Report: Moffat County School District remains average

Four Moffat County schools showed improvement in student achievement, according to accountability reports released last week. But the school district remains "average."

School Superintendent Pete Bergmann said officials expected the results but that they don't necessarily reflect improvement schools are seeing on test scores.

"We would've liked to have more schools in the high zone, but our (test) scores are increasing in most areas and in most schools," he said.

School accountability reports are compiled by the state based on Colorado Student Assessment Program and ACT scores.

"While we recognize (Colorado Student Assessment Program tests) as an important indicator of school success, they aren't the only indicator of our school success," Bergmann said.

Schools will send the reports home with students in kindergarten through sixth grade and mail them to parents of students in grades 7 to 12, after the district receives copies from the state.

The report gives parents a variety of information, including academic rankings, school staffing, the professional experience of teachers, the student-per-teacher ratio, salary data, attendance and discipline issues.

Academically, schools are ranked excellent, high, average, low or unsatisfactory.

The top 8 percent of schools in the state receive an excellent rating. The next 25 percent receive high ratings and about 40 percent of schools statewide are considered average.

Only one Moffat County School -- Maybell Elementary -- received the highest ranking, which earned the school the John Irwin Schools of Excellence award.

Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School charted a decline in academic ratings, though both charted "average" scores in 2004.

This is the first year the Dinosaur Community Charter school was eligible for ranking. School officials said they're not surprised by the school's low ranking. They said they expected such a ranking for the school's first year. Students had only attended a short while before taking the state test, Principal Dana Forbes said.

According to the Colorado Department of Education Web site, school rankings help educators focus on schools that need the most help and resources. The report also gives parents and the community a statewide measurement on the school's overall academic performance and a history of the school's improvement.

The process for measuring a school's academic growth changed this year, Bergmann said. Instead of comparing one eighth-grade class to another, improvement is now based on how the same group of students performs each year.

"We're showing growth in our academic achievement throughout the district," Bergmann said. "We believe we have above-average schools, but in this indicator, our schools are generally average."

Bergmann said the district rarely receives feedback after school accountability reports are released.

"It's a lot of information thrown at parents," he said. "It's sometimes overwhelming and hard to understand."

The school accountability report also tracks school safety and discipline.

Craig's three elementary schools reported no misconduct incidents for the 2004-05 school year. There were 62 incidents resulting in suspension at Craig Intermediate school, compared with 38 reported in 2004.

Although showing improvement, Craig Middle School had the most disciplinary actions --6 compared with 126 reported for the school year before. Nine of the school's violations were related to drugs. The remaining violations involved behavior.

At Moffat County High School, there were 49 drug- and alcohol-related complaints, two reports of dangerous weapons and 27 behavioral issues during the 2004-05 school year.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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