For SSMS, math's a plus

Steamboat Springs recognized for gains on assessment

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— Steamboat Springs Middle School has been named a "2005 Gain-Maker School" for its continued improvement in math during the past three years.

The award, which comes from the Colorado Dep--artment of Education, is based on improvements in Colorado Student Asses--sment Program test scores.

"Our teachers should be really proud of that, because not many schools received this," SSMS Principal Tim Bishop said.

"It's a step in the right direction. We hope to build on it, and we're very proud of our school, and we're very proud of our teachers."

This is the first year the awards have been given. Jo O'Brien, assistant to the commissioner of education, said the awards were designed to recognize schools that have made exceptional improvements on standardized test scores.

Bishop said the award is especially meaningful because for a school to be considered a "gain-maker," a jump in its scores one year is not enough. Students must perform well throughout several years.

The designation allows Steamboat Spr--ings Middle School to nominate a teacher for the new Governor's Award for Teaching Excellence. Three top Colorado teachers, as determined by student achievement on CSAP and additional measures, will receive the awards and as much as $10,000.

Bishop said middle school math scores have increased across the board, but especially in eighth grade. The number of eighth-graders scoring proficient and advanced in math increased 24 percent in the past 3 years.

The 2005 CSAP results showed that 40 percent of eighth-graders were advanced, compared to 15 percent across the state.

Bishop att--ributes the school's success not only to the new curriculum the middle school implemented, but also to continuous professional discussions among teachers and staff.

CSAP results have been analyzed for groups of students and for individual students and have been used to get direction for addressing the needs of all students, no matter their skill level.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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