South Routt schools rated

Elementary school 'high,' secondary schools 'average'

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— South Routt Elementary School retained its rating of "high," and Soroco Middle School and Soroco High School received "average" ratings on School Accountability Reports released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Education.

Although the elementary school received a "high" rating, the School Accountability Report indicated a significant decline in academic growth for elementary students between 2005 and 2006.

The School Accountability Reports rate schools on academic performance and growth based on Colorado Student Assessment Program test scores. The CSAPs are administered to public school students in grades three through 12.

Soroco high school and middle school showed improvement, according to the reports. The middle school also was rated "average" in 2005, but the high school's rating dropped from "high" in 2005 to "average" this year.

"You do want to see that movement," Soroco Secondary Principal James Chamberlin said about student improvement. "It is a better indicator of student growth. The focus areas for this year are how can we get plateau writing scores up. We are continuing to focus on math, but math is an area where we've had some of the highest (CSAP) scores in a while."

Superintendent Kelly Reed attributed the significant decline in academic growth to last year's high turnover at the elementary school.

"We are still confident we have a great school," Reed said.

Reed said the district continues to address all areas at each building.

"As a superintendent, I'm a tad disappointed where we are, but I am satisfied that our staff and students are going forward," he said. "Obviously, we want all our schools to be rated 'high,' but we also need to see improvement in all areas. We look at academic growth."

Reed and Chamberlin, who did his doctoral dissertation on School Accountability Reports across the country, said smaller schools' results can be skewed because of the smaller number of students taking tests.

"Two or three students can make an impact on statistics," Reed said.

In an effort to improve School Accountability Report ratings and accelerate student growth, several offerings have been put in place at the secondary campus in Oak Creek.

The offerings are called Opportunity Time and Ram Time, which give students one-on-one assistance. At the high school, an after-school study hall is held with a tutor three times a week.

An additional obstacle is getting high school students to take the CSAP tests seriously, Chamberlin said.

"Students who better or maintain their (CSAP) score receive a Rams Fan Pass, which lets them into any home event for free," Chamberlin said.

The other incentive for taking CSAP tests seriously is a class trip to Elitch Gardens in Denver if the class as a whole improved its reading, writing and math CSAP scores.

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