Steamboat Springs School District top in state for work with English language learners

Teresa Ristow
Eighth-grade students Leo Loya, Richard Soash, Deyra Borund and Citlali Escarcega work on a project in their class at Steamboat Springs Middle School. The district was named No. 1 in the state for its work with English language learners and earned its fifth consecutive Accredited with Distinction designation in 2017.
John F. Russell

— The Steamboat Springs School District was recognized Tuesday as the top performing school district in the state for its work improving academic growth among English language learners.

The district received an English Language Proficiency Act Excellence Award as well as its fifth consecutive Accredited with Distinction designation and numerous other awards during a ceremony in Denver on Tuesday.

Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal Tracy Stoddard accepted the awards from the Colorado Department of Education on behalf of the district.

“This (ELPA) award is acknowledgment that all of the work that the district has put into improving our English Language Learner Program is paying off for us,” Marty Lamansky, district director of teaching and learning, said in a news release. “It is the result of the hard work of our ELL teachers, all of our classroom teachers, the students and the parents at all of our schools.”

The district was awarded as one of the top 10 districts and top 10 charter schools in Colorado that achieve the highest English language and academic growth among ELL students and the highest academic achievement for ELL students transitioning out of the English Language Proficiency Program.

The district also was recognized as Accredited with Distinction for the fifth consecutive time Tuesday, a track record only 11 districts in the state have, Lamansky said.

To be considered Accredited with Distinction, districts must earn 80 percent or more of the points on the state’s District Performance Framework and be in the top 10 percent of districts in the state. For 2013-14, Steamboat’s District Performance Framework score was 90.1, the second highest in the state.

The District Performance Framework measures performance in areas like academic achievement, academic growth and reducing academic growth gaps and post-secondary and workforce readiness.

Several schools in the district also won separate awards based on their performance.

Steamboat Springs High School, Steamboat Springs Middle School and Strawberry Park Elementary School earned the John Irwin Award and the middle school and Strawberry Park also earned Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Awards.

John Irwin Awards are given to schools that demonstrate achievement throughout time, with schools exceeding state expectations when looking at the past three years of data.

Governor’s Distinguished Improvement awards are awarded to schools that show exceptional student growth throughout time on the performance framework indicators.

A release was sent to staff about the awards Tuesday morning, and during a Collaborative Bargaining Team meeting that morning, Superintendent Brad Meeks told staff that he was proud of the district’s work.

“The district did well, so kudos to everybody,” Meeks said.

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

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