Editorial: Plenty to be proud of
Moffat County School District has plenty to be proud of this week, and we, as a community served by such a district, have plenty to be thankful for.
On Nov. 13, Craig Middle School Assistant Principal Sara Linsacum was named Assistant Principal of the Year by the Colorado Association of School Executives. As a nominee for the honor, Linsacum was matched side-by-side with the best school administrators the state has to offer and came out on top.
That, alone, justifies some measure of pride, but there’s more.
Earlier in the fall, Sunset Elementary School kindergarten teacher Amy Jones was among six finalists nominated to become Colorado Department of Education’s 2019 Colorado Teacher of the Year, and though Denver fifth-grade teacher Margaret “Meg” Cypress was ultimately selected for the honor, in the parlance of the Academy Awards, it was an honor just to have been nominated.
These are both highly prestigious awards, and we have the winner of one and a finalist for another right here in our local schools.
In our view, teaching our children is one of the noblest professions a human being can aspire to, so for us, Linsacum and Jones truly represent the best of the best.
But, as we were thinking about how to most appropriately thank them in these few words we allow ourselves each week, it occurred to us that MCSD already had plenty to be proud of. We have a quality school district here, and educators like Linsacum and Jones are as much a testament to that quality as they are a major part of what drives it.
In evaluating anything, perspective is everything. Looking out from the inside, we seem almost instinctively bent toward focusing on what’s wrong with things, often to the exclusion of praising what’s right with them.
And while it is important to hold our schools to high standards, it is equally important to praise our schools when they achieve — and often exceed — those standards.
We could point out the many other school districts in Colorado that are similar to our own, demographically, yet far worse off, academically. But we’re not inclined to frame MCSD’s accomplishments in terms of others’ deficiencies.
MCSD is excellent in its own right, and it’s getting better all the time.
According to Superintendent Dave Ulrich’s most recent column, our district earned the rating of Performance (Accredited) from the Colorado Department of Education for the 2017-18 school year, the second consecutive year MCSC students and staff have earned this rating.
In earning this accreditation, MCHS students exceeded the state average according to two key metrics: Status Scores and Growth Scores.
MCHS fourth-graders exceeded the state’s average percentage of students achieving in the top two levels in English Language Arts/Literacy, the first districtwide, whole grade level to top the state average on status scores since the district began taking CMAS Assessments.
Further, MCHS students, districtwide, exceeded the state average growth in English Language Arts/Literacy, the first year for a whole subject, districtwide, that MCSD exceeded the state average growth. By the same metric, Gifted and Talented students exceeded average state growth by 19 percent.
And it’s more than just test scores; our students demonstrate their academic excellence and exemplary character on a daily basis, and often, well outside the classroom doors.
The examples of many.
Some MCHS graduates we’ve heard from have gone on to college and found — often to their surprise — that they were better prepared for higher academic rigors than their peers from other districts.
Our Moffat County DECA and FBLA groups consistently excel in competition, as do most of our sports teams.
In October, Craig Middle School cheerleaders volunteered their time and labor in support of a service project to clean up the school’s landscaping.
Last month, 2017 Moffat County High School graduate John T. Peroulis received a Future Farmers of America FFA Degree, an honor less than 1 percent of FFA members attain.
We could go on … easily. The above examples were drawn from only three months worth of Craig Press archives.
Of course, this doesn’t surprise us when we consider our recently honored educators. To a great degree, they — and their equally dedicated colleagues — are the reason.
And we can guarantee you, none of our outstanding educators do what they do for the chance of winning an award. They do it because they care about the youth — our youth — and, by extension, our future.
Linsacum perhaps summed it up best.
“It’s not an award about me,” she said. “I wouldn’t be getting this award without the amazing people I work with day in and day out and the students and the families. I feel like I have been successful because of quality relationships and listening and caring for every kid that walks through my door. Like I said, it’s a ‘we effort.'”
In today’s digital age, it isn’t comforting to know Craig hasn’t yet fully joined the rest of the industrialized world’s instant interconnectedness brought about by fast and reliable internet.