South Routt working on new academic strategic plan |

South Routt working on new academic strategic plan

First grader Savannah Wixom listens during teacher Kim Reeves' class at South Routt Elementary in November.

— South Routt School District’s new assessment coordinator Rim Watson is eager to get the district on the right track when it comes to improving test scores.

A former middle school principal from Bailey, southwest of Denver, Watson briefed the South Routt Board of Education on Tuesday on which of the district’s assessment results to pay closest attention to when shaping future curriculum.

Watson’s presentation, which emphasized the need for more rigor in coursework, was part of a draft academic strategic plan on how to improve the district’s scores presented by district leaders.

“We have very well-intentioned teachers busting their tail, but it has to be at the rigor of college and career performance,” Watson said.

Watson told the school board that teachers need to raise their standards for students and learn best practices in teaching from each other.

“The rigor of coursework has the highest impact on college and career readiness,” Watson said. “If (another teacher) is doing better than us, let’s go find out what they’re doing and do it.”

School board members reviewed a summary of district test scores released during the past two months, including ACT and PSAT college-prep test scores, and Colorado Measures of Academic Success scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, exams.

South Routt students were below state average in most subjects on the ACT last spring, and student scores were further below average when only compared to other white students in Colorado.

Watson said South Routt should start comparing their scores to districts with similar demographics, and not settle for being average.

“Sometimes we get stuck in the habit of making excuses and having low expectations for our kids, and that has to change,” Superintendent Darci Mohr said.

Watson also emphasized that PARCC assessment growth scores, which were released Tuesday, are important to study, as they show the progress made by specific students from one year to the next, regardless of their starting point.

As part of the new draft strategic plan, district leaders have set two goals for the upcoming year: to be the highest scoring district in student proficiency among 10 comparable districts and to have student growth scores at the 60th percentile year over year.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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