Re-1 rates a gold star in state review |

Re-1 rates a gold star in state review

Roaring Fork School District teachers, students, staff and administrators received high praise from the Colorado Department of Education following the state’s annual on-site accreditation review of the district in March.

“The district is a model for other school districts in the state,” said CDE regional coordinator Melody Henson.

Henson, who has 30 years of experience in teaching and educational administration in Colorado, said she was impressed with the “remarkable” gains in the district even as the number of English language learner students increases.

“The student achievement gains continue to rise,” she said. “In 2003, in reading, writing and math in Colorado State Assessment Program scores, both white and Hispanic students in all three of the tested areas made more than one year’s growth in one year’s time. It’s admirable. It’s what every district would like to achieve.”

With the strong spring review, Re-1 superintendent Fred Wall said he wanted to “thank all teachers and administrators for all their hard work and their caring and dedication to students and parents.

“It’s humbling to be part of an incredible group of people who do so much,” Wall said. “This work couldn’t be accomplished without a strong, dedicated, focused team of building administrators who work with energetic and talented staff members. This work gets done in each school, classroom by classroom.”

Glenwood Springs Elementary School principal Sonya Hemmen said the CDE’s positive report is “extremely good news. We don’t celebrate our successes like we should. We all need news like this.”

On-site process

Since 2001, the Colorado Department of Education requires all school districts throughout the state to be reviewed and accredited based on student achievement.

Haptonstall said CDE reviewers came to Glenwood in March and met with district administrators at the district office. Collectively, they went over mounds of data that teachers, principals and administrators assembled.

“We collect all this information from the buildings and lay it out for them,” said Haptonstall. “And they look through it all.”

CDE reviewer and northwest regional manager Morris Danielson explained that school districts are reviewed based on 11 indicators, which all lead to student achievement.

Those indicators include compliance with school accountability reporting, district-established student testing goals, and Colorado’s basic literacy act.

The March on-site review is part of the CDE’s yearly process that will culminate in a final report in November after the 2004 student achievement test scores are tallied in August.

‘Right thing to do’

The reviewers pointed out a few specific district programs that they found particularly impressive, including:

– The continued push into the high schools of the standards-based reporting and grading system.

– A district accountability process that includes increasing communication with non-English speaking parents.

– A pre-collegiate program aimed at guarding against dropouts.

– Increasing enrollment in post-secondary education for students who are economically challenged or have first-generation college potential.

“I think the district demonstrated very well to the review team that the district is on the cutting edge of success, and, absolutely, that the schools are doing what the state feels needs to be done,” Danielson said.

“We found some of the strongest district leadership in this school district in the state, which is providing the district with some rather dramatic improvements in student achievement,” he added.

Re-1 assistant superintendent Judy Haptonstall said it’s refreshing to hear such positive comments from the state’s education department.

“We don’t do what we do to please the CDE,” she said. “We do it because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t think we realize how awesome this district really is.”

” Roaring Fork School District public information officer Suzie Romig contributed to this report.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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