YAKIMA - The Grandview School District is one of eight in ESD 105 garnering attention this week for achievement recognized by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
The fourth annual Washington Achievement Awards were announced on Tuesday, April 2. There are 381 schools in the state receiving the awards. Sixteen of those schools are in eight school districts in ESD 105, which covers an area from Easton to Prosser and serves 25 public school districts.
An OSPI news release describes the awards as "the state's highest honor" for its public schools.
The Washington Achievement Awards are sponsored by OSPI and the Washington State Board of Education. Award winners are selected on calculations based on student test scores, graduation rates and closing of achievement gaps.
Grandview High School earned an achievement award for making high progress. A high-progress school is a Title I school in the top 10 percent of Title I schools in reading and math, combined, for three years.
High schools earning the high progress award, like Grandview's, must also be among the Title I schools with the most progress in increasing graduation rates.
Title I is a federally funded program aimed at improving academic achievement for students from low-income or disadvantaged areas.
"The students and staff at Grandview High have been working hard and getting better at what they do," says Kevin Chase, superintendent for the Grandview School District. "They are working harder at getting better every time. The teachers are working harder and the students are buying in."
Chase notes students and staff at the high school aren't just working harder, but smarter as well.
"They are developing units of study based on state standards and using the best teaching practices," he says. "In the past you'd buy textbooks and teach through that, but those aren't always based on what the kids need to pass state tests in Washington. They're designed for California and Texas."
As a result, teachers at Grandview High School are creating their own units and curriculum for math and language arts. Chase says that includes customizing pre-ordered curriculum, as well as writing their own.
To that end, the Grandview School District is creating opportunities for teachers to develop curriculum better aligned with state standards.
Chase notes that Grandview has early release every Friday to allow teachers the time to work on curriculum. The district also hires outside consultants and instructional coaches to help write the localized curriculum.
The results reflect better grades, improved test scores and students eager to learn. "Instead of just lecturing this is getting kids engaged, talking about it and working on related tasks that interest them," Chase says.
Grandview High School and other schools from around the state receiving achievement awards will be honored during a ceremony to be held Tuesday, April 30, at Kentwood High School in Covington.