Rim Country Middle School teachers and students are celebrating their second successive Arizona Department of Education "highly performing" achievement profile.
"Everyone's hard work paid off," eighth-grade math teacher Nicole Dudley said.
RCMS was the only school in the Payson Unified School District to earn the label. Pine/Strawberry Elementary School also earned the award. (The school will be featured in the Roundup's Nov. 2 issue.)
The ARIZONA LEARNS achievement profile system by which schools are evaluated, was developed after Arizona voters approved Proposition 301 in November of 2001.
The system's purpose is to tell administrators, parents and the public how a school has performed against recent statewide trends, precisely where a school needs help, and by how much it should progress in order to meet or exceed new growth benchmarks.
Arizona's system also measures school performance by student achievement on the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test.
The evaluation of state schools, like RCMS, is based on average percentage of students in the "exceeds the standard" category on AIMS over a three-year average as well as total points earned on adequate yearly progress reports mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
RCMS principal Frank Larby is among those who will admit the achievement profile system is a complex one, but says he and the teachers are proud of the highly performing title.
"It's good to be recognized for what we do," Larby said.
In the evaluation system, all schools -- public and charter -- are ranked on a grade scale.
The possible grades are:
- Failing to meet academic standards
- Under performing
- Highly performing
All schools in PUSD, other than RCMS, received a "performing" or satisfactory classification.
Any school designated as "under performing" must notify residents they are under performing within 30 days. Schools then have 90 days to develop an improvement plan and must implement it with the help of residents in the schools' attendance area and the Arizona Department of Education. Solutions teams are then sent in to help the school improve student performance.