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School district earns 'accredited' rating

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Despite a decline in overall scores, Delta County Joint School District #50 earned an "accredited" rating on district performance frameworks established by the Colorado Department of Education. The frameworks are provided to school districts annually at the start of the school year.

District performance frameworks and school performance frameworks are intended to hold districts and schools statewide accountable for performance on the same, single set of indicators and measures.

The frameworks measure four key performance indicators identified in Education Accountability Act of 2009 (SB 09-163) as the measures of educational success: academic achievement, academic longitudinal growth, academic gaps and postsecondary and workforce readiness.

"We are working on math growth as a major focus this year, as that is where we saw the biggest decline in growth," said Connie Vincent, data and grants coordinator for the school district.

The school district recently adopted a new concept-based curriculum called Go Math! To help teachers transition to the new curriculum, two retired teachers -- Tammy Shelton and Rhonda Pinckard -- have been hired as instructional resources. In addition, an upcoming professional development day will be devoted to Go Math! with a company representative providing tips for effective implementation in the classroom.

At a recent school board work session, district leadership outlined other strategies for improving math competency at all grade levels. Greater emphasis is being placed on "math facts," with 10 minutes a day set aside for review. At some schools, class periods have been extended to ensure there's time to develop math fluency. Teachers are also working with younger students to improve the computer skills needed for online test taking.

While there was initially some resistance to the curriculum, the district remains confident Go Math! has the depth and rigor to prepare students for critical thinking into middle and high school. They expect test scores to start going back up.

"In summary, we are still performing well, but have some areas to work on in 17-18 as we adapt to a new state test and newer standards," Vincent said.

School Performance Frameworks

Two schools received the highest rating of "accredited with distinction" -- Delta Academy of Applied Learning and Paonia Elementary School. On a scale of 1 to 100, DAAL was at 85.8 percent; Paonia Elementary came in at 83.4 percent. All other schools but one received performance ratings (56 to 74 percent), although low participation was noted for Cedaredge Middle School, Hotchkiss High School, Vision Charter Academy and the district as a whole. "With our parent excused opt-outs, we were not 'dinged' for our numbers," Vincent said.

School and district frameworks can be viewed on the CDE website, www.cde.state.co.us.

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