State selects Roaring Fork School District for pilot program
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Roaring Fork School District was selected as one of six school districts across the state last week to participate in a pilot program headed by the Colorado Department of Education focused on reducing the education gap associated with race and poverty.The goal of the three-year pilot program will be to develop new ways to educate English Language Learners (ELL) and students from lower-income families.”Across the state, ELL students and students from lower-income families don’t perform as well as the other students from middle and upper-class families,” said RFSD superintendent Judy Haptonstall. “But the reality is that the majority of kids in both categories in our district are immigrants that come here with no prior education in English.”Haptonstall said that the CDE didn’t select the RFSD because its ELL program isn’t working, but rather, the specific student demographic and the educational gap between particular groups of students.”They were looking for districts with a gap between one group and another,” Haptonstall said. “It’s not that the ELL program isn’t working.”The main question the CDE and the RFSD hopes to answer during the three-year period, in Haptonstall’s opinion, is how to help the students who have to learn the English language while keeping up with the rest of their academics as well.”The students in the classrooms today are so different than the kids 20 years ago,” Haptonstall said. “They are a different type of learner and we just need to find the best way to educate all the different types of learners we have.”The pilot program will begin with a visit by a Comprehensive Appraisal of District Improvement (CADI) team in May, to provide an in-depth analysis of RFSD’s instructional programs and students’ learning processes. The visiting team of ten evaluators will share informal feedback on their findings sometime around the beginning of June and a more formal evaluation will be presented in August. Recommendations for district changes will emerge from that analysis.Haptonstall is excited for the opportunity to work with the CDE on this program and has realistic expectations of what will be accomplished.”My hope is that we will really benefit from what we are already doing well and learn what we need to do differently,” Haptonstall said. “I think it will be a really positive experience, too, and I’m looking forward to hearing what we are doing right.”Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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