Four Kent schools among 98 of ‘Distinction’

Debbie Dempsey, principal of Kent Mountain View Academy, poses with her school’s School of Distinction Award. Mountain View Academy was one of four Kent schools to receive the award Oct. 22. - Charles Cortes/Reporter
Debbie Dempsey, principal of Kent Mountain View Academy, poses with her school’s School of Distinction Award. Mountain View Academy was one of four Kent schools to receive the award Oct. 22.
— image credit: Charles Cortes/Reporter

Four Kent schools were named Washington State “Schools of Distinction” Oct. 22 by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Principals from Glenridge Elementary, Martin Sortun Elementary, Meridian Elementary and the Kent Mountain View Academy were each presented with a crystal award and a large banner to be displayed at the schools.

“Students and teachers and schools continue to make incredible progress,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson said in a press release. “This award celebrates the real gains these schools have made, gains that aren’t recognized by the federal No Child Left Behind law or its ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ calculations.”

The four Kent schools were among 98 from around the state to receive the honor for dramatic improvements in student reading and mathematics over the past several years.

This is the second year in a row Martin Sortun was named a School of Distinction.

“This award recognizes the hard work by teachers, support staff and administrators to ensure that students achieve higher standards,” Superintendent Barbara Grohe said in a press release. “I am very proud of these educators and their excellent work with children. Working together, these staff members help our students be successfully prepared for their future.”

To be considered for the award a school had to exceed the state average in the fourth-, seventh- or 10th-grade reading and math, as measured by the spring 2008 Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

Schools that met the performance standard were then evaluated for WASL performance over the past six years. The top 5 percent of schools were given the award.

Statewide this year, 53 elementary schools, 21 middle schools, 20 high schools and seven alternative schools received the honor. There are more than 2,500 schools in the state.

According to OSPI, 72.3 percent of fourth-graders passed the WASL reading exam while 53.4 percent passed math.

At Glenridge, 83 percent of fourth-graders passed reading while 79.6 passed math. At Martin Sortun, the numbers were 80 percent and 68.6 percent while at Meridian 84.9 passed reading and 74 percent passed math.

Meridian Principal Stan Jaskot said the award was a “nice recognition of all the hard work” and the result of a “collaborative effort,” though he said his fourth-grade teachers “led the charge.”

“It is just intentional, focused work everyday,” he said. “We just never lose sight of that.”

Glenridge Principal Scott Abernathy said the award validates all of the effort put in by the staff and more than anything is a reflection on their students doing well.

“”All of our work does make a difference with our students,” he said, calling the award “quite and honor” and a “motivator.”

“Looking at the teachers’ faces as we received the award - it means so much to be recognized for their hard work,” he said.

At the Kent Mountain View Academy, students in the seventh grade outpaced the state average on the tests. At the academy, 75 percent of students passed reading while 67.9 percent passed math. Statewide, the passing rate for reading was 62.8 percent while the rate for math was 50.3 percent.

Mountain View Academy Principal Debbie Dempsey said the award means “everything” to her school.

“It underscores all the effort from the teachers, students and parents,” Dempsey said, adding that she was “so happy for the staff.”

“It validates all their work,” she said.

Brian Beckley can be reached at 253-437-6012 or

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