MURDOCK – Elmwood-Murdock students, staff and patrons have made quality education a priority at all grade levels for many years.
That commitment paid off this week in the form of an elite honor from the Nebraska Department of Education.
Elmwood-Murdock was one of eight school districts in the state to earn an “excellent” rating from the Nebraska Department of Education. The state assessed all districts using the new Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow (AQuESTT) formula. An “excellent” rating was the top possible AQuESTT score for the 2015-16 school year.
Elmwood-Murdock Superintendent Dan Novak said the district was extremely proud of its performance in the state accountability system. More than 240 districts from all corners of the state took part in AQuESTT this past year. Elmwood-Murdock joined Auburn, Bennington, Bloomfield, Elkhorn, Hitchcock County, Pender and Potter-Dix as the lone school systems to receive an “excellent” rating.
“The district has developed and followed a well-articulated school improvement plan which has focused on growth and improvement in student learning,” Novak said. “As a district, we believe the foundation to our success is the hard work and commitment to excellence demonstrated by our students and staff on a daily basis.”
The Nebraska Department of Education began using the AQuESTT formula last year to assess schools on a variety of topics. It uses data such as state test scores, graduation rates, student participation rates and year-to-year improvement and growth to place schools in one of four classifications.
Schools could earn final AQuESTT scores of one, two, three or four. A score of one signifies a ranking of “needs improvement.” A score of two correlates to a ranking of “good” and a three illustrates a ranking of “great.” Schools that receive a score of four are labeled “excellent” in AQuESTT.
“With more than 240 school districts in our state it is a tremendous honor to earn this classification, which places Elmwood-Murdock in the top three percent of all schools in our state,” Novak said.
Novak said AQuESTT ratings also recognize districts that support student success through positive school partnerships and relationships. He said Elmwood-Murdock has helped pupils prepare for their post-secondary lives with a variety of career and college programs. The district has also used multiple assessments to measure student learning and has supported a host of staff development and continuous improvement programs.
Novak said Elmwood-Murdock was pleased with its progress from the 2014-15 to 2015-16 school years. Elmwood-Murdock received a score of three in the first year of the AQuESTT program. The district’s scores rose in both the improvement and growth categories of AQuESTT this past year and remained stable in the graduation and participation categories.
The state reviewed data from both Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School and Elmwood-Murdock Junior/Senior High School to tally the district score. Novak said everyone associated with the district could feel proud of their efforts over the past year.
“This recognition is a result of hard work and high expectations amongst students and staff which has helped to create a culture of excellence in the Elmwood-Murdock school district,” Novak said.