Moffat County School District administrators said recent school scores in the 2010 Performance Framework Reports are not where they’d like them to be. Administrators and school board members are scheduled to discuss an improvement plan during a Jan. 21 board retreat.

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Moffat County School District administrators said recent school scores in the 2010 Performance Framework Reports are not where they’d like them to be. Administrators and school board members are scheduled to discuss an improvement plan during a Jan. 21 board retreat.

Assistant superintendent reflects on Moffat County School district’s performance scores

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Results

Percentages awarded to Moffat County schools by the state department of education in the 2010 Performance Framework Report:

(School - 2010 score - three-year average)

• East - 61.1 percent - 61.5 percent

• Ridgeview - 45 percent - 50.2 percent

• Sunset - 41.7 percent - 47.9 percent

• Sandrock - 25.1 percent - 42.2 percent

• CMS - 53 percent - 51.7 percent

• MCHS - 53.4 percent - 52.9 percent

• Moffat County School District - 54.6

percent - 55.8 percent

For more information on the report and local results, visit www.schoolview.co...

Christine Villard, assistant superintendent of the Moffat County School District, put a fine point on her district’s results in the 2010 Performance Framework Reports.

“Our scores are not where we want them to be,” she said. “We need to be performing better.”

The reports, which are generated by the Colorado Department of Education, were released at the end of 2010 and are posted for public viewing at www.schoolview.com, a website the Department of Education maintains.

The 2010 report states the Moffat County School District, as a whole, earned 54.6 percent of eligible points.

The district’s combined elementary schools earned 40 percent, Craig Middle School earned 53 percent and Moffat County High School earned 53.4 percent.

Individual scores for the elementary schools varied.

East Elementary School led the way with 61.1 percent. Ridgeview Elementary School came next with 45 percent, followed by Sunset Elementary School at 41.7 percent.

Sandrock Elementary School was last with 25.1 percent.

Results for Maybell Elementary School were not available on schoolview.com.

The Moffat County School District is in the 21st percentile in the state, according to the results.

School scores fall into four categories.

Those that earn 59 percent or higher are designated as performance schools; schools between 47 and 58 percent are improvement schools; those between 37 and 46 percent are priority improvement schools; and schools that earn less than 37 percent are considered turnaround.

However, schools are grouped into these categories based on three-year averages rather than one individual year.

Good and bad news can be taken from the scores, Villard said.

First, however, Villard cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the performance of Moffat County schools, especially when compared to neighboring school districts.

Interpreting the scores and putting them into perspective can be difficult, she said.

“It’s very complex,” she said. “And, even when you go on (schoolview.com) and you try to get an apples-to-apples comparison … we’re not always comparing apples to apples.”

Student populations like minorities, English Language Learners, economically disadvantaged and disabled learners — groups that traditionally perform lower than the general student population — complicate comparisons to nearby school districts, Villard said.

“If those groups are small, then those (scores) are not figured into the calculation,” Villard said. “So, in some of the smaller schools, (the special populations) aren’t factored into the calculation.

“So, it’s not always comparing apples to apples.”

For that reason, Villard said it makes more sense to compare Moffat County’s performance to school districts from around the state rather than districts closer to home.

“Comparing us to other schools in the valley is not an apples-to-apples comparison,” she said. “Comparing us to schools like Alamosa, Littleton, Delta, Montrose and Cortez is closer to an apples-to-apples comparison.”

Villard said a more illuminating comparison can be drawn right here at home.

“What we need to do is compare ourselves to ourselves,” she said. “How are we doing from one year to the next? What are our trends? Are we going up, or are we going down?

“The state of Colorado is going down and we’re going up.”

Another complicated aspect of the scores deals with growth, Villard said.

The Department of Education gives more weight to student growth than student achievement when averaging scores.

“East (Elementary) has lower (test) scores than Ridgeview (Elementary) and Sunset (Elementary),” Villard said. “But, East continues to be way out in the forefront for growth.”

As a result, East Elementary earned more points than elementary schools with higher-performing students.

“So, you have to analyze (the data) from many different angles so you can find those things that are working well,” Villard said.

One conclusion Villard draws from the reports comes from the district’s high school students.

MCHS scores are uniformly better than middle or elementary school students. Villard attributes this trend to teacher collaborative time.

