When it comes to boosting writing skills and moving special-education students into regular classrooms, Quail Run Elementary School has earned high marks.
A Quality Performance Accreditation team signed off on Quail Run's QPA efforts Wednesday, wrapping up the first of four visits to pilot projects across the state.
"They accomplished what they set out to accomplish, and that's the idea," said Jane Fowler, a consultant to the outcomes-education team for the Kansas Board of Education.
Later this month, the team will recommend that Quail Run be accredited through QPA, the state-mandated evaluation process focusing on students' actual achievements instead of criteria such as budget tallies or the number of microscopes in a science lab.
Lawrence is among the first 50 school districts in Kansas to participate in the program. Quail Run, in turn, became one of the first four schools in the state to seek QPA status.
And the work has paid off, Principal Linda Herbel said. The school set two goals when the program started: improve students' writing skills and improve services for special-education programs.
Both areas revealed progress Wednesday. Writing abilities have improved in all grade levels, among minorities and throughout the free- and reduced-lunch program, Herbel said. Inclusion of special-education students also has increased.
In 1991, for example, special-education students spent 85 percent of their time in regular classes. Three years later, they spend 97 percent of their time in such classes.
"We have some good reasons to celebrate," Herbel said.
The board of education still must approve the team's recommendation, which should happen within the next few months, Fowler said.