School district earns distinguishing rating, week of recognition by HEA

The Haakon Education Association took American Education Week, the school week of November 15 through November 18, to recognize the Haakon 27-1 School District as a Distinguished School District.

"This designation was hard-earned by the students and staff in this district," said Marie Slovek, technology coordinator and K-6 computer instructor at Philip schools, "and, it is something we would like to take time to celebrate."

Distinguished districts are identified using the following criteria:

1. Met Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years in reading, math, and the other academic indicator for all three grade spans. AYP is the tool used to measure progress towards annual performance goals.

2. At least 85 percent of the students in the "all student" group have met the state's proficient and advanced levels of student performance in both reading and math.

Only four South Dakota school districts qualified as a Distinguishing Districts for 2010 - Haakon 27-1, Deubrook Area 05-6, Groton Area 06-6 and Parker 60-4.

To help acknowledge the work that was put in by the Haakon School District students and staff, HEA planned daily activities:

Monday - HEA delivered donuts to the students and to support staff. "We think it's mighty SWEET how hard you've been working," is the HEA message.

Tuesday - HEA passed out Distinguished Scottie Student pencils. "WRITE ON! Keep working hard to accomplish your goals."

Wednesday - HEA delivered ice cream cups to the students and to support staff. "Yeah, we're COOL, way COOL."

Thursday - HEA will be sponsoring a movie, with popcorn and drink to each group of students. "Even distinguished students need a break sometimes. Kick back and relax!"

The HEA tried to keep these activities a surprise for the students, but displayed some clues up in the halls to keep the students guessing.

The HEA posted, "We know that our staff is outstanding, and to have earned a Distinguished District award is a really big deal! Thanks for all you do, for all the time you put in, and for all the sacrifices you make for our students. It is appreciated and recognized!"

Nationally, each day during American Education Week spotlighted a different aspect of school life. Monday saw national commemorations to local community events, with millions of Americans celebrating public education. Tuesday was parents' day, where schools invited parents into the classroom for a hands-on experience of what the day is like for their child. Wednesday was support education professionals day, where people who provide services to schools were recognized for their outstanding work. Thursday was educator for a day, where, in some schools, community leaders were invited to serve as educators to get a glimpse at a day in the life of a school employee. Also on Thursday, or on Friday for schools that have a five-day school, was substitute educators day honoring the educators who are called upon to replace regularly employed teachers.