Steamboat Springs School District will apply for state testing waiver | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs School District will apply for state testing waiver

Teresa Ristow

— The Steamboat Springs School Board Monday unanimously voted in favor of applying for a waiver from a portion of a state assessment students are scheduled to take as soon as early March.

The district will ask for a waiver from the Colorado Department of Education to allow third to eighth graders to opt out of English and math tests that are a part of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

"We're sending a message that we have a system with problems, and hopefully, the senators and legislators address that," board member Joey Andrew said.

The Colorado State Board of Education voted 4-3 Jan. 8 to allow school districts to apply for the waiver, but whether the waivers will be approved is still in question.

The state's education commissioner has said that he is waiting for direction from the Colorado Attorney General’s office before he approves the waivers, according to Superintendent Brad Meeks.

Up until the district is granted a waiver, staff will plan to take the PARCC assessments, Meeks said.

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"Until we get the waiver, we will still plan to take the test," Meeks said.

Meeks said that administrators met last week to discuss the waiver, and they also were in favor of applying for it.

"Administratively we feel that we still need to continue sending the message to the legislature that they need to do something about the current assessment situation and provide some relief to school districts," Meeks said.

Meeks said the district wasn't against having some assessments but that teachers also need adequate time for instruction.

"We're not anti-assessment, we're just trying to find that balance," Meeks said. "We're getting overwhelmed with more and more assessments."

Director of Teaching and Learning Marty Lamansky said applying for the waiver would serve as a political statement of the district's beliefs.

"We're going on record and saying that's what we believe, that something has to be done," Lamansky said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

School board work session recap:

Math program: The school board heard a report on district math programs, including highlights of the math curriculum from Director of Teaching and Learning Marty Lamansky and three math teachers. The district is excelling at integrating technology and online options to deliver math instruction but could focus more on interventions to better identify students who are struggling as well as those with high math abilities.

Charter schools: The school board listened to a presentation from officials with the North Routt Community Charter School. The charter for the 88-student school is up for renewal this year, something the board will consider at an upcoming meeting.

The board also heard from a steering committee for a proposed Mountain Montessori Charter School. District officials previously stated their intention to release interest in holding the school’s charter.

Leadership training: The board participated in its third and final leadership training session with Steve Muntean, of the Muntean Leadership Group.