Grand County schools earn mixed grades in state reports |

Grand County schools earn mixed grades in state reports

Grand County, Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

Granby, Colorado ” East Grand Middle, Fraser Valley Elementary, Grand Lake Elementary, Indian Peaks Charter, Middle Park High and West Grand High have at least one thing in common.

They each received “high” academic performance scores on their 2007-2008 school accountability reports.

The Colorado Department of Education released the scores Dec. 9. Ratings are based on Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) and ACT results ” excellent, high, average, low and unsatisfactory.

Granby Elementary, Indian Peaks Charter (grades 1-5), West Grand Middle and West Grand Elementary received an average rating.

No Grand County schools received an excellent score.

The reports also include new academic growth ratings based on data obtained from the Colorado Growth Model. High, typical and low growth ratings reflect the progress students make toward meeting state standards for proficiency.

West Grand High was the only school to achieve both a “high” academic performance and a “high” academic growth.

Principal Philip Bonds said he is satisfied with student performance and the staff’s guidance.

“Obviously we’re really pleased with the results,” he said. “I’m also real pleased with the support we got from parents and the community.”

Each West Grand teacher meets with their advisory group about three times a year. The staff reviews the test scores and sets goals with each of the students individually.

“It’s really about dialoguing with kids,” Bonds said. “We actually take the time to sit down with kids and go over their test results with them … It actually does a great deal to kind of improve school climate.”

He said they want to celebrate the school’s achievement of advancing from average to high. However, he said there’s still room to improve.

“We look at this as our work is not done,” he said. “We need to keep doing a good job for our kids ” that’s why we’re here.”

East Grand schools

This is the third consecutive year that Middle Park High has received high performance and a low or decline in academic growth.

East Grand Middle School has also achieved a high performance rating for the past three years, along with mixed growth. This year the growth was “typical.”

“We’re happy that we’re high, but we’re not satisfied,” said East Grand Middle School Principal Jeff Verosky. “We’re on our road to where we need to go, but we’re not there yet.”

He said he plans to review and present the results Friday at the district’s staff development day.

“You always want to continue to improve,” Verosky said. “We all work together on accomplishing our goals.”

Fraser Valley Elementary had typical academic growth. For the past three years, it has also had a high academic achievement and growth has either improved or been stable.

Granby Elementary also had a typical growth level and has had average academic performance for the past three years with an improved or stable growth rate.

“We hope to becoming a high achieving school,” said Granby Elementary Principal Andrea Verosky. “With the work we are doing this current year, we’ve looked at our data and with the faculty we are working on our areas of weakness and hope to improve.”

Grand Lake Elementary’s academic growth was not rated because of the class size is not large enough, said Grand Lake Principal Phyllis Price.

The school had an average academic performance and declining growth rate last year, and a high performance and improved growth in 2005-2006.

“We’re happy with the results, but I think we can always strive to do better,” Price said, “and to make sure that kids continue to grow and develop their strength.”

The Indian Peaks Charter School’s first through fifth grades received an average academic score for the past three years. This year it did not receive a growth rating.

Last year the report said academic growth declined and in 2005-2006 it was “significant improvement.”

Indian Peaks Charter School’s sixth through eighth grades have received a high academic performance the past two years. This year it did not have a growth rate listed on the Web site.

“I’m really pleased,” said Indian Peaks Principal Polly Gallagher.

In addition, she said the staff is able to incorporate the subjects such as math, science and history, and that students are figuring out how to do things on their own, rather than being told, especially in math.

West Grand Middle and Elementary schools both received a low academic rating this year. For the past three years academic growth has remained average.

“Of course that’s not where I would like it to be,” said West Grand PK-8 School Principal Kelly Farrell, at the West Grand School District meeting Tuesday, “and that’s not where our teachers would like it to be either.”

She said the move into the PK-8 building and a long testing window may have affected the students’ scores.

“There’s more collaboration going on this year,” she said.

She said they are using Response To Intervention, which is new this year.

“It’s huge,” Farrell said. “The idea behind it is that there is a core team of teachers in your building that serve as your RTI team, and then teachers when they have hit a wall … they will come to their team for help.”

In addition, West Grand PK-8 School has implemented these solutions for improvement: Using data to drive instruction, writing goals at each grade level, grades that administer CSAP are setting class/individual goals, cross curricular instruction at the middle school level, collaboration among grade levels, common planning times, introduction of the growth model, examining new writing curriculum, rearranged staff for better fit, remedial reading 2 days a week sixth through seventh grades.

Other school principals could not be reached by deadline.

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or

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