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Improvement a ‘priority’ at Glenwood Springs Elementary School

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – While Roaring Fork School District Re-1 schools as a whole achieved the second-highest accreditation level in the new Colorado Department of Education performance standards ratings released last week, one Glenwood school is on what’s called a priority improvement plan under the new system.

Glenwood Springs Elementary School fell below 50 percent in the state’s new point system used to measure academic achievement, academic growth and academic growth gaps between different student groups.

The school earned 43.8 out of 100 points, although it did not fall into the “Did Not Meet” category in any one area, as some other district schools did.



“This really wasn’t a surprise, given the achievement data we’ve been seeing the with CSAP [Colorado Student Assessment Program] tests, which still factor into it,” Re-1 Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said. “That hasn’t been where any of us want it to be in the last year.”

Haptonstall said GSES and all the other schools in the district will prepare their individual improvement plans to first present to the Re-1 school board after the first of the year, before sending them to the Department of Education.



“This is where we make sure we’ve targeted all the right things that they’re looking for,” she said.

Colorado schools were given their first ratings under the new performance standards approved by state lawmakers last year, replacing school report cards that teachers and educators said only stigmatized schools.

Under the old system, which relied on statewide student test (CSAP) scores and included a complex formula to allow for low-income students and other factors, schools were graded from excellent to unsatisfactory, similar to a school report card.

The new system gives school districts and schools accreditation ratings based on academic growth and success preparing students for college and career readiness.

Roaring Fork Re-1 as a whole, which includes public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, earned the “accredited” status, which is the second-highest of five accreditation categories.

Only 14 school districts statewide earned the highest “accredited with distinction” status, including the Aspen School District.

Individual schools that fall below 37 percent in the points system measuring academic achievement and growth are placed on what’s called a turnaround plan. The next level up is priority improvement, followed by improvement plan schools. The top-achieving schools are put on a performance plan under the new system.

In Re-1, seven schools achieved performance plan status (Glenwood Springs Middle and High schools, Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, Carbondale Community School, and all three Basalt schools); four will be submitting improvement plans (Sopris Elementary in Glenwood, Carbondale Middle School, Crystal River Elementary in Carbondale and Bridges High School).

Some schools fell into the “does not meet” category in some of the individual performance areas, while others exceeded standards. Another area measured for high schools in the reports was postsecondary and workforce readiness.

“This system is much more comprehensive than the school report cards,” Haptonstall said. “It focuses more on students and learning … and really gives people a lot more information to look at and helps them understand the growth models better.”

Haptonstall said she was “pleasantly surprised” in the overall ratings for Re-1 schools, given some of the stigma that did arise under the old system.

“Overall, we really have seen an increase in student learning,” she said. “The new data allows us to help each and every individual student better, and is far more specific about what we need to do. It allows us to focus more energy in the right spots.”

The state, district and individual school performance reports can be found on the Colorado Department of Education’s website at http://www.schoolview.org/performance.asp

jstroud@postindependent.com


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