'Strong gains' achieved

Accreditation report commends Moffat County schools

Officials with the Colorado Department of Education had a lot of good and very little bad to say about the Moffat County School District.

In a report issued renewing the district's accreditation -- the result of an on-site visit from CDE officials in May -- the district received 10 commendations and a single recommendation.

"It was exactly what we expected," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said. "It was very similar to what the exit report indicated it would be."

Accreditation, CDE Regional Manager Morris Danielson said in May, was not based on a single indicator -- test scores, for example -- rather, it took several factors into consideration.

Evaluators look at 11 indicators during accreditation, including the district's educational improvement plan, CSAP performance and goals, student achievement, student progress, communication with parents, safe schools policies and compliance with budgeting and accounting requirements.

But what the state is looking for, Morris said, was reasonable progress in time.

The school district has shown that, according to the report.

"A comparison of Moffat County School District student performance on the 2001 and 2002 baseline CSAP tests reveals that five of eight scores are higher in reading, five of eight scores are higher in writing, and all six of six scores are higher in math," the report states.

For Moffat County, the weighted index for all students -- created using CSAP scores -- increased from 0.75 in 2002 to 0.81 in 2004 in reading. The state level is 0.79. In writing, Moffat County's weighted index increased from 0.67 to 0.71 compared with the state's 0.77. Math performance also increased from 0.38 in 2002 to 0.51 in 2004. The state math index was 0.56 in 2004.

"Clearly the district is making strong academic gains in all content areas," the report states. "The increasing weighted indices reveal that the district is making more than one year of progress for one year in school. This is commendable growth."

The district also was commended for recognizing the needs of a growing population of students for which English is not its primary language and the use of parent surveys to facilitate communication.

The one recommendation was for the district continue to close achievement gaps between white and Hispanic students and between males and females.

"We are aware of those issues and are working toward solutions," Bergmann said. "We just started to look at the gender gap and analyze the date to see where that gap is -- what grade levels and content areas. This gap is fairly new to us.

"We're pleased with the progress and with our achievement, but we're always looking to do better," Bergmann said.

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