Valley Elementary reaps low ratings |

Valley Elementary reaps low ratings

Danie Harrelson

— Low ratings for elementary students in the Hayden School District mean only one thing for school officials the only way is up.

Hayden school administrators, teachers and school board members celebrated the high ratings of the Hayden middle and high schools and discussed ways to improve Valley Elementary’s scores at the school board meeting on Wednesday evening.

“Our elementary will be there next year,” Hayden Super-

intendent Scott Mader said. “Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and to good schools.”

School districts across the state received report cards from the Colorado Department of Education for the first time last week.

The ratings are included in the state’s School Accountability Reports, which use Colorado Student Assessment Program test scores to compare districts’ performances.

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Board members were quick to recognize the elementary’s role in contributing to high CSAP scores in the middle and high schools.

“That didn’t happen without a good foundation in our elementary school,” School Board President Kathy Hockin said.

Teachers at all three schools have shown nothing but exemplary work and commitment to their students, Board Member Kelly Hayes said.

“They are stepping up to the plate and getting the job done,” he said.

Following Hockin’s suggestion that teachers teach their students according to the test in order to achieve higher CSAP scores, Hayden teachers demonstrated some of the new teaching techniques that will be implemented.

Middle school math teacher Linda Wilson and high school math teacher Annie Barbier described the new math programs for middle and high school students as a “new way to teach old math.”

The best way to begin tackling the state’s math standards is to focus on problem solving, Barbier said.

Students need to know the practical applications of math problems, she added.

“They need to know how to use it and how to solve it,” she said.

Barbier said the U.S. Department of Education has designated the middle school mathscape program and the high school interactive math program, which have now been implemented in Hayden, as exemplary programs.

“The great thing about our programs is that it starts in middle school and continues to high school,” Barbier said. “It prepares students to be lifelong problem solvers, creative thinkers and learners.”

The new math programs depart from the traditional pages of problems and solutions and instead use a story problem format to force students to explain how and why they arrived at their solutions, Wilson said.

Students will find the new way of doing old math more applicable to real-world situations, she said.

“Back when I first did these problems, I used to ask myself, ‘What am I doing and when will I use this?'” Wilson said.

“This is the same concept, just addressed differently.”

Based on the CSAP scores, only 14 percent of Colorado 10th-graders tested proficient in math. Steamboat Springs students tested at 18 percent, Soroco students tested at 0 percent and Hayden students tested at 3 percent.

“We’re kind of all over the board, but no one can be really proud of their scores,” Mader said.

He and the other administrators said they are confident in Hayden students’ abilities, but they must be taught a better way to demonstrate that ability.

“Our kids know how to do math,” High School Principal Nick Schaefer said. “They just don’t know how to do it on the test.”