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District 206 receives national honor

Students from Washington Elementary School in Alexandria recently visited with representatives from Northwest Evaluation Association, who presented Alexandria School District 206 with the Growth Achievement Award. The representatives included Dave Sever (back, left), professional development manager and Dan Henderson (back, right), partner relations representative. Also pictured is Julie Critz (back, middle), director of teaching and learning for District 206. Contributed photo.

Out of hundreds of school districts across the nation, Alexandria was recently recognized for its students' achievements.

Alexandria School District 206 was presented with the Growth Achievement Award from Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) - one of 11 awards handed out nationwide.

"We are just thrilled," said Julie Critz, District 206 director of teaching and learning. "This award proves what kind of teachers we have and they are an amazing group."

But Critz said it's not just the teachers, it's also the students, parents and community members who support the school district.

"There's really no one piece; it's all the cogs in the wheel," she said. "And it's all students district-wide. There was no one school that carried this."

NWEA is a non-profit organization that partners with educators to offer student assessment - it partners with District 206 for the District Achievement Level Test (DALT) - along with scientifically based research and professional development.

The DALT measures student achievement in areas of math and reading. Most students are tested in the fall and then again in the spring.

The award given to the district was based on the percentage of students who met their goals - or those who met their individual growth target - based on their DALT scores, said Critz.

Two representatives from NWEA - Dave Sever, professional development manager, and Dan Henderson, partner relations representative - visited the Alexandria School District recently. They talked with students, teachers, parents and administrators.

Critz said when the reps met with the students, they asked them several questions about the DALT, including how they feel when taking the test and if the students think the test matters in their school career.

When talking with teachers, Sever and Henderson asked about goal setting and what teachers are doing for their students as far as meeting those targets.

"They were impressed with our building leadership teams, goals and time spent on professional growth development," said Critz. "District 206 is a goal-driven district and our goals are based on current data."

She explained that there are district-wide goals, as well as building goals, administration goals, teacher goals and of course, student goals.

This was the first year NWEA presented the Growth Achievement Award. Eleven schools received the award nationwide with one other school in Minnesota receiving it.

NWEA has 3,400 partner districts through the nation, providing products and services to measure and promote academic student growth and school improvement.