Salina USD 305 public schools have earned accreditation with the Kansas Education Systems Model.
According to USD 305, at Tuesday’s school board meeting, board members heard that their district earned accreditation with the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation model through 2027. To achieve accreditation, the district provided evidence of student performance growth, an intentional, quality growth process and compliance with the State Board of Education.
The State Board of Education determines accreditation upon a recommendation from the Accreditation Review Council (ARC). It reported, “Salina has had a sustained focus on continuous improvement and has worked diligently on their growth measures.”
The council noted growth in the district’s four-year graduation rate, increasing from 86 percent to 91 percent. Strategies supporting the increase include prioritizing Individual Plans of Study (IPS) for graduation and career plans, expanding credit recovery opportunities and creating a culture of belonging.
The ARC noted “outstanding growth in the enrollment in and completion of career pathways.” Their statement is based, in part, on the district’s increased career pathways. Pathway offerings grew from 14 to 20. As a result, the number of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses grew.
Responding to the increased opportunity, students who completed CTE pathways increased by 251% – a growth of 624 students. The district also introduced 110 new dual credit college courses and continues to create partnerships with Salina businesses.
The ARC acknowledged another focus, kindergarten readiness. To build kindergarten readiness, the district works closely with Heartland Early Education. It also expanded preschool to all elementary schools, hired an early childhood family and community liaison and measures kindergarten readiness with assessments.
The ARC also noted that the district has created plans to work toward solutions for its challenges.
Aligning math resources and instruction for grades K-10 and implementing math diagnostic assessments are strategies aimed at raising academic performance. In addition, all elementary schools are using reading curriculum with embedded phonics and writing resources beginning this school year.
Salina Public Schools now enters a new five-year accreditation cycle through 2027. The process will involve yearly needs assessments and matching the KESA goals with the district’s Strategic Plan goals to increase students’ critical thinking, communication and social-emotional skills.