Gov. Bill Owens and Commissioner of Education William Moloney believe the Colorado Public School System is in a crisis.
To combat bad publicity surrounding public schools, the Moffat County School District Board of Education agreed with a plan that will keep tabs on students' results on assessment tests. School district Director of Curriculum and Staff Development Janet Bohart unveiled the plan that will electronically track scores on tests such as the CSAP and TerraNova, allowing for quick reference of the increase or decrease in a student's score.
Board of Education members and Superintendent Duane Wrightson were enthusiastic about the plan. They agreed with Bohart's comment of the plan being a "giant step forward for the district." In response to claims of public schools being in a crisis and not working to remedy the situation, Wrightson responded, "Don't give me that. We are working hard and improving. This is accountability and it will tell each parent where their child is at."
The plan will incorporate technology by having all students' scores mapped out from the first time they take an assessment test until the last time.
Bohart believes the plan is "more valid than report cards" because "report cards don't always reflect what a student has really learned."
"Assessment is a tool teachers, parents and administrators can use," Bohart said.
Bohart has been working with a team since last year preparing the system and the group is working out the final details. School board members believe this is in line with the governor's plan for education.
"This is meaningful education reform," board member John Kinkaid said.
According to Bohart, the school district will begin complying reading scores and then work into math and other areas.
In another move to improve, the board decided to continue referring to goals they set during a workshop mediated by Aspen Group International, Inc. During the workshop, which was the first for four of the school board members because they were elected last year, the board came up with a vision statement: "As a result of our efforts, students will maximize their achievement and unique, individual gifts to pursue the future of their choice."
The board wants students to possess the following skills:
Citizenship: Understand, respect, protect and take responsibility for their community and their world by exhibiting good citizenship and exercising good stewardship of natural resources.
Academic achievement: Be highly literate and numerate by reading, writing, computing and communicating.
Life skills: Have the skills to lead independent and contributing lives by communicating, cooperating as part of a team, accessing information, being responsible citizens, displaying good work ethics, being productive, being independent thinkers and utilizing technology to access information.
Personal skills: Possessing the personal attitudes and skills to succeed in their lives by encouraging good character, and demonstrating mutual respect, self-respect and confidence, and competitive and cooperative skills, as appropriate.
Well-rounded individuals: Be well-rounded individuals, prepared to enjoy the breadth of life through art, music, physical health and well being and avocations.
Kinkaid hopes referring to the goals will help the board measure success.
"I don't want to see the goals collect dust," he said.