‘Report cards’ give Grand County schools mixed grades | SkyHiNews.com

‘Report cards’ give Grand County schools mixed grades

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

The results for the latest statewide “school report card” for the East Grand School District were a mixed bag again this year with some good results as well as some areas of concern.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Robb Rankin briefly discussed the annual School Accountability Reports (SAR) which are produced by the Colorado Department of Education.

The SAR reports rate each school academically with scores of Excellent, High, Average, Low and Unsatisfactory based upon its CSAP and ACT scores. The reports also give a growth score for the progress made by continuing students over the previous year’s results.

In the latest SAR report for the 2006-07 school year, the results in the East Grand schools were:

– Fraser Valley Elementary earned a High rating with a Stable growth score, compared to the previous SAR’s High with Improving growth.

– Granby Elementary had an Average rating, but earned an Improved growth score. In its last SAR, its growth was rated at Stable.

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– Grand Lake Elementary posted an Average rating and received a Decline for growth. This followed the last report’s High and Improving score.

– East Grand Middle School, which had a High and Decline score in its previous report, earned a High and Stable score in this year’s SAR.

– Middle Park High School scored a High and Decline for the second consecutive year.

– Indian Peaks Charter School (elementary) had an Average rating with a Decline for growth in comparison with its last report that was Average with Significant Improvement.

– Indian Peaks Charter School (grades 6-8) posted a major improvement. In its last SAR, it scored Low and Significant Decline, but in this year’s report, it rose to High and Significant Improvement.

With a day to mull the results, Rankin on Wednesday said he is “proud of the efforts of the students, staff and community to support high educational standards for a first-class education.”

However, he said the latest results raised some important concerns.

“We have to change the districtwide pattern of the last two years of a slow decline in our results,” Rankin said.

Three factors were probably the reason for this decline in results, Rankin explained. These are staff experience and stability, changing student population, and different curriculum and instruction.

“We’ve had a number of first-year teachers enter the district and they are teaching core content areas,” he said. “Our student enrollment has also been undergoing shifts. And both our teachers and students are trying to adjust to a new elementary math curriculum.”

Rankin expressed the belief that the decline in results can be halted.

“I think what we can do as a school system is to address those areas where improvement can occur,” he said. “We need to focus on writing, inquiry-based instruction and our staff’s stability.”

Other school board business

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board approved the bond issuance parameters resolution. This authorized the sale of the $18.25 million in bonds approved by voters in the Nov. 6 election.

The proceeds from the bond will fund the following school construction projects:

– Fraser Valley Elementary ” Add seven classrooms, allowing it to have three classes per grade level and space for a preschool. A remodeling of the building’s entryway will increase its security. Cost, $3,351,218.

– Granby Elementary ” Add six classrooms, allowing it to have three classes per grade level and expand its lunchroom. A remodeling of the building’s entryway will increase its security. Cost is $4,092,258.

– Middle Park High School ” Add six classrooms including a science lab; expand the gymnasium; expand the commons/lunchroom area; relocate the office area to the front of the building for purposes of building security and controlled access; and improve the lighting and sound system in the auditorium. Cost is $9,139,195.

As part of the total $18.25 million bond package, the remaining $1,437,329 will cover other project costs.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board certified the 2008 mill levy on property for the district. It was set at 20.773 mills, which was a rise of .33 mill over the previous year.

Because of the increasing size of the preschool enrollment and the multiple tasks those teachers have to handle, the board approved the administration’s request to hire one more preschool teacher for the remainder of the 2007-08 school year.

The search for a new superintendent was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. The company hired to conduct the search is reporting that it has already received a dozen applications with more expected this month.

Related to the superintendent search, the board voted to move its second January meeting from the 13th to the 22nd. During the week of January 13th, the district will be conducting extensive interviews with the top candidates for the superintendent’s job.

The search for a new superintendent is now under way because Rankin, who is in his 12th year as superintendent, plans to retire at the end of this school year.

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