Blue Ribbon performance | VailDaily.com

Blue Ribbon performance

AVON, Colorado – Avon Elementary School is one of five Colorado schools to win this year’s National Blue Ribbon School Award.

Avon Elementary nearly doubled its standardized test scores over the past two years while serving a mostly minority student population. That caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Education, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcements Friday.

Avon Elementary is joined by four other Colorado schools in winning Blue Ribbon honors: Garnet Mesa Elementary School in Delta, Pear Park Elementary School in Grand Junction, Slavens K-8 School in Denver and Summit Middle Charter School in Boulder.

Only 269 schools across the country earned Blue Ribbon honors, the U.S. Department of Education said Friday.

Dramatic improvement

Avon Elementary was nominated based on its Exemplary Improving status.

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That means that at least 40 percent of its students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and that the school has closed its achievement gap – the gap between the school’s highest performing students and its lowest performing students.

That data is gleaned from the school’s performance on standardized tests, and Avon Elementary’s has soared in the past two years.

Between 2009 and 2010, Avon Elementary saw its standardized test scores shoot up more than any other local school by far.

In 2009’s CSAP scores, only 39 percent of Avon Elementary School’s third graders were proficient readers. When the 2010 scores rolled in, 73 percent were, mirroring the state average.

Just 16 percent of the school’s students were native English speakers when they took that 2010 test.

The last time Avon Elementary’s CSAP scores were that high, the student body’s ethnic makeup was almost the exact opposite of what it is now, Avon Elementary principal Melisa Rewold-Thuon when those results rolled in.

The Vail Valley Foundation’s Youth Foundation provide tutoring and after-school athletic programs, along with music and dance programs, Rewold-Thuon said.

About the Blue Ribbon program

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Award recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools that excel regardless of race or socioeconomic status, say the U.S. Department of Education criteria.

Since 1982, the program has honored more than 6,000 schools.

Representatives from the 269 schools will be honored Nov. 12-13 in Washington, D.C. The school will receive a National Blue Ribbon Schools plaque and a flag.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.