School board questions need for accreditation

Second review process under discussion

The Moffat County School District Board of Education will have to decide whether to continue with an accreditation review program that recently examined how well Moffat County High School is living up to its stated goals.

"We're looking at our options and what are the pros and cons of going with this system," Superintendent Pete Bergmann told the board at a meeting Thursday.

District officials are weighing whether another accountability review is warranted, given that the district is already required to test its ability to effectively teach students by the federal No Child Left Behind Act and the Colorado State Assessment Program, or CSAP. The district also enforces its own investigation to chart school efficiency in yearly school report cards.

The review of the high school was conducted over a three-day period last fall. Representatives of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement rated the high school's progress on its stated goals and offered recommendations on how to improve.

The high school wants all students to improve math and literacy skills. It also wants to improve communication with students, parents and administration.

The review committee found that although the district has made advances communicating with parents through Parent Accountability Committee (PAC) meetings, the effort could be furthered in a variety of ways. That might include installing an online grading system where parents could log on to check student scores, involving student government more in the decision-making process and developing a plan with school staff on teaching communication skills.

To improve4 students' math comprehension, the review results suggest the high school question its rigor of existing math courses. The test commends the high school for offering teacher collaboration in conjunction with a math improvement plan, but suggests educators be given more time to implement it.

Starting this year, high school educators of similar subjects meet for one period during once-a-week late start days to collaborate on teaching methods or process test scores.

"The 15 one-hour sessions we've had so far are not the time needed to make an impact," High School Principal Jane Krogman told board members. "But do I know how to build more time into the packed schedule?"

The test reported the staff is making an effort to include writing across all curriculum, but noted there is some resistance to including reading and writing in all classes.

District officials haven't decided yet to continue with the bi-yearly NCA testing.

Costs of the testing are about $2,500 a year.

At issue is whether the high school should continue the NCA accreditation review so students can enter some surrounding four-year colleges upon graduation, Krogman said.

Colorado State University requires students from either state or regionally accredited schools. In that instance, students from Moffat County High School would already qualify for college admissions because the district school receives state accreditation through CSAP testing.

The district's choice of accreditation has no bearing on district students getting into Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo.

Montana State University however, only accepts regional accreditation and without it students need a Compass score, a GED or a transcript with documentation, Krogman said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or by email at ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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