John Muir Elementary Named “School of Distinction”

Award for five-year improvement in reading and math scores

On Friday, October 22, the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) and Phi Delta Kappa Washington State Chapter announced the 94 schools statewide named as recipients of the 2010 School of Distinction Award, including John Muir Elementary School in Kirkland, Wash. These schools are honored for outstanding improvement in student achievement.

To be considered, schools had to be performing at least at the state average in fourth, seventh and/or tenth grade reading and math assessments, as measured on the Spring 2010 Measures of Student Progress (4th and 7th grade) and High School Proficiency Exam (10th grade). (John Muir Elementary was judged on its fourth grade MSP scores.) Schools then were evaluated on combined reading and math improvement from 2005 to 2010 based on state assessments. The top 5 % of schools are then recognized with the School of Distinction Award.

“I’m very proud of the staff and students at John Muir Elementary,” noted Dr. Chip Kimball, superintendent.  “They have worked hard to get to know their students and community, to understand where each one is in his or her learning in every subject. Given the diverse community they serve, that means helping with students with a broad range of school readiness and achievement levels to do their best and succeed.”

One example of the Muir staff’s efforts is the kindergarten “jump start” program that Muir instituted to help new English Language Learner (ELL) kindergarten students learn about school routines for two weeks before school starts. Students come to school to meet teachers, get acclimated and learn basic skills like getting into lines. With close to one quarter of the school’s population in the ELL program, this early outreach helps make sure these brand new students come to school on the first day comfortable with their surroundings and ready to learn.

The Schools of Distinction Awards will be presented at six regional awards ceremonies in late November and early December.