Routt County schools meet requirements in Adequate Yearly Progress report

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The Steamboat Springs School District will provide a full 2007 Adequate Yearly Progress report, available for download from the district's Web site, in December.

— The Steamboat Springs School District met all 60 indicators for adequate yearly progress as set forth by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"We did the best we could possibly do," said JoAnne Hilton-Gabeler, the district's director of curriculum and development.

The district this week released a preliminary Adequate Yearly Progress report. The report is how the federal government measures the achievement of schools, districts and states based on NCLB law.

"They are looking at reading and math, and they disaggregate - like disabilities and English Language Learners," said Hilton-Gabeler, who noted the AYP measures the participation rate in the Colorado Student Assessment Program, academic performance and graduation rates. All subgroups must meet statewide reading and math targets determined by the federal government.

The district had little room for improvement from last year, when the four Steamboat Springs schools met all their performance targets. However, Steamboat Springs Middle School did not meet the math participation requirement last year.

Middle School Principal Tim Bishop said a high number of ELL students did not take the CSAP test in 2005, which dropped the school below the 95 percent participation threshold for last year's report.

"We opted them out of taking it," Bishop said. "It affects us negatively because of the score, but it doesn't make sense for students who have less than three years of English language experience to take the CSAP tests."

Colorado law enables districts to substitute the CSAP test with a Colorado English Language Assessment test, which shows a student's growth in the English language.

"The national government will count that as a legitimate substitute test," he said. "In reading last year, they counted it, but there is no comparable test in math. Since they didn't take the CSAP (for math), we were docked."

Bishop noted that despite the lack of ELL participation in 2005, the school had a 94.5 percent participation rate.

"Had one ELL kid taken the math test, the district would have been at 100-percent compliance," said Hilton-Gabeler.

The Colorado Legislature changed the accountability law in the spring to exempt ELL students from math participation requirements.

"They realized it was crazy they are docking those schools because of those kids," Bishop said. "This year, we made it at 99 percent participation as it is, so we would have made it anyways."

Although the school did not pass AYP last year, the school was rated as "School of Excellence" by the state.

"We are one of the top five schools in the state in reading, and we are possibly the top school in the state in mathematics this year," he said. "Parents know the quality of the school and our achievement, so it didn't really matter much last year what the AYP said."

South Routt School District Superintendent Kelly Reed said the district met all AYP indicators.

"I think it's a continuation of the fine work our district does in preparing our students," he said.

Hayden School District students also met all AYP indicators.

"What (meeting the indicators) does is that it shows how the schools are progressing," said School Board President Brian Hoza.

"It is critical to see how students are progressing from year to year, rather than where they are currently at," he said. "This is a significant assessment of school accountability, and I think it shows the quality of education the students in our district receive."

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