About the District
- South Central Kansas - 1 hour South of Wichita, Kansas
- Rural with City Population of 15,000
- 8 Attendance Sites 6 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 2 high schools
- Grades PreK through 12
- Enrollment of approximately 3,000
- 48.99% Free & 11.15% Reduced Meals (K-12)
- 34% Minority, including 13% Hispanic, 11% Native American, and 10% African American
- 40% Mobility
- All Schools met AYP (date of information - Fall 2006)
Vision: Every student learning to higher and higher standards and graduating from high school ready for whatever the next step is for each student.
Are you finding your district faced with a need to set dramatic Literacy goals? That is just where Arkansas City Public Schools - USD 470 found themselves in 2000. In response, they began a job-embedded professional development program to attack their demanding goals. The Literacy First process became a key component of their efforts in 2003.
As portrayed in Figure 1 below, the reading achievement data for the following years shows not only upward movement from Unsatisfactory, but strong continued progress beyond Proficient and into Advanced and Exemplary performance. This dramatic growth in overall student reading performance has resulted in hard-earned and well-deserved public recognition for the Students, Teaching Staff and Administration in Arkansas School District.
Their recognitions, achievements and honors have been numerous for their 6 elementary schools, middle school and high school, including: a 2004 National Title I School, 2005 and 2006 Blue Ribbon Schools, four Kansas Public Education Challenge Awards and 23 KANSAS Standards of Excellence awards from 2002 through 2005. Most recently they received 2 notable recognitions in the Kansas Standard & Poors Report: the first, as ranking 11th in Kansas for significantly narrowing the achievement between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students, and the second, as one of sixteen highly resource-efficient districts in the state, creating a model on how to spend every education dollar effectively.
And yet, some rarer snapshots of achievement emphasize the importance of uncompromising success. The Arkansas City Public Schools Board Members, district administrators, educator and parents in attendance at a recent meeting, had the pleasure of witnessing just such a moment a success that is hard to portray with compiled data.
When given the opportunity for public forum, a young Hispanic boy took this rare opportunity to share his own progress. Imagine one of your fourth graders, as he faces the board and audience saying, I have only been here (in the U.S.) for three years, and I am already reading above grade level. When questioned as to how he knew, this young student replied, Because my lexile scores tell me so. This childs understanding of his personal target and day-to-day progress may seem surprising, but it is actually common across the district. This achievement stems from a bottoms up foundation at Arkansas SD. Every child is an individual with personal goals that are discussed regularly between student and teacher. Each student is an independent success that rolls up to school-, district- and state-recognized achievement in literacy.
This same bottom up approach, balanced by a top down support system, has been key to the success that has been and continues to be achieved. It is also where The Literacy First process became a significant part of this districts progress. The fundamentals and instructional strategies Literacy First reinforced with the teachers and the teamwork Literacy First fostered among the teaching staff and district- and site-level administrators were a strong fit with USD 470s structure.
Arkansas City Public Schools credits its ongoing successes to the strong leadership of their School Board, the involvement of their community and the strength of their District Strategic Plan that continues to both guide and evolve. Literacy First is proud to be a part of the success that Arkansas City Public Schools continues to achieve everyday.
For more detailed information on their program, contact Dr. Jan Voss 620-441-2003.