District fails to meet guidelines

ELL students weren't able to finish CSAP math tests


— The inability of some non-English-speaking students to complete a state assessment test means the Steamboat Springs School District did not meet state and federal guidelines for student progress.

The district fell short in one of its two Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, targets handed down from the Colorado Department of Education. The state Department of Education sets AYP guidelines and targets as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The district and its four schools met all of their performance targets, but Steamboat Springs Middle School did not meet the participation requirement because less than 95 percent of its students took the math portion of the Colorado Student Assessment Program test. The participation requirement was not met because some of the school's English Language Learners couldn't complete the CSAP math test, school officials said this week.

The Spanish-speaking students tried to take the CSAP math test but did not answer enough questions for their scores to count as "completed sessions," director of curriculum and instruction Kelly Stanford said. As a result, the students were recorded as not taking the test.

Stanford delivered the news to the Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday, adding that there are no repercussions for the district besides having to share the news with the community.

"If we were not meeting (AYP guidelines) for performance reasons, we would be concerned," Stanford said.

Middle school Principal Tim Bishop expressed his frustration Monday with No Child Left Behind guidelines. Steamboat Springs Middle School was rated as a "School of Excellence" last year by the state. Bishop said other school districts have asked to visit his school to see how it teaches math.

"(The English Language Learner students) didn't understand the test and what was asked of them, and I don't blame them," Bishop said. "It bums me out when these kids are doing the best they can, and we still get docked. It disappoints me, not on a local level, but on a national level."

Stanford said she is confident that the implementation of full-time English as a Second Language teachers at all four district schools will help ELL students more fully participate in state assessments, including math, this school year.

Steamboat also failed to hit Adequate Yearly Progress participation requirements for elementary reading and middle school reading. Officials said the schools didn't meet specific participation targets for low socioeconomic students in elementary reading, middle school reading and middle school math.

The South Routt and Hayden school districts met their AYP guidelines for the 2005-06 school year.

- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


SnowCountry 10 years, 6 months ago

I am completely mystified at how a child can be in middle school and not speak english well enough to take a test. If they can't speak english, they need to start at the bottom, just as my son had to. English is a required language, put them in Kindergarten until they speak english, then they pass that grade and move on to first grade, second grade and so on. How they get to middle school without knowing english is a huge problem with the school system. If they are immigrants, they start in Kindergarten, regardless of their age. Children should not be in the same grade unless their abilities are compatible. My son is in middle school and I as a parent would not want him moved on in school if his reading skills, for whatever reason, didn't allow him to effectively take tests or participate in school curriculum.


wm1414 10 years, 6 months ago

I could not agree more! What a great idea! I have a daughter in middle school. She has complained that non-English speaking kids are distracting. They slow the classes down and require someone to translate. Is that fair to my child if the teacher is constantly having to work with these kids? The rest of the class suffers.


gwendolyn 10 years, 6 months ago

""If we were not meeting (AYP guidelines) for performance reasons, we would be concerned," Stanford said."


Otherwise, we're NOT concerned?

""It bums me out when these kids are doing the best they can, and we still get docked."

Um, doing the best they can based on the education this school district provided to them? You got docked because they were incapable of taking the test through to completion...and that was because......??????

Who are we trying to kid here? The ELL program in this school district just sucks. Hire certified teachers who are experienced in ESL programs and pay them what they're worth to do the job. Oh, and hire enough of them to eliminate this problem. Please. (BTW, how on earth is it possible to think $10/hour for an ELL teacher is an appropriate wage scale? Don't the janitors make more than that?)

How hard can this be?

Apparently TOO hard for a school district run by ostriches banked in a sand dune.

Look, I know there's a huge population in this community who would just as soon run the non-English speaking immigrants out of town as spend money on them learning to speak English. Let's face it -- bigotry and keeping this little town "our special place" is high on the agenda of many a resident in this community. Your agenda might be speaking English or attending church -- but it's bigotry when intolerance oozes out of the pores and spews venom at those who are different.

These are CHILDREN in our schools. They are here for any number of reasons and they deserve our attention and an appropriate education.

CHILDREN. Most of whom are not in control of the choices made for them by their parents OR by this school district.


Give them the education they need to succeed and stop whining and putzing around about it. Good grief.

These children are here to stay. Do you want them to graduate from SSHS some day feeling proud of having been a student in this school district and standing tall for this community and its future needs OR would you rather them grow into adults who hate the very core of what this town chose NOT to provide for them but had no problem inequitably providing it to those "more deserving" of Steamboat's attention?

Maybe a town viewing of "Do the The Right Thing" is in order here. Sadly, it would seem sand is far more attractive.


gwendolyn 10 years, 6 months ago

Where are those illegal immigrants working? Not paying taxes where they work? Who's employing them?

Don't they shop and pay taxes that help the school district, too?

Boodog -- if I thought the argument was worth my time with you, I could probably list another 50 items or so to show just how shortsighted you truly are. Having read your opinion on this subject over and over again on the previous Forum here has taught me you don't have a broad perspective or knowledge base on this issue.

My original question stands: Since when do children attending school here have any choices in any of this matter? Why should THEY be forced to pay the price of your opinion?


gwendolyn 10 years, 6 months ago


you're so right. punishing the children makes the most amount of sense. why don't we just line 'em up and ship 'em out tomorrow... or, better yet, save the shipping costs and take 'em over to the pound for quick incineration.

Um, if the employers weren't hiring them....would this be the "land of opportunity" for them? Who's REALLY to blame here?

No matter -- you're right. Let's scapegoat the children and punish 'em all in the name of their fathers and their father's employers here in the states. That ought to show 'em!

FACT: Not all ELL children are ILLEGAL immigrants or from families of illegal immigrants. How do you propose sorting them all out of the Steamboat Springs school district for quick disposal? Um, and the last time I checked....some basic forms of ID are required for enrollment....for example.... a BIRTH CERTIFICATE....

FACT: Many families do NOT speak English at home. It's presumptuous to believe they all speak Spanish at home...as I know at least one family here that speaks French as the primary language. In one grade school in Oregon (where I lived a very long time ago) I distinctly recall the ESL program to be dominated with Vietnamese. Legal immigrants. The primary language at home wasn't Spanish and they didn't cross into this country via the Mexico/US border, either.

FACT: Social Security has been well subsidized by illegal immigrants who will never draw a dime from the system.

FACT: Every person who buys ANYTHING in this community, contributes to the tax base for educational funding.

Your prejudices are hanging out like snot on a cold winter morning after a quick run down the slopes. Chill Dude


Blaming the children and taking it out on them is rather unconscionable. To me, anyway. Even so....I know there are employees of the SS school district who have no qualms whatsoever about "taking it out on the children." Makes me sick. Wish it made more people in this town sick, too. Alas, it doesn't....as citizens like you rise up to the task of "roundin' 'em up and runnin' 'em out of town."

Good luck with that.

Reality being what it is...I'll continue pushing for "doing the right thing", instead.


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