Moffat County elementary schools awarded for student achievement | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County elementary schools awarded for student achievement

Lauren Blair

Craig's four elementary school principals — Jill Hafey from Sunset, Kamisha Siminoe from Sandrock, Sarah Hepworth from East and Amber Clark from Ridgeview — express their unity to the Moffat County Board of Education following the recognition of Sunset, East and Ridgeview elementary schools for improved or outstanding performance.





Craig’s four elementary school principals — Jill Hafey from Sunset, Kamisha Siminoe from Sandrock, Sarah Hepworth from East and Amber Clark from Ridgeview — express their unity to the Moffat County Board of Education following the recognition of Sunset, East and Ridgeview elementary schools for improved or outstanding performance.
Lauren Blair

Amidst a concerted effort to boost student achievement in Moffat County School District this year, three of Craig's elementary schools received recognition for making positive strides in their students' test scores.

Principals, teachers and staff from Ridgeview, Sunset and East elementary schools were presented with their awards — issued by the Colorado Department of Education — at the most recent Moffat County Board of Education meeting, Sept. 25.

The awards were based on students' performance on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program — otherwise known as TCAP.

Every school in Colorado is rated in one of four categories based on their overall scores and growth. The top rating is Performance, followed by Improvement, Priority Improvement and Turnaround.

Though the TCAP has been retired and will be replaced in the spring with a new student assessment known as Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS, results from last year's test are still being used to gauge school performance and growth over recent years.

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Recognized for outstanding achievement, Ridgeview Elementary was awarded for being ranked in the top 14 percent of elementary schools in Colorado.

"This is quite a feat to be ranked in the top 14 percent of these schools," Ridgeview Principal Amber Clark said at the meeting. "We couldn't do it if it weren't for the cohesiveness of this staff."

Now in her third year as a principal at Ridgeview, Clark said the school moved from an Improvement school to a Performance school in her first year. She attributes the continued growth to alignment between teachers in each grade level and an effort to build systems to streamline student achievement.

Sunset Elementary celebrated a move up in the rankings, moving from Priority Improvement to Improvement status.

"It just got our ball rolling so we can have a little bit more momentum," new principal Jill Hafey said. "We're going to not only maintain, we're going to build, so that's pretty exciting."

Hafey is teaching students and staff at Sunset to "think like champions," and is working to create measurable ways to track success and improvement among students.

"Everything that we do has to have a purpose and has to be measurable," Hafey said. "We truly have a reason for why we're focused on what we are."

Staff and principal Sarah Hepworth at East Elementary were awarded for four years in a row as a Performance school, which is made especially noteworthy because East also has the highest poverty rate of all four elementary schools.

"Over those four years, we have increased the number of students living in poverty, as well as students with English as a second language. That's what's so phenomenal” about maintaining Performance status, Hepworth said.

Much like Clark and Hafey, Hepworth also described efforts at East to develop strategic, school-wide systems to help maintain consistent student achievement despite the added hurdles the school faces.

All three principals highlighted the shift that Moffat County's four elementary schools are making to act as more of a unit — thinking of themselves not as four competing schools, but as a unified entity working to improve students' learning across the board.

"I think we're being very driven and action-oriented to really make sure all elementary students are getting the same learning opportunities and having the same success, whether they're really advanced learners or struggling learners, no matter what school they go to," Hepworth said.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.