Kids may be free, but Re-2 teachers are still hard at work |

Kids may be free, but Re-2 teachers are still hard at work

Re-2 News
Theresa Hamilton
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Theresa Hamilton

Teachers are still hard at work.

Students may be out of school, but that doesn’t mean that teachers get a break. Garfield Re-2 administrators, principals, and teachers spent three days last week collaborating, analyzing data and developing their improvement plans for the 2011-12 school year.

Using data from many different sources including disaggregated CSAP scores broken down by gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, student growth data from the state, staff surveys, and parent surveys each school is going through the process to evaluate where they are now, their short and long term goals, and how are they going to reach their goals.

“We are planning our future as a school and as a district,”said Rifle Middle School Assistant Principal Shelley Gardineer. “We are building upon our strengths and tackling our issues. We are trying to get to the root causes of things that we need to improve.”

Each school and every district in Colorado is using the state’s Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) template. This is a tool that helps organizations identify their issues, evaluate the root causes, and devise a plan to address them. The UIP also provides consistency across the state so each district and each school’s plan will have the same format, and include the same key information.

The three days have been very intense, and very rewarding for the staff.

“By critically evaluating the data, we have been able to not only uncover things that are systemic problems but find our strengths as well,”said Graham Mesa counselor Vickie Brusig. “We are looking at the data, breaking it down, chopping it up and then figuring out the solutions. We have been having deep, meaningful conversations between administrators, principals, teachers and staff, and the conversations, at times, are very difficult.”

The three days of collaboration are just the beginning. Staff throughout the summer will continue to refine the plans. Collaboration days are set aside throughout the school year to allow schools to revisit the plans, analyze current data, determine their progress and refine their plans if necessary. “We certainly don’t ask our staff to devote this kind of time and energy to a plan and have them keep it on a shelf somewhere,” said Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Susan Birdsey. “These are living documents that are consulted on a regular basis by our administrators and our leadership teams.They are intended to guide our schools, set a direction that will lead to improved student achievement and focus upon the school’s culture and climate.”

Birdsey pointed to the improved assessment scores such as CSAP scores and district assessments such as DIBELS, Acuity and others as an indication that the efforts of the Garfield Re-2 administrators, teachers and staff over the past three years are paying off.

“Our principals, teachers and staff are among the best in the state and they pour their hearts and souls into their work each and everyday. They are seeing the fruits of their labors,” she added.

School and district improvement plans are available online through the Colorado Department of Education’s SchoolView web site. Plans for the 2011-12 school year will be submitted to the Garfield Re-2 School Board at the beginning of the school year.

Theresa Hamilton is director of districtwide services for the Garfield Re-2 School District.

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