South Routt School District ranks 5th in state in preliminary assessment; Steamboat drops from 3rd to 9th
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The South Routt School District has been ranked fifth in the state of Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Education’s preliminary 2019 state assessment results.
On a 100-point scale, South Routt earned a “district performance framework” score of 80.
South Routt Superintendent Rim Watson said he is very pleased, especially in knowing that the district is continuing on the path of upward successes.
“Our goal is to educate students as well as anyone in the state,” Watson said.
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The statewide rankings, published Monday, rates the districts and schools based on achievement in literacy, math and science tests, as well as annual academic growth.
High school rankings also take into consideration graduation rates, dropout rates, scores on college entrance exams and college enrollment.
The Steamboat Springs School District earned a score of 78, resulting in a rank of ninth in the state. The district was ranked third in 2018.
South Routt, however, moved up in the district rankings over last year, while Hayden also moved lower.
“The South Routt School Board has very high expectations, requiring us to do all things well for our students,” Watson said. “If academics were not at the highest level, they want to know why and the plan to remedy.”
He attributed the high scores to a “combination of great kids and great teachers.”
“Our parents send us students with the character traits and qualities, which allow us to focus on academics,” Watson said. “We do not have to spend our time on behavior and discipline issues. We have the type of students which cause people to want to be teachers.”
Watson also acknowledged there is more to be done, particularly considering the results showing the South Routt elementary school isn’t “where we want it to be,” he said.
Both the Steamboat and South Routt districts earned the rating of Accreditation with Distinction, an honor reserved this year for the top 15 districts out of the state’s 178 districts.
Last year was South Routt’s first year receiving the accreditation, while Steamboat has earned it since 2010.
“This is a true tribute to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, administrators, staff and students,” Steamboat Superintendent Brad Meeks said.
Academic performance and growth rose for the Steamboat district in 2019, despite the fact all of its schools are at their capacity limit, according to Meeks.
“It goes to show what our teachers are able to do with the limited space they have, and how much more may be possible with the ability to expand our exceptional programs,” he said.
Hayden earned a score of 58.7, and Hayden Elementary School was moved off of “priority improvement,” which Hayden Superintendent Christy Sinner said is a huge celebration.
Hayden Elementary last year started implementing the Professional Learning Communities initiative, which Sinner said is working.
Through the initiative, teachers and interventionists meet frequently to analyze daily and weekly data in an effort to ensure the district is meeting students’ needs and that content is rigorous enough to meet standards.
Across the Hayden district, Sinner said math has been identified as the biggest area needed for growth. She said they are starting PLC’s at the high school this year.
The Professional Learning Communities initiative will begin this year at the high school.
Meeks said he and other administrators do, however, have some questions about the rankings, where they see some conflicting data regarding growth within subcategories.
The results being only preliminary, the state allows districts to submit additional information and a request to reconsider the scores.
Though overall, Meeks said he’s very proud of the district that it continues to rank among the best in the state.
“What I’m looking for is sustained excellence,” he said.
He noted that more high school students were enrolled in advanced placement courses than ever before. In terms of areas for improvement, Meeks said the district is committed to gaining ground in closing the achievement gap for English Language Learners.
While it is significant to see South Routt surpass Steamboat, both Watson and Meeks said they don’t see the annual rankings release as anything competitive.
“The only thing Steamboat has done since my time here has support us in every way possible,” Watson said. “The doors have only been opened to us.”
Meeks gives South Routt a “kudos” for its continued progress, and said Steamboat works to collaborate as much as possible.
The district and school scores will be finalized in December.
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