Grant helps Hayden School District improve
Steamboat Springs — Thanks to a grant from a local foundation, the Hayden School District has a multi-year plan to raise test scores and improve learning in the district.
Superintendent Phil Kasper approached the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation about obtaining a grant to hire an auditor who would look at how the school district is run and how students are taught.
“Very seldom do school districts have an outside pair of eyes come in and look at all the systems for teaching and learning,” Kasper said.
The district was awarded the $18,500 grant.
The auditor came to Hayden in May and met with teachers, administrators, board members and community members. The auditor then wrote an 80-page report with four major findings.
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“It takes a quite a bit of courage for school districts to take a look at themselves,” Kasper said.
The auditor found that student achievement in the district was stagnant, and the curriculum was inadequate in scope and quality.
The auditor also found that board policies were inadequate to direct curriculum management functions, and the district needed to establish procedures for increasing collaboration with the community for decisions about curriculum.
The district has been working with Steamboat resident Lynn Zinn, who works with Curriculum Management Systems Inc., to implement changes, which will take between five and seven years.
The work has already started, and during the current school year, the district is focusing on language arts and writing to make sure teachers in other grades know what students are being taught. For example, fourth grade teachers may not know what students are being taught in third and fifth grades.
Kasper said the district is also working to revise board policies that currently are not specific about how often curriculum is reviewed and updated.
“We’re very excited about it,” Kasper said.
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