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Great schools are more than sum of their scores

I would like to publicly acknowledge the wonderful efforts of the teachers, students, and parents of Carbondale Middle School.

Recent articles in the local papers inadvertently omitted critical information related to our students’ learning achievements last year. It is important that our community is aware of the great things happening for students here, especially in light of the ongoing exodus from our public schools.

CMS students earned state recognition for commendable growth in six areas on the 2005 CSAP, including sixth-grade reading, writing and math; seventh-grade reading and writing; and eighth-grade math. Our school received the highest number of such commendations in the district; only two schools earned even half as many. Although the state has not posted the school academic ratings for this year, I am confident that Carbondale Middle School will match the ratings of the district’s other middle schools, as it always has in the past.



To put these results into a more human perspective, 30 percent of our eighth-graders demonstrated two or more years growth in writing, and 11 percent demonstrated four or more years growth during the school year. Four of our top sixth-grade math students received perfect scores on math CSAP subtests and six eighth-graders are enrolled in advanced math classes at Roaring Fork High School. These gains resulted from the efforts of the great students, supportive parents, and creative, energetic, and intelligent staff that comprise our school community.

Great schools are much more than a sum of their scores, however. Our students, under the direction of our award-winning art instructor, Ami Maes, have been recognized for several years for their outstanding creativity and achievement a the Valley Kids art show at the Aspen Museum of Art and at KidSculpt during Winterskol. Mark Gray, Jazz Aspen Snowmass Director of the Year for the second year in a row, and his band, the Jammin’ Wolverines, won first place at the Basalt Battle of the Bands, and earned the outstanding vocalist award at the University of Northern Colorado Jazzfest. In addition, our Wolverine chess team has won the league championship two years in a row.



Small writing class sizes and daily ability-based reading groups ensure that all students get the individual care and attention they deserve. Extended learning opportunities and community-based activities are also an integral part of our core curriculum. Our students participate in public poetry readings at Steve’s Guitars, intercambio Spanish classes taught by native speakers, college orientation visits, job shadowing experiences, and an extensive menu of outdoor ed and enrichment activities. The total package supports a productive learning environment that is fun, flexible, and child-centered.

If this sounds like a shameless promotion of our students and staff, it is! Our community has cause to be very proud of its young scholars and future leaders at CMS.

Cliff Colia is the principal at Carbondale Middle School.


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