Re-1 touts good report
“Great news again this year.”That’s what Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Superintendent Fred Wall had to say in a press release about annual school accountability reports the Colorado Department of Education released Tuesday. The reports rate each of the state’s schools based on academic performance and growth during the 2004-05 school year. Three schools showed improvement over 2003 results, while academic achievement remained stable at most schools. Only Basalt High School posted a decline. Based on last year’s scores, high school ACT scores and other factors, academic growth was rated on a continuum ranging from “significant decline” to “significant improvement,” and academic performance ratings ranged from unsatisfactory to excellent.Most Re-1 schools’ academic performance ratings ranked between “average” and “high,” and their academic growth ranked between “stable” and “improvement.” Re-1 will distribute the reports to parents this month. “This continued upward climb is due to the work of our terrific administrative team and to outstanding staff members in classrooms,” Wall said. But be careful: There’s more to those reports than just academic performance ratings. The reports, which include much information about teachers, their salaries and other extraneous statistics, are built on CSAP scores – information the state released in September that was the basis for the No Child Left Behind Act-mandated Adequate Yearly Progress statistics that wasn’t all good news for Re-1 schools. Five Re-1 schools failed to meet AYP based on CSAP standardized test results for reading and math. One of those schools, Glenwood Springs High School, failed to make AYP for both reading and math, but its academic performance was rated “high” on the state’s School Accountability Report. The school met 88 percent of its NCLB-mandated academic goals, down from 90 percent the previous year. All five of those schools – Crystal River and Glenwood elementary schools, Carbondale Middle School, Glenwood High and Basalt Middle School’s fifth grade – failed to meet AYP mostly because the math or English skills of Hispanic students and students just learning English were substandard. Under NCLB, each school is given a set of math and reading goals, and its students are placed into sub-groups, each of which must meet specific academic goals. Sub-groups include disabled students, students learning English, students who receive free or reduced cost lunches, students who are Hispanic, and others. It’s easy for a school to be stamped as failing, however. Thirty students who can’t read English very well are enough to tip the scale. But the ratings in the School Accountability Reports were determined with CSAP scores weighted for a variety of factors, disregarding graduation rates and other factors included in calculating AYP. They “are derived from a formula that adds points to a score for ‘proficient’ and ‘advanced’ (CSAP scores) and takes points away for ‘partially proficient’ and ‘unsatisfactory,'” Wall said. “Once the number is computed for the school, it is ranked according to a bell curve and the rating is applied. Student achievement on CSAP can improve, but the rating could still go down.”The report factored in ACT scores but not SAT scores, because the state requires ACT testing of all high school juniors as part of its standardized testing process, Wall said. Schools across the district fared well, overall:Glenwood Elementary, which failed to meet AYP for reading, was considered “average” for academic performance in the School Accountability Report. The school’s growth was considered “stable.” Sopris Elementary, however, was rated “high” for academic performance with “stable” academic growth. The former Carbondale Elementary, which failed to meet AYP in reading, was rated “low” for overall academic performance with “significant improvement” in academic growth. Principal Karen Olsen said in a press release that more consistent school programs accounted for the performance gains. One school’s report stood above all the mainstream Re-1 schools. Carbondale Community Charter School was given an “excellent” rating for academic performance with improving academic performance.Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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