East Grand Schools ready to start next week | SkyHiNews.com

East Grand Schools ready to start next week

Jessica Smith
New Middle Park High School principal Scott Eldred, right, leads staff members in team building exercises on Tuesday morning in Granby. East Grand School District teachers returned to work on Monday in preparation for the first day of the classes on Tuesday, September 1. Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News | Sky-Hi News

Fraser Valley Elementary School has added a third kindergarten class this year to accommodate an influx of students.

The school confirmed 46 incoming kindergarteners, and made the decision to hire a third teacher to avoid any mid-term transitions or changes.

“It was a great problem to have,” said Superintendent Nancy Karas. “I’m glad we were in a position to be proactive.”

Karas expressed further anticipation of the upcoming school year.

“I’m excited to see the progress we’ve made, especially the areas we’ve focused on to close the achievement gap,” said Karas. “We’re starting to see the results.”

The results Karas mentions refer to the schools’ growth in state assessed test scores. The state average is in the 50th percentile, meaning having a median growth percentile of 50 percent. This 50 percent has also been the goal of the East Grand School District for the past two years, and they’ve now reached it.

“In 15 of the 21 measured areas we’ve already exceeded the 50th percentile,” said Karas, “and the others are so close that as a district we’re going to up the target.”

The new goal for this school year will be 60 percent. This means that when measured against other students in Colorado, the East Grand School District students should reach a median growth of 60 percent, exceeding the state expectation by 10 percent.

Karas credits this success to years of careful planning. For the past several years the school district has implemented a strategic efficiency plan. The first aspect of the plan was aligning curriculum to ensure continuity and consistency of all programs, pre-K through 12.

The second aspect involved the use of data to influence decisions, including root cause analysis to identify achievement gaps, and implementing a data-driven instructional planning model.

The plan’s third aspect included intervention responses, improving system structures and support for struggling students. Last year literacy specialists and English language learner specialists were added to the staff.

“The greatest gains proficiency-wise were reached by our non-English speakers,” said Karas. “Curriculum alignment, data analysis and interventions have supported all our kids, especially those sub groups that we weren’t seeing the proficiency levels from that we needed.”

The plan’s success and the district’s new goal have put a positive spin on the upcoming school year.

“My excitement is to keep this momentum going, and to continue to push, helping everyone see that we do have the potential to reach [our goal],” said Karas. “You can sense the [staff] excitement and anticipation. I think it’s going to be a good year.”

School starts Sept. 4

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, the doors of the East Grand School District will open to let in a new batch of students to start the 2012-13 school year, the first time in recent memory classes have started after Labor Day.

Middle Park High School welcomes two new faces this year, with principal Scott Eldred and science teacher Tiffany Short. Family, friends and students are invited to a cook out on Monday, Sept. 10, from 5-7 p.m. at the high school. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be on the grill, and currently enrolled students can attend a free movie put on by the Student Council at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

Registration for East Grand Middle School is Wednesday, Aug. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parents and students can stop by to sign up for athletics, purchase uniforms, fill out required paperwork, and more.

Thursday, Sept. 6, is Back to School Night from 5-7 p.m. New teachers at the middle school this year include Alex Romanyshyn for 7th grade science, Meghann Urewicz for 6th grade math, and Missy Quinn as the new technology teacher.

Granby Elementary will host Meet Your Teachers Night on Wednesday, Aug. 29, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Melissa Lauseng has moved from pre-school to 3rd grade, and is replaced at pre-school by Ashli Osteen. Tanner Denne is the new music teacher, and Katie Alary will be teaching 5th grade. New at the GES principal helm this year will be former Middle Park High School Principal Jane Harmon.

Fraser Valley Elementary offers a Kindergarten Open House on Thursday, Aug. 30, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Back to School night for Fraser Valley Elementary is Thursday, Sept. 13, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. for grades K-2, and from 6:30-7:30 p.m. for grades 3-5. Amy Horton moved from the middle school to teach 5th grade, and is joined by Ann Cain (4th grade), Ann-Margaret Manyak (3rd grade), and Molly Rankin (kindergarten).

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