County students matching federal standards | VailDaily.com

County students matching federal standards

Christine Ina Casillas

Eagle County students, like those shown above, scored well overall in a recent report on federally mandated performance standards.

The Eagle County School District met 26 of the 27 requirements mandated under the new law.

“The state determines the criteria for what is proficient,” said Pam Holmes Boyd, spokeswoman for the Eagle County School District. “When it comes to achievement, we stack up pretty well against the other schools.”

The 2002-2003 “Adequate Yearly Progress” report has 27 standards to measure a school’s performance, she said. The standards, or “indicators,” – are measured in the areas of participation, achievement and advanced performance. It also tracks test scores in reading and math, whereas the Colorado Student Assessment Program, or CSAP tests reading, writing, math and science.

The new yearly progress report is a part of the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind Act, Boyd said, and it’s results are compiled from the CSAP test scores.

The progress report represents the yearly academic progress targets in reading and mathematics that the state, school districts and individual schools must reach to be considered “on track” for 100 percent student proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year, Boyd said.

“All schools have to be proficient,” Boyd said. “This sets out a map for all schools to hit every year.”

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Fifteen of 16 schools met the mandated targets. The only exception was at Berry Creek Middle School, where students hit 26 of the 27 standards.

To meet the overall standards as a district, the schools had to demonstrate 95 percent participation in the CSAP tests. The participation part of the report was sub-categorized into ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency.

The district ranked high in most categories, but didn’t hit the standard in the category of kids with limited English-speaking proficiency, school officials said.

“Achievement among our Spanish-speaking students is an on-going concern for Eagle County schools,” said Caroline Neff, director of elementary education for the Eagle County School District. “This year, we launched a program overhaul for how we work with these students, and we will be closely monitoring how the program affects achievement levels for English-language learners in the future.”

The school district didn’t participate in some areas because there isn’t a “viable population at some of the schools to hit the target across the board,” Boyd said.

Not all states have the same level of widespread reporting, Boyd said. The progress report came on the heels of the 2003 state school accountability reports.

Eleven out of 16 schools scored as “high” or “excellent” on the school accountability report. In its third year, the accountability report acts as a report card, rating schools on academic improvement. The rankings are “significant improvement,” “stable,” “declining” and “significant decline.” Seven county schools showed “significant improvement” or “improvement,” and the remaining schools rated as “stable.”

“We have centered our focus on one central theme – we want a highly qualified and well-prepared teacher in front of every student, every day,” said John Brendza, Eagle County School superintendent. “Good teachers make good schools, and we are proud of the dedicated professions who work for us.”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.