North Routt Community Charter School middle school teacher Brandon LaChance leads a class Jan. 4. The charter school earned a 2011 Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award from the state because of the academic performance of its middle school students on standardized tests.

Photo by Scott Franz

North Routt Community Charter School middle school teacher Brandon LaChance leads a class Jan. 4. The charter school earned a 2011 Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award from the state because of the academic performance of its middle school students on standardized tests.

North Routt Community Charter School earns prestigious award

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— North Routt Community Charter School learned last week that its small group of middle school students earned the campus a prestigious state recognition with its performance on last year’s Colorado Student Assessment Program.

The Colorado Department of Education announced the charter school was one of 192 campuses in Colorado to receive a 2011 Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award that is given to schools where students show the highest levels of improvement in their standardized test scores.

“It shows our kids are definitely progressing and improving academically and doing very well,” School Director Colleen Poole said about the achievement.

Brandon LaChance, a middle school teacher at the campus in Clark, said the school next month will host a moonlight ski party and sleepover for the middle school students to celebrate their achievement.

“This is an award the whole school should celebrate,” LaChance said. “It’s a testament to the kindergarten teachers. It’s a testament to the third- and fourth-grade teachers. It’s a testament to everybody here and also our community. The award puts our school on the map.”

LaChance said that the school, which had about 21 middle school students last school year, works with less funding than public and private schools and that the award is proof the campus’ students are performing at a higher academic level.

“I was super excited to learn we got this,” he said. “I was super excited for the whole school. Eight years ago, these kids started at a school they didn’t know would continue, and just over a month ago, we moved into a brand new building.”

The middle school teacher added that he is passionate about the work the tight-knit teaching community has accomplished. LaChance arrives at the school before 7 a.m. each day so he can meet with students who need extra help with homework an hour before the start of classes.

“They can always knock on the side door and get some individual help,” he said.

The charter school also is seeking funds from the Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board to further support staff and curriculum development.

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

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