Hayden School District creates blueprint for academic achievement | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden School District creates blueprint for academic achievement

Jack Weinstein

— The Hayden School District is creating a plan to improve student achievement.

At Wednesday night's Hayden School Board meeting, Hayden Secondary Schools Principal Troy Zabel presented the Unified Improvement Plan, which is required by the Education Accountability Act of 2009.

"As we go through this process, as painful as this is, it's good," Zabel said, "because we're looking at things we can do to improve achievement."

The act created a new accreditation process. It evaluates whether districts experience academic growth based on certain performance indicators, such as academic achievement, and prepare students for postsecondary education or careers.

The rankings are: accredited with distinction, accredited, accredited with improvement plan and accredited with turnaround plan.

Hayden was given an accredited rank.

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The act also requires each district and school to submit a plan, regardless of accreditation ranking. The plan for the middle school part of Hayden's new 6 through 12 secondary school is due to the state by Jan. 17 for review. The district's plans for the high school portion of the secondary school and Hayden Valley Elementary School are due April 15.

Even though the middle school's plan is due before the high school's, Zabel explained that the framework would be used for the entire 6 through 12 secondary school. He said more than 10 teachers had provided input during weekly meetings of the Secondary Schools.

Zabel said the plan had been divided into three parts: Class­rooms that Work, Ownership in Learning and Professional Learning Communities. Class­rooms that Work is designed to hold teachers accountable. Zabel said the plan redefines and creates new expectations for evaluating teachers.

Ownership in Learning holds students accountable. For example, students would start using planners to help them stay organized. Zabel mentioned the possibility of making a "proficient" score on the Colorado State Assessment Program tests or the state college requirement for the ACT test a graduation requirement.

And Zabel explained that Professional Learning Com­munities would evaluate what students should be learning, while defining ways to monitor progress and intervene if they struggle. He said the district iden­tified writing as an area of improvement and is considering how to better incorporate writing into other assignments.

Zabel said it will take time to implement the plan, but asked whether he and the curriculum team were headed in the right direction.

"I think very much so," School Board President Brian Hoza said. "It's more about motivation and getting buy-in, but I think your team is hitting on the right things."

Hoza added that he looked forward to the opportunity to review the plan in more detail and share it with the community.

Superintendent Mike Luppes said the state would evaluate the plan for the middle school and return it to the district with feedback before it would have to be resubmitted by April 15. School Board members approved the "foundation" of the Unified Improvement Plan on Wednesday night.

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