The Union R-XI School District recently was recognized for receiving the “Distinction in Performance” award — an award the district has received all but one year since it has been offered.

The Distinction in Performance award is one of the state’s most prestigious honors for local school districts. It is based on the district’s performance relative to student performance standards that are used to determine state accreditation through the Missouri School Improvement Program. In order to earn distinction in performance, districts must meet the majority of these performance standards at either a high or significantly improved level.

“We are certainly pleased with the hard work our students and staff put into this very critical state assessment,” said Superintendent Steve Bryant.

“It should also be noted that our improvement efforts are geared for student success in a broad range of areas, not just the state test,” he added.

“We do believe the state assessments are a good indicator of this worthwhile goal.”

Union has met at least 13 of the 14 standards every year but one of the 11 years the Distinction in Performance recognition has been offered.

Over the past six years, most school districts across the state have increasingly performed well in meeting the state’s 14 performance standards, which include MAP and ACT scores, attendance and graduation rates, college placement indicators and other student achievement measures. The accountability standards for public schools were last revised in 2006.

That is according to final 2011 Annual Performance Reports (APR) released last year for Missouri schools. The APR serves as the report card to the public on how well school districts and charter schools are meeting state standards for academic performance.

The APR provides a five-year progress report and enables state and local school officials to monitor trends and ensure schools are serving their students’ educational needs. In addition to identifying schools that are performing well, the APR also reveals which schools are lagging behind and need extra assistance to improve instruction, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Test scores, including ACT, MAP and end-of-course (EOC) exams; attendance, graduation rates and other academic indicators are considered.

This year, three out of every five school districts across the state met every standard. Another one out of five met all but one.

Based on the final APR scores, a total of 329 school districts out of 521 qualified for the state’s annual recognition. This recognition is reserved for K-12 school districts that meet at least 13 out of 14 performance standards and K-8 districts that meet at least six out of seven. Districts also must meet all academic standards tied to 2010-11 Missouri Assessment Program results.

There were 45 school districts in south-central Missouri who earned the award were recently honored by South Central Regional Professional Development Center.

The awards were presented at the annual “Distinction in Performance” banquet on March 5 at the Havener Center on the Missouri University of Science and Technology campus. The event was sponsored and hosted by the South Central Regional Professional Development Center and the university.