Vail Valley schools do well in state report |

Vail Valley schools do well in state report

Lauren Glendenning
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Almost all of Eagle County, Colorado’s 16 schools are performing at or above last year’s levels, according to the state’s School Accountability Reports for 2007-08 released Tuesday.

The reports, based on test scores from the Colorado Student Assessment Program, show student achievement in math, reading and writing from year to year. Every student in grades 3-10 takes CSAP tests each year. Students who don’t maintain at least the same performance level from the previous year lower the school’s overall average.

The Eagle County School District places quite a bit of emphasis on the accountability reports, said Matthew Earle, spokesman for the district.

“CSAP is all about Colorado state standards, so it falls in line with what our guidelines are and what we want to accomplish,” he says. “It lets us know where we’re at and gives us an idea of academic growth for our students.”

The reports place schools’ overall success into five categories: unsatisfactory, low, average, high and excellent. None of Eagle County’s schools rated unsatisfactory and three schools rated low ” Berry Creek Middle, Avon Elementary and Red Canyon High.

Two schools, Berry Creek Middle and Meadow Mountain Elementary, didn’t improve or maintain the same level of overall performance from last year. The principals of those schools are already working on ways to change that for next year, Earle says.

“We had the CSAP results in August, so we knew that Berry Creek and Meadow Mountain were going to drop (from last year),” he said. “These results (are incorporated) into each individual school’s improvement plan (updated each year).”

The School Accountability Reports are important, but the district keeps the data in perspective with other data it collects, says Mike Gass, executive director of secondary education for the district.

“These (results) serve as a better barometer as how we’re doing as a system,” Gass said. “Some of the predictors from other data we have, we use that to make our instructional changes.”

One thing the district really focuses on is keeping things consistent at schools throughout the county, said Brooke Skjonsby, spokeswoman for the district. A lot of families move up and down the valley, and the district wants those students to be able to pick up where they left off at their last school. The district’s overall success on the accountability reports shows that programs like the Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative and more consistency throughout the schools are really working, Gass said.

“Where our high schools are placing kids after graduation is a true testament to our school system,” he said. “We have high quality schools.”

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