Collaborative time, or “early release,” occurs every Friday. Students are sent home early and teachers get together to discuss issues and strategies.

Starting this year, all schools in the district have collaborative time. However, MCHS is in its third year of collaboration.

“Those teachers have had an opportunity to look at data, to look at standards, to look at testing, and to come together every week and talk about kids,” Villard said of MCHS collaborative time. “They have really focused on writing, and our (Colorado Student Assessment Program) scores in writing have gone up significantly.”

Villard said collaborative time has been controversial among some teachers and parents, but it’s worthwhile.

“It’s one of the highest impact things we can do. Teachers just need time,” she said. “Now, all fifth-grade teachers can finally talk to each other. And, all fourth-grade teachers can finally talk to each other.”

Villard said teachers discuss the best ways to teach the state’s clearly defined curriculum. It allows teachers to be better aligned.

Villard said alignment is critical to raising scores. But, alignment doesn’t mean teachers have to set aside their unique talents.

“Tight curricular alignment is the ‘what’ — what has to be taught,” she said. “The state has specifically said, ‘Kids need to know these things in first grade.’…They’re very specific. So that’s the ‘what.’

“The ‘how’ is where the creativity and art of teaching can come in. … So, the only thing that is tight is the ‘what.’ The ‘how’ is left up to individual talent, skill and creativity.”

Villard said the state’s emphasis on measuring schools’ performance is appropriate and works.

“Since No Child Left Behind and CSAPs have come into place, it has raised our awareness significantly as to where our students are performing,” she said. “ … No Child Left Behind has been a good thing. It’s been a painful thing, but it’s also helping us to focus on the right instruction for students and what we should be doing.”

In Colorado, all schools are required to submit action plans designed to raise scores to the state. However, the severity of those plans depends on scores.

For example, East Elementary, which is required to submit a performance plan, bears a lesser burden than Sandrock Elementary, which is required to submit a priority improvement plan, according to schoolview.com.

Villard said low scores at Sandrock weren’t a surprise, considering it’s the newest elementary school in the district.

“We knew that first year would be a tough year,” Villard said. “It was a transition for staff. It was a transition for students. It was a transition for families. That just disrupts the whole system.

“When you do a transition that’s that big, that global, you know your scores are going to drop. … That’s why we know their scores will go up.”

One of the measures for improving Sandrock Elementary will be increased testing throughout the year.

“The more you’re at risk, the more you’re assessed to see if you’re heading in the right direction and going to meet your target,” she said. “It’s data-based decision-making. We adjust the instruction based on what the data is telling us.”

Villard said the higher scrutiny can be intimidating at first, but it is ultimately helpful.

“Initially, it’s very scary,” she said. “It’s very frightening to look at data while you’re sitting beside your colleagues. But, teachers are just like anyone else. As soon they see the scores and the results, they’re vested.

“They want their kids to do well.”

Villard said she hopes the reports have the same effect on the community.

“I would hope people start asking good questions,” she said. “What does this mean? Why doesn’t this group perform well? How do we compare to the state? That’s really good.”

In addition to asking questions of educators and administrators, Villard said she hopes parents share in student learning.

“One of the biggest keys of student performance is parent involvement,” she said. “The one last piece — the final frontier to conquer — is getting parents more engaged and involved in their children’s learning. That makes a huge difference.”

Villard said school district administrators’ next step will be to host a school board retreat Jan. 21.

“We’re going to talk more in-depth about the unified improvement plan,” Villard said.

The retreat will include a joint session between the Craig City Council and Moffat County School Board, and also include preliminary budget discussions for the 2011-12 school year.

The retreat is open to the public.

