Hayden’s third-graders lead charge | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden’s third-graders lead charge

District sees marked improvements in reading, writing scores

— Practice makes perfect, at least in the case of Hayden Valley Elementary School’s third-graders.

According to Colorado Student Assessment Program test results released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education, 100 percent of Hayden’s third-graders scored proficient or advanced in reading.

Hayden’s third-graders also had the highest average writing and math scores in the district. The fourth- and fifth-graders also had some of the highest scores in the district.

“We did well at the elementary school,” Superintendent Mike Luppes said. “I’m really pleased.”

Third grade teachers Carolyn Gregory and Kathy Deepe said extensive behind-the-scenes work went into preparing for the CSAPs, because third grade is the first grade for which students have to read their own tests in a timed atmosphere.

“As far as reading, both Carolyn and I feel so strongly about providing extra tutoring for kids, especially for those who just need that extra help. We do as much as we can when time allows,” Deepe said.

“Kids love one-on-one time with the teacher,” Gregory added. “In fact, I’ve had kids I’ve ended up spending time with who didn’t need it.”

Both teachers pointed to the consistent teaching methods they share and the great curriculum they use as additional benefits to the students. But, both said, credit goes to the students and to the teachers who work with the third-graders before they reach third grade.

“I can’t stress enough how much it is a team effort,” Gregory said.

The CSAP tests, designed to measure and monitor student and school achievement in relation to the state’s content standards, are a primary component of state-issued School Accountability Results.

The CSAP reading, writing and math tests are administered to students in third through 10th grades. Students in the fifth, eighth and 10th grades also take a science test.

District-wide, Hayden saw reading scores increase or remain the same in grades five through 10, with sophomores improving their scores by 20 percentage points. But those grades still remain close to or below state averages.

One method of comparing CSAP scores is year to year, following the progression of a particular class through the grades. CSAP testing also enables district officials to track individual students and their year-to-year progress.

In writing, Hayden’s fifth-, sixth- and 10th-graders improved their scores in 2006, although the district lags behind state averages in nearly every grade.

In math, Hayden’s fourth-graders and 10th-graders improved their scores.

On a grade-to-grade comparison, this year’s freshmen and sophomores tested significantly better in 2006 compared to last year’s sophomores and freshmen.

“Overall, we were pleased with our scores,” Luppes said. “With all district scores added together and averaged, we increased our average compared to the state average. Steady growth over time is what we are shooting for. … We had real solid growth at the elementary in pretty much all areas. We were pleased to see growth at the high school math levels. We aren’t where we want to be, but we hope we can just continue that growth.”

Luppes addressed his concerns with Hayden’s mediocre writing results.

“Our writing scores were very poor,” he said. “We have had growth in writing, which pleases us, but it’s coming. That’s an area we continually work on.”

To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com.

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