State accredits district

County School Board certifies all schools

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The Colorado Department of Education accredited all of Moffat County's schools, the School Board announced Thursday evening. The School Board also accredited all of its own schools.

The state accreditation report for 2005-06 commends the district on communication of goals, teacher compensation and training opportunities, effective data storage and distribution, leadership and relationships with other community agencies.

The report indicates the district needs to continue testing students on social studies and science -- areas not tested by the Colorado Student Assessment Program -- and include CSAP results in the district's annual report for this school year.

The report identified gaps in reading, writing and math achievement.

However, weighted math scores have increased by 22 points district-wide from 2002 to 2006, and by 27 points for Hispanic students.

"I think that definitely shows that the work we've put into that area is paying off," board member Andrea Camp said.

The board on Thursday approved accrediting the district's schools, upon the School Accountability Committee's recommendations.

Chairwoman Tammy Villard said committee members visited East, Maybell, Ridgeview and Sunset elementary schools and met with principals about self-appraisals of the schools' progress.

"It was a lot of fun," Villard said. "We all had a really good time. It was nice to see the kids in their learning environment."

Villard presented the following reports of the schools:

East

Villard said East makes use of technology and thinks "outside the box."

"The principal at East (Diana Cook) was phenomenal with her paperwork," Villard said.

The committee recommended the school increase its community involvement so there is more buy-in with fundraisers and ballot questions. Villard said schools can market themselves like a business through newspaper and radio outlets.

Ridgeview/Maybell

Villard said the committee was impressed the school met its goals for last year.

"That was a big accomplishment," she said.

Villard said Ridgeview has a larger population of students with special needs, making them a leader in the county in that area. However, the committee said the school would like more volunteers for its swimming program through physical education classes.

Sunset

Villard praised Sunset for being a quiet and well-organized school with an emphasis on small-group learning. She did recognize a need to hire additional enrichment teachers at the school.

"I think the schools did a good job meeting a lot of their goals, and we're on track," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said.

Schools are evaluated with on-site visits once every three years, but the district accredits all schools each year. Craig Intermediate, Craig Middle and Moffat County High schools are on a different schedule from the elementary schools.

The state accreditation report is the most comprehensive of three evaluators of district progress.

The district met 78 of 82 Annual Yearly Progress goals for 2005-06.

All district schools received an "average" rating on School Accountability reports for the year.

Bergmann said the accreditation report would be sent to parents in January and soon posted on the district's Web site, www.moffatsd.org.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

The School Board:

  • Accepted unanimously a draft of an audit report by Greg Hamilton and Pam Taylor of Craig-based Gregory Hamilton CPA. Hamilton said he included an item shown as accounts receivable for $57,309, the total allegedly embezzled from the high school activities fund. Hamilton said he listed in the audit that the school formerly known as Dinosaur Community Charter School may be in violation of state statute because the school spent more than budgeted, $26,703. Hamilton said the expense is not the district's liability. Superintendent Pete Bergmann said the audit reflects the board's budget plan within $25,000. The board will vote on the final report in January.
  • Approved unanimously a first reading on changes to a policy regarding cancellation of employment. The changes coincide with state language and statutes.

Bergmann said seniority would remain the main factor in maintaining employment.

The due process policy, based on the Colorado Association of School Boards' recommendation, would become a regulation and would not need to be brought before the board for changes. School Board President JoAnn Baxter said she would prefer to keep due process in policy, so it is not changed with future boards without public input and a board vote.

  • Discussed the school calendars. Bergmann said teachers are currently able to complete a survey about three choices for the calendar.

The first calendar is the same as this year's. The second offers a five-day fall break at the beginning of October, a four-day weekend on President's Day and a three-day weekend in April following Colorado Student Assessment Program testing.

The third calendar includes the additional days off but has different start and end dates. Thus far, Bergmann said the second calendar is the top pick. The survey will be open to parents' and community members' input in January.

  • Heard a report from the finance committee, which has created a proposal to fund the state's 10 percent lowest funded school districts. If the state accepted the proposal, it would cost $21 million. Bergmann said State Rep. Al White is gauging support for the proposal and will introduce the bill.
  • Heard a report from the communication committee. The committee is scheduling meetings with schools and preparing the quarterly newsletter.
  • Heard reports from several board members about the CASB conference, which took place earlier this month. Bergmann reported a research study shows leadership in school districts lead to students' academic success. Board member Sandie Johns said she attended a workshop on at-risk youth, and was pleased that the district already has most programs discussed in the workshop. Bergmann and Johns reported on a health plan company that offers reduced deductibles for employees with healthy lifestyles, from which the district is requesting quotes. Bergmann said he communicated with Sterling school officials about their mill levy efforts.
  • Approved unanimously certifying the mill levy. The mill levy for 2006 was 25.736 mills, an almost 2 mill decrease from 2005. School district officials said funding for the district has remained the same, but mills have been decreasing, and taxpayers are paying less each year.
  • Thanked Director of Budget and Finance Mike Brinks for his service. Brinks is retiring Dec. 31.
  • Appointed unanimously the employee who will replace Brinks as the board treasurer. The board has not yet hired a replacement for Brinks.
  • Adjourned to executive session to address Bergmann's evaluation.

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