Editorial: Sunrise for Craig’s Sunset Elementary | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial: Sunrise for Craig’s Sunset Elementary

In our business, it's far too seldom that we get to report on the good things happening in our community, but last week afforded us just such an opportunity.

In case you missed the front-page story in the Jan. 12 edition of the Craig Press, Moffat County School District's very own Sunset Elementary School was recently honored with the Governor's Distinguished Improvement Award for catapulting itself from performing at below state standards to a coveted place among the top- elementary schools in the state of Colorado.

Sunset was one of only 125 recipient schools to receive the honor, and the award came with some impressive statistics.

According to Zack Allen, director of Curriculum, Educator Effectiveness and Shared School for MCSD, out of 1,007 elementary schools reporting growth scores, Sunset's English Language Arts Median Growth Percentile for all students was the highest in the state at the elementary level, and in mathematics, Sunset posted the 20th-highest MGP among 1,008 Colorado elementary schools reporting scores.

This transformation was no small feat, and it didn't come about overnight or by happenstance; it was the result of school leadership fearlessly recognizing a problem, researching the paths to success used by other schools and embarking upon the arduous and lengthy path to change.

Several key players are at the heart of this success story, and we proudly commend them here.

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We commend Sunset Principal Jill Hafey, whose steady, supportive and forward-thinking leadership persuaded teachers and students alike that the proposed changes were not only beneficial, but also possible.

We commend David Ulrich, MCSD superintendent, who, in his short tenure here, has fostered honest evaluation and complete transparency with regard to the county's school system.

We commend the Moffat County School Board, whose volunteer members have accepted the awesome responsibility of charting the educational future of our children.

We commend Sunset's teachers, who were open to a reevaluation of their teaching methods and willing to adjust those methods for a better outcome.

We commend the parents of Sunset, who, no doubt, offered encouragement, support and assistance to their children as they aspired to and attained higher performance levels.

And, above all, we commend Sunset's students. The most carefully laid plans and the most dedicated teachers in the world can accomplish very little without willing, receptive students, and the pupils at Sunset have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that they can perform — and are performing — neck-and-neck with the best Colorado has to offer.

We're convinced this remarkable turnaround at Sunset would not have been possible without the effective educational leadership chain — from superintendent to principal to classroom teacher — and the dedication of eager, young learners.

All too often, we hear negative comments about Moffat County's schools, and we are the first to acknowledge that improvements can be made. But shouldn't that always be our attitude with regard to the education of our children? State accolades aside, shouldn't we always strive to make the educational opportunities we offer our children just a little bit better?

We think the answer is a resounding "yes," and it's gratifying to see a local school taking the steps necessary to improve.

Keep up the great work, Sunset. We're proud of you, and we know the community is proud of you, as well.

Editorial Board

Renee Campbell, publisher

Jim Patterson, editor

Andy Bockelman, assistant editor

Kaitlyn Marchbanks, community representative

Charlynne Wondra, community representative

Contact the Editorial Board at editor@CraigDailyPress.com.