Steamboat schools rank 3rd in state in 2018 assessment | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat schools rank 3rd in state in 2018 assessment

The Steamboat Springs School District administration offices at 325 Seventh St.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs School District ranks third in the state, according to the preliminary release of the 2018 state assessment results by the Colorado Department of Education.

On a 100-point scale, Steamboat earned a “district performance framework" score of 82.5.

The scores are most heavily weighed on the results of the CMAS — Colorado Measurements of Academic Success — tests given to third- through eighth-graders every spring, and the AP, PSAT and SAT tests given at the high school level.

The guiding factors in the scoring matrix are academic achievement, academic growth and postsecondary and workforce readiness.

At Tuesday's Steamboat Springs School Board meeting, Director of Teaching and Learning Jay Hamric presented the results to board members.

Across both the lower and upper grade levels, Steamboat students scored significantly higher in proficiency than state averages in both language arts and math.

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High school students also stood out on their AP exam scores.

One of the most notable achievements, said Hamric, is the significant academic growth among students under the categories of English language learners, special education and those who qualify for free and reduced lunches.

This shows "they truly have teachers meeting those challenges and unique needs and devoting extra resources, time and love," he said.

However Hamric also stressed a remaining need to close the achievement gap between those "exceptional student populations" and their peers.

Hamric attributes the district’s overall success to dedicated and high quality educators and motivated students with strong support from their families, community and the school system.

Superintendent Brad Meeks discussed the importance of fostering critical thinkers and not just good test takers with the board. Hamric spoke about teaching to standards as opposed to teaching to the test.

"The pattern of achievement in our district demonstrates our commitment to sustaining excellent educational programs,” Meeks said in a news release. “What we are navigating now, with the help of our community, is how to sustain this level of success in a context where our schools are at or over capacity and our student enrollment is continuing to grow. This combination of student enrollment growth and capacity will continue to shrink the necessary program space to meet academic needs."

Among the state's 178 districts, Cheyenne Mountain School District ranked first in the state and Telluride was second.

As a district, South Routt scored 77.5 out of 100, up from 71.3 in 2017, moving them into the accredited with distinction category.

"The score shows the quality of instruction here in South Routt," said Superintendent Rim Watson. "We are on the right path, with more work to do."

He attributed the improvement to "strong classroom teachers who take pride in the quality of instruction and try to improve on it daily. And we have great kids."

He also pointed out the importance of students as critical thinkers and incorporating those skills on a daily basis. Watson said one of the district’s priorities is to address academic disparities among the populations with additional needs.

Hayden's district score dropped slightly, from 61.2 in 2017 to 60.1 in 2018.

"Academic growth needs to be the focus," said Hayden Superintendent Christy Sinner.

Hayden has already gone through a deep dive into the data with the help of a state grant, Sinner said, in order to analyze where the biggest needs exist and help staff best address those needs. The district is also increasing professional development support.

Sinner noted that Hayden has a 100 percent graduation rate, zero dropouts and scored well on workforce readiness.

Schools have several months to appeal their scores, which will then be finalized at the beginning of 2019.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @KariHarden.