Steamboat Springs High School junior Halle Bramer works on a Roman history assignment Wednesday. The high school and Steamboat Springs Middle School this week were awarded John Irwin Schools of Excellence awards from the Colorado Department of Education.

Photo by Scott Franz

Steamboat Springs High School junior Halle Bramer works on a Roman history assignment Wednesday. The high school and Steamboat Springs Middle School this week were awarded John Irwin Schools of Excellence awards from the Colorado Department of Education.

Steamboat secondary schools recognized for excellence by state

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— Reading historical accounts of ancient Rome in her world history and literature class Wednesday, Steamboat Springs High School junior Halle Bramer said attending a school the Colorado Department of Education last week named a school of excellence will give her some tangible benefits.

“I know that coming from a high school that receives honors like this could carry more weight getting me into college,” she said.

The Department of Education this week presented the high school and Steamboat Springs Middle School with John Irwin Schools of Excellence awards for academic performance in the 2010-11 school year. The Department of Education issued the award to 150 schools in Colorado that met or exceed state requirements on last school year’s Colorado Student Assessment Program. High schools also must display higher levels of college readiness based on graduation rates and ACT scores to receive the award, according to the Department of Education.

Steamboat Springs High School teacher Sandy Conlon in September started her 41st year with the school district. She said in her classroom Wednesday that three ingredients allowed the district to obtain the award for the fourth time.

“We have fairly bright kids, a good teaching staff and strong community support for everything we do, from athletics to academics,” she said.

Middle school Principal Tim Bishop said he feels some pressure each year to help his school obtain the award it now has received for five consecutive years.

“I also like for our students to feel that pressure and to understand we have high expectations for them,” he said. “We are so proud of our students and our staff, and we take a lot of pride in being successful and being recognized by the state as a great school. We continue to work hard to achieve those results.”

District officials traveled to Denver on Monday to accept the awards along with the state’s highest accreditation rating of accredited with distinction.

Curriculum Director Marty Lamansky, who attended the ceremony with Brad Meeks, commended the district’s staff and students Wednesday for the achievement. He also predicted Steamboat would continue to strive to obtain the distinctions next year.

“I think part of it is that we’re never satisfied with where we are, and we continually try to find how we can push ourselves to the next level because there is always going to be a next level,” he said. “And a large part of the credit of this goes to the support our schools receive from the community.”

High School Principal Kevin Taulman added that the award validates the work of the district’s staff.

“It is just a great honor,” he said. “It shows we’re offering a lot of things in terms of our curriculum, and we have a lot of students coming to us prepared.”

— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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