Two Shawnee Mission schools found out earlier this month that they had earned the National Parent Teacher Association’s School of Excellence distinction — an honor that puts them in elite company nationally and in an exclusive category in Kansas.
Belinder Elementary and Indian Hills Middle School are the only schools in the state to earn the honor for this period. Fewer than 150 schools across the country were named Schools of Excellence this year.
The application process for the School of Excellence program is lengthy. Schools must first identify a target area for improvement, and then develop a year-long plan to affect change in the target area. At Indian Hills, parent leaders teamed up with the administration to raise awareness of and improve efforts to address bullying. At Belinder, the community worked on fostering a climate that welcomes all families. As part of those efforts, the school launched a new Diversity and Inclusion Committee. It also hosted a twice-yearly book swap and put on its first-ever Brave Run 5K and Fun Walk community event.
Belinder and Indian Hills both earned the distinction two years ago. In that cycle, Merriam Park and Rising Star Elementaries earned the honor as well. Last year, Shawnee Mission North received the distinction.