Ashley Kappelman, assistant principal •

Liberal High School • Liberal, Kansas

Liberal High School

Following the 2008-2009 school year, Liberal High School was identified in the bottom 15% of lowest performing high schools in the state.  Three years later, Liberal High School has now been identified as a school meeting the Standard of Excellence in both reading and math—for the first time in school history—following the 2011–2012 school year.  Through the 2011–2012 school year, all subgroups showed gains, and in the 2010–2011 school year, all identified subgroups met the state targets. Student proficiency in mathematics was at 55% in 2009, 23 points behind the state. In 2012 the percentage of proficient or exemplary Liberal students had risen 32 points and is 4 points better than the state.

In reading the Liberal scores have risen from 61.2% proficient to 85.1% proficient—from 23% below the state to 4% below the state. Liberal has also done an exemplary job of expanding student access to its most rigorous curriculum. These achievements are particularly impressive in light of the demographics of the student population. While only 1 in 10 students in Kansas are English Language Learners, 4 in 10 Liberal students are classified as ELL. While 48.8% of Kansas students are classified as Economically Disadvantaged, 71% of Liberal students fall into this category. Schools looking for ways to raise expectations for and achievement of ELL and Economically Disadvantaged students could learn a lot from the staff at Liberal High School. For more information contact principal Keith Adams at

For more information, see our Professional Learning Community Manual: Operationalizing the Big Picture.

Posted in: Evaluation, Grading, Grouping, Hiring, Homework, Merit Pay

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