New beginnings

Tomorrow marks the first day of school for the Steamboat School District the first day of a new school year, the first day of new promises, new potential and new opportunities.

It will give this community a first look at the ever-changing face of education in Steamboat Springs and in Colorado.

Locally, with a new principal at Soda Creek Elementary, it gives the district a chance to look beyond the obstacles that became apparent at the close of last year. Judy Harris, who was the district’s content director before taking the helm at the elementary school, will have to work hard at sewing the rift between staff and the administrators at the school.

All schools will have to deal with the challenge of the Colorado Student Assessment Program the tests applied at different grades on different subjects that culminated in results that certainly raised some eyebrows. In the area of 10th-grade math, where scores were surprisingly low throughout Colorado, the test spurred questions regarding how students are taught, how the test is applied and the test itself.

In the coming weeks, the Colorado Department of Education will release “report cards” on every school in the state that will be based significantly on the results of the CSAP tests from last spring. These report cards will compare each school with its 10 closest counterparts, show student performance and detail the school’s CSAP history. The report cards also will look at the school’s staff as far class size, years of experience and salaries. This should be a valuable tool for schools, parents and the community.

School Superintendent Cyndy Simms says the first day of school is often the most exciting day of the entire year.

Parents should be encouraged to take some time tomorrow and be allowed to start their work day a little late so they can take their children to school and meet the teachers who will become so important in their children’s lives in the coming months.

Because a quality educational system is a cornerstone of a quality community, the first day of school should be viewed as a significant event whether you’re a student, teacher, parent or a concerned resident of Steamboat Springs.

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