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Comments

onewhocares 3 years, 11 months ago

This issue hit me particularly hard, when my 20 year old daughter graduated MCHS in 2006, with very high grades and with a scientific achievement award, yet struggled her first year at CSU, in a few of her classes. Then I began seeing how many of her classmates that were good students here dropped out of college all together because they couldn't hack it. It broke my heart. I was so concerned about this, I made my 17 yr old son, go over to Steamboat Springs High School the beginning of his 11th grade for two reasons: 1st to see if he could keep his high grades he had here in a more competitive (or rather demanding) school & 2ndly, to force him into an uncomfortable situation or setting, so he would have to learn to adapt to new situations, in preparation for college. Fortunately, he achieved both & I am now letting him return to MCHS to finish school with his friends. BUT, what I have learned from Steamboat is that they don't get higher scores & more respect than MCHS because of their high income, rather very simply - they expect a whole lot more from ALL their students, high income or not. They push the kids & treat each one as if they will go on to higher learning. Here, we've lowered our standards to accommodate kids that don't try, so as to not leave them behind, enabling their very poor learning habits & desperately hurting the majority that want to go on-sabotaging their success. Instead, we should be pushing every single student (as a number of high publicized schools now do in the inner cities) with tons of support & encouragement & with the attitude "we will succeed no matter what." And rather the parents like it or not, means lots of homework & studying & not enabling the students who are too stoned or drunk to study. If they don't want to be there to learn, they need to leave & let them learn the consequences of a life without an education. Their choice shouldn't be hurting the kids that really want to make a difference. A high school's job is to prepare the kids to be able to go on to the outside world, which means tons of studying, stiff competition, the ability to accept people that live differently & holding kids responsible for addictions & negative behavior, not pretending the problems don't exist. MCHS, has wonderful teachers, but the Administration needs to let them do their job, and push the kids as hard as they can so more will succeed in college & in life outside of Moffat County. To you Administration: Empower your teachers and have faith in the students - make them work & be proud of what they've accomplished. Get rid the kids that don't want to learn. Raise the standards for everyone, because all the awesome teachers & students deserve it !!!! Too many wonderful MCHS students have dropped out of college which should have never happened.

Sincerely,

Kerrie Clarke

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onewhocares 3 years, 11 months ago

Kids are just the BEST and deserve to be given the best opportunities for success. It's up to us parents to be strong with a firm grasp on right & wrong & the schools to enforce that. We, as a society destroy our children by enabling them or making excuses for their very negative life choices, esp. by holding the majority back to make the minority few feel "okay." when their behavior & actions are NOT okay For the kids with learning disabilities or language barriers, the schools need to make separate classes for them, in the attempt to catch them up to the rest of the class, not hold up the rest of the class waiting for them to catch up. There is a very fast, competitive world out there & professors at colleges aren't going to slow down their classes cause we're from Moffat or can't read as good as others. Harsh but very true.

Every child has a special gift or trait, and it's up to the parents & schools to see that and foster each and every child , yet be firm & strong & brutally honest at times, especially when discussing with the children, the outcome of very unhealthy life choices, because a lot of kids don't have parents that find the time or love to tell them. They often have to figure it out themselves with very bad consequences.

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colorado_22 3 years, 11 months ago

Kerrie, great response, thank you for standing up for those of us who actually do care about our future. I am in my early 20's, and I went from high school right to college (to CSU also) and it was the largest challenge I have ever faced. I was a straight A' high school student who did extra-curriculars, and I was in shock, and felt completely unprepared for college. I made it 2 years, then had to leave to obtain full-time employment. Now that it has been a couple years since I first went to college, I have thought about why it was such a desperate struggle for me, as I have always eased through the education process. I determined my reason for such struggle was that high school was way too easy, and prepared me for nothing beyond that diploma. Such a shame. As someone who had the same experience as your daughter (and many others), I can say that the comments you made were absolutely correct, and thanks again for standing up for those of us who actually worked hard our whole adolescent lives for a brighter future.

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onewhocares 3 years, 11 months ago

What a beautiful person you are Colorado _22 !! It saddens me to hear your story, esp. since I've heard it so much now. Your introspection is awesome & I'm sure you'll do great when you go back for a second try. Front Range Community College has some wonderful teachers (I've taken a few classes there myself) and might be a good transitory idea, just until you rebuild your confidence back up to tackle CSU again. If my daughter can do it, so can you !!!! She shed many tears & spent lots of time at the department counseling office to help with a particular class (she's a Wildlife Biology major) esp. Organic Chemistry, but she hung in there & now works at the Vet Hospital doing really cool things as a scientist at the lab & goes to school. I am soooo proud of her, especially considering the struggle she has gone through to get there. Hopefully, Moffat Co. Administration wakes up & begins to make college an easier transition for our children who leave with high hopes in their heart only to be dashed when they learn the reality of upper education. You go Colorado 22 & give it another shot or you'll always be saying to yourself "if only."

