Our View: Schools worthy of A+

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The Steamboat Springs and Soroco school districts are to be commended for their performance in the annual School Accountability Reports.

Steamboat Springs has two schools -- Steamboat Springs High School and Strawberry Park Elementary School -- that are rated "schools of excellence" in the annual report cards issued by the Colorado Department of Education. "Excellent" is the highest rating that can be earned.

The remainder of the schools in the Steamboat Springs School District -- Soda Creek Elementary, the North Routt Community Charter School and Steamboat Springs Middle School -- earned ratings of high, the state's second-highest rating.

This is the third year the state has issued accountability reports, which are based primarily on how schools perform on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests. High schools also are judged on ACT test results.

Steamboat Springs High School is the only high school in Northwest Colorado and one of only 34 high schools statewide that earned the excellent rating. This is the second consecutive year that Strawberry Park Elementary has been a school of excellence. The school is one of 112 elementary schools in the state to earn the top rating. Both Strawberry Park and the high school rank among the top 10 percent of schools in the state.

The performance of the North Routt Community Charter School is noteworthy for its improvement. Last year was the first time the school had been rated, and it earned an average rating. In just its third year, the small elementary school in Clark is rated high.

Soda Creek and Steamboat Springs Middle School earned high ratings for the third consecutive year, meaning the school district has not had one of its primary campuses rated below "high" since the ratings began in 2001.

Soroco also performed well on the accountability reports. Soroco High School and Yampa Elementary earned high ratings, while Soroco Middle School was average. The school district earned the same ratings last year.

In Hayden, all schools earned an average rating.

School Accountability Reports are not the only way to judge public schools. However, the reports cards are important tools for administrators, teachers, parents and other residents to measure how their schools stack up against comparable districts.

What is important to note about the Routt County schools' performance is that the performance has been remarkably consistent. More than half of the schools in the county have earned ratings of high or better every time the accountability reports have been issued. No school has ever been rated below average.

There are nine public school campuses in the county that Soroco Middle School and Soroco High School are on the same campus. Six of those campuses are rated high or better, meaning they rank in the top quarter of all schools statewide.

Few other counties in the state can boast such depth in the quality of their public schools, and we believe such academic accomplishment should be applauded. Congratulations to the administrators, teachers, staff, students, volunteers and others who help all of our schools succeed.

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