Give Superintendent Steve Noble credit for knowing how to get Hillsboro Middle/High School students excited about being recognized top performers in state assessment tests.
Speaking to an enthusiastic assembly of students and staff Friday, Noble brought the house down with his closing remarks.
“Since you all did such a super amazing job teaching and learning in this building, all students, all staff, how about everybody gets a day off Monday,” he said. “I’m going to push my superintendent button on this one, we’re going to make this happen — no school on Monday!”
The cheers were deafening as students jumped up from their seats with fist pumps and high fives before heading outside for a balloon launch to complete the celebration.
Hillsboro is among only 11 high schools to receive a governor’s achievement award for its performance on last year’s state assessment tests. The other schools named were large Johnson County schools and private schools.
“Blue Valley Northwest has 1,605 students, Shawnee Mission East has 1,726 students, and Olathe Northwest has 2,180 students,” Hillsboro Elementary principal Evan Yoder said at the assembly. “Hillsboro High School? 150. You’re competing with all the massive resources that all of those huge schools have.”
Test scores of last year’s sophomore class, now juniors, were used to determine the awards. Junior class president Brooklyn Wiens was excited to learn of the award.
“To be the only high school under 1,000 students is insane,” she said. “We don’t have the resources like Blue Valley or Shawnee Mission or any of those huge schools, so it is incredible we were able to accomplish this much. I’m so proud of the junior class.”
Wiens said juniors drew motivation from another group of HHS students.
“Last year’s seniors set a high standard for us — they were incredibly smart,” she said. “Going into those tests we definitely also needed to set the bar high for the rest of the high school.”
Middle/high school principal Clint Corby said the accomplishment was special partially because the school doesn’t do anything extra to prepare for state exams.
“We don’t spend a lot of time talking about state assessments,” he said. “The fact that we can not focus on assessments and still get exemplary results speaks volumes about our kids and staff. This is my first year here so I get to take absolutely zero credit for this award, but this is the reason why I’m here. I’m pretty happy with my decision to be here and be a part of things.”
School board vice president Ron Koons took time away from work to join in Friday’s celebration.
“I’ll tell you why I enjoy serving on school board and why I chose to run for a fourth term last spring: I like to be a part of great organizations,” he said. “This award from the governor is an example that USD 410 is a great school district. You’re going to be prepared and be competitive with anybody that’s out there, whether they’re from a school with 1,000 students, a private school, whatever it is.”