OCES celebrates last year’s successes; prepares for new challenges – Osage County Online | Osage County News

OCES celebrates last year’s successes; prepares for new challenges

Kansas State Board of Education Member Carolyn L. Wims-Campbell shakes hands with teacher Jeff Whitmer while presenting the Challenge Award, held by teacher Susan Smith.

An uncommon pep rally was held Wednesday at Osage City Elementary School, and it was all about celebrating success and boosting school spirit for academic achievements.

During an afternoon assembly, all OCES students gathered in the auditorium for the presentation of a special award that recognized last year’s fifth graders and their teachers for the class’ math results on the 2015 Kansas assessments.

Carolyn L. Wims-Campbell, Kansas State Board of Education member, on behalf of the Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force, presented the Challenge Award to the class. The award recognizes schools for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas Assessment results, the sample size and the socio-economic status of those taking the test.

“Today I want to come and celebrate with you and the wonderful things you do and your teachers here have done,” Wims-Campbell said. “We want to celebrate the classes and schools that have made the most success and met challenges. We want to celebrate our children, the ones that make Kansas look good.”

OCES Principal Dena Paul invited this year’s sixth grade class to the stage along with their math teachers from last year, Susan Smith and Jeff Whitmer, and Cori Thomas, who was unable to attend.

Paul noted the task force had named 99 schools in 34 Kansas public school districts as recipients of the 2015 Challenge Awards.

“We were one of those 99 schools,” Paul said. “I’m so proud of these guys and the teachers they had. These three teachers were responsible for those students and what they learned in math last year.”

“To all the sixth graders, thank you all,” Wims-Campbell said. “You set the standard for the rest of our children following through. Fifth graders, you can do it, you can do it.”

Noting that state assessments begin Monday, Paul said the Challenge Award also presented a challenge to this year’s fifth grade students.

“This is a huge challenge, a big challenge for year five,” Paul said. “As Mrs. Cambell said, you’ll need to step it up on state assessments.”

The Challenge Awards recognize Kansas schools that are making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Since its inception in 2002, nearly 1,400 awards have been presented to schools across the state.

The Confidence in Public Education Task Force is a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to strengthen confidence in Kansas public education and to increase awareness of the positive aspects of public education in the state. The task force was created in 1981.


Last year’s success of OCES sixth-graders was celebrated Wednesday with the class taking center stage as recipients of the Challenge Award.


Proud OCES educators accepted the Challenge Award on behalf of last year’s fifth grade class, from left, OCES Principal Dena Paul, teachers Susan Smith and Jeff Whitmer, and state school board member Carolyn Wims-Campbell.

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