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RFSD one of the best districts in the state

Judy Haptonstall
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As a new school year begins, I want to thank you for entrusting your child to us. The Roaring Fork School District provides an exceptional education for your child. Not only do 80 percent of our graduates go on to college or post-secondary programs, but our students receive more than $1 million in merit-based scholarship money, much of which is provided by our local communities. How well do we prepare your children for success beyond high school? One of your many measures is the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) tests. State assessment scores, in the interest of space and simplicity, are provided to you as an average of all the students in each school or district. With more than 32 percent of our students still in the process of learning to speak English, a comparison of averages across the state can be misleading and concerning to parents regarding the quality of their local schools. When we look at the data from CSAP tests and compare similar groups of students in the Roaring Fork School District to students in other districts, I believe we can claim to be among the best. While it is one thing to claim to be among the best districts in the state, it’s another to back that claim up with some facts. In looking at how our students perform on CSAP tests in comparison to such excellent school districts as Aspen, Cherry Creek, Boulder, Jefferson County, Douglas County and Littleton, we find that students in the Roaring Fork School District are, with few exceptions, exceeding the performance of students who come to school speaking English in all of those highly regarded districts. Specifics of the comparison described below are on our district Web site.At the elementary level, we consistently outperform the comparative group of Front Range districts in reading, writing, and math for native English speakers. In the case of third-grade reading, every single school in the district exceeds the scores for English-speaking students from the Front Range districts. Examining the data for other elementary grade levels and content areas, students at Carbondale Community School, Crystal River Elementary, and Sopris Elementary consistently outscore almost every district in the group. Aspen, our neighboring district, who often sets the bar for high achievement, was outscored this year by elementary schools in the Roaring Fork School District in five of nine possible areas. At the middle-school level, one or more of our schools topped the scores for Aspen and the Front Range comparative group. While many of our schools were only a point or two below scores attained by other districts, Carbondale Community, Basalt Middle School and Carbondale Middle School often bested Cherry Creek, Jefferson County, and Douglas County at every grade level in reading, writing and math. High school achievement for our native English speakers was equally encouraging. Roaring Fork High School came through with top honors in the comparison, outperforming scores from all comparative Front Range districts in ninth- and 10th-grade reading and writing, and scoring above Aspen in ninth-grade writing and 10th-grade reading and writing. Bridges students outperformed all of the Front Range districts in reading at both grade levels.While math had its ups and downs across the state, both Basalt High School and Roaring Fork topped the list with all comparative districts, including Aspen, at ninth grade. Only Boulder high school averages were higher than those of schools in our district in ninth grade math, and Roaring Fork schools surpassed all but Aspen and Boulder in 10th grade math.When we say we are one of the best school districts in the state, the numbers tell part of the story, but each school has a wealth of other experiences for students that are second to none. Please visit our Web site at http://www.rfsd.org or, better yet, come in to our schools to learn how we enrich the lives of our students in all of the equally important areas beyond reading, writing and math.Judy Haptonstall is superintendent of the Roaring ForkSchool District.


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