State test scores indicate Eagle County Schools are headed in the ‘right direction’ | VailDaily.com

State test scores indicate Eagle County Schools are headed in the ‘right direction’

EAGLE — If green is for go, and it is, then local schools are going in the right direction.

The state department of education released its latest performance ratings for schools and school districts. If your school is rated in green on the state's nifty color-coded spreadsheet, then you're doing fine. For the first time, all Eagle County Schools are in the green.

The Colorado Department of Education's colorful table might look a little like Homeland Security's color-coded danger ratings, but the school ratings actually mean something.

In Eagle County Schools' case, green means that local schools are all doing fine.

“We are very proud of the work that has occurred in each and every school in order for us to realize an Accredited status again. The results demonstrate that student performance is not in question at any of our schools.”Heather EbertsAssistant superintendent for learning services

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"We see these results as further evidence that Eagle County Schools are on the right track," said Heather Eberts, assistant superintendent for learning services.

In fact, three schools — Avon Elementary, Gypsum Elementary and June Creek Elementary — improved so much that they jumped two categories.

"Each of these schools didn't just move one category, but through one category and into another. This kind of movement is not a chance happening," Eberts said. "This only happens when educators collectively maintain a focus and are determined to not let anything knock them off their path toward improvement."

How they're scored

Districts and schools receive ratings based on state standardized test scores in English language arts, math and science; score improvement from year to year; and postsecondary readiness, including graduation rates, dropout rates, matriculation into college or careers and average scores on the SAT college entrance exam.

Of the district's 17 schools, 16 are on Performance Plan ratings. That means they're green. The only ones that weren't were the district's alternative schools — New School, World Academy and Red Canyon — and the state department of education is still calculating the results of alternative schools.

With the improvement in individual schools, the district's accreditation rating improves from "Accredited with Improvement Plan" to "Accredited."

"We are very proud of the work that has occurred in each and every school in order for us to realize an Accredited status again," Eberts said. "The results demonstrate that student performance is not in question at any of our schools."

The only nick on the school district's ratings was the number of Battle Mountain High School and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy students who opted out of the state's standardized tests, apparently finding better things to do than indulge a government bureaucracy.

In a statement, the local school district diplomatically pointed out that "students in high school find more value in the kind of assessments that mean something for their lives beyond the school walls. This is evident in both these schools."

On the other hand, the BMHS and VSSA students who took the state tests performed well, according to the state's results.

"The good news again is that performance at these schools is not an issue," the school district said.

High school students take the PSAT and SAT, tests that are more aligned to college and/or career aspirations, the school district said.

"We will continue to focus on teaching all students to high standards, growing and graduating global-ready citizens and trusting in our educators, who are making it all happen for our students," Eberts said.

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