STAR AWARD PROGRAM - As most of you know, we are in the 3rd year of the new Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) process.   This process is how all schools in Kansas are to be accredited, based on data sent to the state over a five year process.   Even though we have been working through the process for 3 years now, this is the first year that the state has given out its "Star Awards".   Basically, there are four areas that you can be given a star, based on your school districts performance.   We received notification that USD 356, Conway Springs is one of 40 school districts in the state to receive a star in each category.  That means only 14% of the school districts in Kansas received this honor.   There was an article written in the Conway Springs Star about the awards so I thought I would simply include it here on our web site.   Enjoy reading and congratulations to our students and staff on a job well done!!!

Conway Springs schools shine in new awards
By Travis Mounts


There is a new award program for schools, and the Conway Springs School District is one of the top performers in all of Kansas. The Kansans Can Star Recognition Program, from the Kansas State Department of Education, recognizes schools in four areas: post-secondary success, state assessments, graduation rate, and the commissioner's award which scores schools based on success against goals set by the state.

Schools can be given a gold, silver, bronze or copper star in each of these categories.
Conway Springs earned stars in all four categories. Conway Springs USD 356 is one of just 40 districts out of 286 different Kansas school districts to earn a star in all four categories. That puts the district in the top 14 percent of all school districts statewide.

“I think we're one of two districts in this entire area that received four stars,” said superintendent Clay Murphy. ''Apparently, it's a small number who get stars.”

The awards are part of a new program that began looking at districts' results four years ago.

"We received four stars. I didn't realize (immediately) how big a deal that is.” Murphy said.

Conway Springs got a silver star in post-secondary success, which measures how students are doing two years after graduation. They received a bronze star for graduation rates. The district got a bronze star for how prepared academically students are for post-secondary success. They also earned a star for the commissioner's award for exceeding predicted effectiveness rates. Murphy said the information he received did not indicate what level of star the district got in that category.

This is the first year for the star recognition. Murphy will represent the district at a banquet in Manhattan on April 18. Districts that received stars in all four categories will be recognized.

"Basically, each category is somewhat of a competition. Depending on how everyone scores
in the state, the stars in each category are handed out compared to where everyone else scored. So, it is not a simple 'If you score at this level, then you get this' situation,” Murphy explained.


The recognition means a lot to Murphy, who is a Conway Springs native and graduate. This is his 25th year working for the district and 19th year as superintendent. He visits all classrooms during the course of the school year, and has one-on-one meetings with every student in grades 6-12.

"I don't know if I could find a better place,” he said.

Conway Springs High School principal Brent Harrell also stressed the significance of the new awards.
"It's a big deal, especially for schools like us,” he said.

After receiving the news, Murphy visited with students in all three of the district's schools.

"I imagine all superintendents say they have great schools. This is the state saying it based on state information. They're verifying that we are doing something right,” he said. ''I'm very proud of our kids and our staff”.


 As always - I truly appreciate the support that this community shows for our students and our school.  Conway Springs is a great place to raise children!


Clay Murphy - Superintendent of Schools

We are always looking for substitute teachers, substitute cooks and substitute bus drivers.  If interested in any of these positions - please call the district office at 620-456-2961.

Certified teaching positions and coaching positions are posted on the KSDE website at  




March 6 - End of the 3rd nine weeks - students dismissed at 1:00

March 20 - 27 - No school - Spring Break

WINTER WEATHER:  Living in Kansas means that the weather can change quickly and without warning.   As always, if we do have severe weather, a parent has the final decision in keeping a student at home or sending them to school.   Snow can have an impact on certain roads while other roads remain clear.   Notification of school closing will always be communicated through our messenger system, as well as phoned in to the local television stations.