Photo by John F. Russell
Science teacher Cindy Gay works with students Tari Weekslynn and Quinn Cain during an Advanced Placement biology class Tuesday at Steamboat Springs High School. The Steamboat Springs School District has been accredited with distinction by the state for the third year in a row.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
1. Accredited with distinction
3. Accredited with improvement plan
4. Accredited with priority improvement plan
5. Accredited with turnaround plan
3. Priority improvement
Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School District can continue to tout having the state's highest academic accreditation rating.
For the third school year in a row, the Colorado Department of Education has graded the district as “accredited with distinction.”
Steamboat likely is to be among a small group of districts who earn the title for the 2011-12 school year performance when the accreditation ratings are finalized by the Department of Education in December.
Only 18 of Colorado's 178 school districts were "accredited with distinction" in the 2010-11 school year.
“It's just an incredible accomplishment for the district,” Superintendent Brad Meeks said Tuesday. “I think it's a tribute to the professionalism of the staff, who continue to find ways to improve. I think it's also reflective of our use of data and how we're using that data to get better as a school district and to really focus on the individual student.”
Each year, the Department of Education accredits districts based on their students' academic growth and how well they prepare students for a career or postsecondary education after high school, measures that are determined by students' scores on the Transitional Colorado Student Assessment Program and ACT.
Each school in the district also is graded for its performance.
For the 2011-12 school year, all of Steamboat's schools earned the highest possible performance rating.
“It's again a confirmation that we are doing the right things,” Steamboat Curriculum Director Marty Lamansky said about the accreditation. “And the fact that our scores are continually improving shows we're not complacent, and we continue to find those areas we need to improve, and we are improving.”
He added the data that accompanies the accreditation rating showed Steamboat students maintained their academic growth scores from the previous year while they saw gains in the postsecondary readiness category that is measured by graduation rates and ACT scores.
Lamansky said he is excited about earning the top accreditation rating, but he also is starting to identify areas where the district can improve its performance.
“There are still those subpopulations (of students), such as our English language learners and our special education population, where we need to work on their growth,” he said. “We also need to work on our students' math and science.”
In Hayden, Superintendent Mike Luppes said his district again has been rated as “accredited,” the second-highest grade out of five the state can give a district. He said the elementary and high school campus were rated as “performance” schools, while the middle school was rated one step below as an “improvement” school.
In South Routt, Superintendent Scott Mader said his district's three-year march to being “accredited with distinction” will continue another year. Like Hayden, Soroco earned the “accredited” rating. Soroco's secondary schools earned the “performance” rating, and the elementary school was rated as an “improvement” school.
“I'm pretty pleased with how this whole thing came out this year,” Mader said. “We want to be one of the top 10 percent of the districts in the state. (Being 'accredited with distinction') is one indicator we are doing good things here, and if people send their students to the South Routt School District, they're going to get one of the best educations in the state.”
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com