Steamboat Springs Teachers at Strawberry Park Elementary School celebrated Thursday morning with cinnamon rolls, fruit and bagels.
It was just a 20-minute celebration, but marked the culmination of three years of hard work.
They were celebrating the results of the first round of the Colorado Student Assessment Program scores, which had 93 percent of Strawberry Park's third-graders at proficient or higher in reading.
That number was one point higher than last year and 21 points higher than the state average. As the first and only set of scores to be released before August, the third grade reading results gave teachers and administrators a peak to how their students were performing this year.
"I wanted them to know they do a good job and work so hard. It took three years to get to this," Strawberry Park Principal John DeVincentis said.
Soda Creek Elementary School also had a strong performance with 86 percent of its third graders turning in test scores as proficient or higher, which was a seven-point jump from last year.
The district wide scores had 90 percent of third graders reaching a proficient or advanced level, which was a three-point improvement from 2001 and 18 points higher than the state average.
"I'm so proud of our elementary teachers and principals for all of the hard work to make sure that every student will be proficient in reading," Superintendent Cyndy Simms said.
"It's a big effort on the part of teachers and staff, kindergarten through third grade, that by the time they get to third grade they are proficient."
Despite the high scores garnered by his students, DeVincentis cautioned that the test scores are just a snap shot of where the students stand.
And with the school pulling in scores in the 90's, continuing to improve is going to get harder each year.
One of DeVincentis teachers commented at the morning celebration that the worse they could do was an 88, still 16 points higher than the state average.
"It's hard to say the worse you can do is 88. It tells you kind of where we stand, when you think that 88 is bad," DeVincentis said.
Soda Creek Principal Judy Harris said it's hard to compare third-graders scores to others because the reading test in third grade evaluates just one component, and those fourth to tenth test four different reading skills.
With a different pool of students each year, it is also hard to compare third grade scores for one year to the next.
Harris, who was the former Director of Content Standards, said the third grade CSAP test might be the first time students take the CSAPs, but they have been assessed in reading long before third grade.
Harris said assessment is made throughout the year and based upon three components site words, phonetics and comprehension and fluency.