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colorado_22 3 years, 11 months ago

Kerrie, Thanks for your kind words of support! I wish I would have had you around when I was in Fort Collins :) Interestingly though, I took about 6 months off from college, then began to complete my degree online through CSU Global. I am now 7 weeks from completing my degree in business management, and I am so excited! I moved back to Craig after I dropped out, so I am living here again. About 1 year ago I got a great job which I love, and my degree completion will enable promotions and such, so it all worked out and I am happy. Thanks again for the support, it means a lot!

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wellwell 3 years, 11 months ago

Ms Villard,

I'm very glad that you responded to the schoolview.com concern. As you noted the school view study is very complex to understand. To make a study takes understanding of the focus that is being study, collection of data in a standard set for that focus, and a set of written andor graphics that relay an accurate reporting of the data related to the study and focus. Without the formal training of statictics the casual viewer may hone in on the specific point of a Craig school without consideration of the overview.

I would suggest finding that point and find where it fits in the state plot for achievement compared to the rest of the state in each of the catagories of math, and the other two catagories. Then you would drop to the District level and do the same for finding the point for that school.

Casual viewer your not done yet. Go to the growth chart and do as you did above for math,etc, for state and district, Now that you have viewed where that school lies comparitivly to other areas and schools your can consider why that school is placed at that point in those graphs in the areas of math, ect.

This is one process for true understanding. It takes in depth inspection. Please don't jump to make a quick decision on too little facts.

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wellwell 3 years, 11 months ago

Having responded to the article, I'd like to respond the previous posters.

The best response for students coming from high schools maybe a community college to get courses that will be required at the four year university/college if that is your goal. The oppurtunity to take college courses during high school also is a great bridge.

A community college is usually located in a smaller community with less stressful environment, less commuting, and lower community cost. The community college usually cost much less and has different funding aids for the student. The class size is usually much smaller and hence much more interaction with the instructor. Intellect growth and selection of course of study is also enhanced during this time. You may find that you would like to take a two year degree for a specific job.

What is really great all of this is available right here! CNCC is one of the best educational growth systems available to us and then go onto even higher education elsewhere.

The core of the issue seems to be that the some employers are not happy with the level of education and ambition of our high school grads and the grads are not prepared for higher education.

The final statement is to encourage students to expect and drive for an excellent education. It is your personal responsibity, it is your life you are forming. Do your best and get the best from the teachers and instructors. Go for it !!! YOU CAN DO IT

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onewhocares 3 years, 11 months ago

That is really terrific Colorado _22 ....You should be so proud of yourself. Even though I don't know you (who knows maybe I do) , I am really proud of you as well !! Perseverance is a beautiful thing. GREAT JOB....

And that is great advice Well Well, about community college first, though in all honesty, my daughter had taken enough college classes to fulfill 1/2 semester at CSU at CNCC but it just wasn't quite enough in terms of demands.

We really need to replicate the demands of a University, as much as possible here at both schools so the kids can transition easier & be prepared to lose their anonymity & to have hours & hours of homework. Parents, helpful hint: try to take your kids to the big cities as much as possible, since most big & good institutions are in the cities (though we all hate them, that's why we're here) just to get your teens used to tons of people & make being there second nature for them so they don't go into culture shock in college & are thoroughly intimidated by it. Living in the country has so many benefits, but if our kids are to survive out there, we need to be able to compete with it!!

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wellwell 3 years, 11 months ago

onewho and CO22 Good points. We, as parents, must prepare our children/students for the real world through our responsiblity as parents. Through education of all kinds we are preparing them to take on their own responsibility.

Employers expect that once we are trained (education) we are are responsible for that training (education).

Teachers/instructors/trainers/professors are responsible to teach to accepted levels. Good teachers go to the highest level they can achieve with their students.

Parents are responsible to teach/guide the child to their standards within societal norms with goal of being a responsible adult.

Students are responsible to themselves to achieve to their highest level in education.

Administrators are responsible to all the above to meet expectations of education toward responsiblity.

Education is designed to lead to responsiblity.

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Neal Harkner 3 years, 11 months ago

It's not just Moffat County. While their scores may be down, the entire public education system in this country stinks. Whatever happened to teaching critical thinking? We're so focused on standardized testing that we're covering the who, what, when, and where, but are absolutely ignoring the why and how. They have all the dots sitting right in front of them but lack the skills to actually connect them together.

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