The Colorado Department of Education celebrated 2013 district and school performance results in an awards ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 3, in Denver. Paonia Elementary School and the North Fork Community Montessori School were among the schools recognized for outstanding performance.
Both received the Governor's Distinguished Improvement awards for student growth. On the school performance framework that is used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools "exceed" expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth over three years. In 2013, 130 schools earned this award.
PES principal Sam Cox braved blizzard conditions and was pleased to be in Denver to accept the award, the school's fourth in a row.
"We are super excited because this is the award based on growth rather than just on achievement," Cox said. "All of our kids are growing. Not just middle of the road kids or low kids, but we are able to get even our highest achieving kids to continue to grow. That's what we are all about to get our kids to grow all the time. Not just hitting that benchmark at one point in time, but growing each year and every year. So to have that four years in a row is really exciting."
This award is measured off the TCAP scores, the state assessment program for third through sixth grade students who are tested each March and April. "All the results are compiled and the state issues a school performance framework for every school in the state. In order to receive this award you have to exceed expectations in all the indicators related to student growth," Cox said. "There are about 900 elementary schools in the state of Colorado. We were one of 130 schools—elementary, middle or high school—to receive that award."
The North Fork Community Montessori School also received the John Irwin Award and was named a 2012 and 2013 ESEA Reward School.
The John Irwin awards are given to schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the school performance framework that is used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools "exceed" expectations on the indicator for academic achievement over three years. In 2013, 178 schools earned this award.
The ESEA Reward School awards are given to Title I schools demonstrating high performance and high progress. In 2013, just eight schools earned this award.
Montessori principal Bill Eyler credited the awards to the school's focused students and dedicated staff. Eyler explained the Montessori school qualified for the John Irwin Award by being in the top eight percent for all the TCAP-taking grades, three to six, in the state. This is the third year in a row that the school won this award. It was the second year it won the Governor's Distinguished Improvement Award, which is based on a three-year average of 60-point growth in all content areas. "It's really hard to do if your kids are really high (academically). Our kids have been high for several years, four years," Eyler said. "So it's really tough on the teachers to make sure they are challenging the kids."
The ESEA Reward School Award comes from the new federal law, the Elementary Secondary Education Act, which is the next step after the "Leaving No Child Behind" initiative. To qualify, the Title 1 school must have won the other awards. Montessori won this past year as well.
"This is our 14th year. We continue to improve every year," Eyler said. "We try to have high standards for our students. We have very high standards of ourselves as educators. We give kids lots and lots of support, and I think it shows with their achievement."blog comments powered by Disqus