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O'Loughlin rewarded for performance





It came as a surprise to principal Nancy Harman when O'Loughlin Elementary School was named a Title I Reward School.

"We were very surprised, but pleased with the recognition," she said.

Reward schools are those who are in the top 10 percent of Title I schools. Title I is a federally funded program to help ensure all students have the opportunity for a high-quality education.

The reward school program is part of the Kansas State Department of Education's ESEA Flexibility agreement with the federal department of education. Selection is based on one of two criteria, high performance or high academic progress.

Harman received a certificate in late August from the state recognizing O'Loughlin as a high-performance school.

It was selected based on the past four years of combined state reading and math assessment results.

"It's a reflection of our district as a whole, and then our building's staff that is committed to teaching the curriculum," Harman said.

She credits the district's forward thinking, as well as parental support and the students' dedication.

"There's a lot of arguments about the good and bad of state assessments over the years," Harman said. "One thing it has done is make us focus on student learning, and student needs, and student progress and evaluating where each student is. I think all of those are reflections of our better understanding."

Harman said the school consistently has had high scores on the assessments and likely will achieve the standard of excellence for a 15th consecutive year.

"When you do it over and over, you know your teachers are doing an amazing job and students are stepping up," Harman said.

Phillipsburg Elementary School also was designated a high-performance reward school.