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Kitsap Lake earns School of Distinction status

Kitsap Lake Elementary School principal Lyle Burbidge shows off the School of Distinction award with the help of some kindergartners of distinction: Alyissa Hansel, Clyde Hughes, Alyssa Barto and Xavier Cantrell-Heap.  - Phtoto by James Mange
Kitsap Lake Elementary School principal Lyle Burbidge shows off the School of Distinction award with the help of some kindergartners of distinction: Alyissa Hansel, Clyde Hughes, Alyssa Barto and Xavier Cantrell-Heap.
— image credit: Phtoto by James Mange

“We’ll fly our banner proudly,” said Lyle Burbidge, principal of Kitsap Lake Elementary School. The banner in question declares Kitsap Lake a “School of Distinction,” an honor bestowed upon the students and staff by State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Terry Bergeson Oct. 10. Burbidge travelled to an awards ceremony in Des Moines to receive the award personally from Bergeson, with Kitsap Lake joining 85 other schools on the elite list.

Kitsap Lake’s dramatic improvements in test scores in reading and mathematics over the past six years earned the award.

“We created this award to honor and celebrate the amazing progress schools have made, and continue to make, in helping our students acquire the knowledge and skills that will serve them the rest of their lives,” Bergeson said. “The increased performance recognized by these awards is evidence of the educational transformation taking place in our schools.”

Kitsap Lake is one of 51 elementary schools among the award winners, putting the school in the top five percent in the state. The test scores used to determine the awards were WASL scores from fourth, seventh and tenth graders over the past six years, the only grades for which six years of data are available.

Kitsap Lake’s improvements were mighty indeed, with huge improvements in both categories in the percentage of students meeting the state guidelines. In reading the school went from 52.5 percent passing in the 2000-01 school year, to 87.3 percent last year. The math score climbed even more, going from 33.9 percent all the way to 72.7 percent. Although not considered in the award criteria, the school’s writing score jumped from 45.8 percent to 74.5 percent over the same period.

“To me, it’s a big thing,” Burbidge said. “It gives the recognition to the right people, the teachers and the staff. We have a great staff, and we’re trying every day to get those students engaged in their learning.”

In that effort, the school hosts before school programs to help students in target areas, as well as giving some of them a double dose of help where needed during the day. Parent programs also add greatly to the schools’ success.

“I’ve worked in a lot of schools,” Burbidge said, “and this one has the best parent participation of any.”

Family nights at Kitsap Lake are usually well attended, and a recent Game Night was standing room only. The school is banking on the exceptional parental involvement to help the student reach even higher, and a series of parent curriculum nights are planned. “We want to get our parents more knowledgeable about what we’re asking the kids to learn,” Burbidge said.

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