Big Minions, Little Minions” teams high school students with elementary school students.
“Peer Tutoring” is an after-school program that where upperclassmen volunteer students who need help.