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Superintendent Update

Just like that, we are off and running here at the school. Students and staff (and I’m sure parents as well), regardless of how many years we’ve done it, must annually navigate the transition from summer back to school. As far as I can tell, everyone involved has excelled at getting back into the rhythm of school and the year is off to a smooth start. As the academic year gets underway, I have some exciting news to share regarding our students’ academic progress. Just days ago, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) released District Performance Frameworks (DPF), which takes data from three key areas: Academic Achievement, Academic Growth, and Post-Secondary and Workforce Readiness. This DPF essentially serves as a “report card” for our school district as a whole. While our results last year were acceptable (we were rated “Accredited”, the second highest rating possible), we knew we had underperformed and our students had more in them.

I went back and read my September update from last year, in which upon reviewing our 2018 data I wrote: “Upon analyzing and reviewing the data, areas of improvement that have been identified include CMAS results along with closing the ethnic gap between our ELL and non-ELL populations. As District leadership continues to brainstorm and discuss ideas of how to best address these targeted areas of improvement, we are not only proud of our recent rating, but also confident that even higher achievement lies ahead.”

One year later, I am pleased to announce we have met these goals. DPF’s are scored on a 0-100 scale, in which we scored 56.3 in ’18, and in ’19 made an impressive jump to 85.3 points, easily putting our school district in the highest ‘Distinction’ category. Also, our elementary CMAS growth scores went from the 34th percentile in ’18 to the 71st percentile in ’19. Out of 179 school districts state wide, we rank 4th (top 2.2% in the state) for growth in percentage of stu-dents who met or exceeded expectations (+12.5). Additionally, our ELL population showed 4 percent growth from a year ago. I could go on and on highlighting our results. In short, the kids knocked it out of the park and it further validates what I already knew; we have one of the best teaching staffs in Colorado.

Although we would like to enjoy and celebrate the many successes of last year, we realize school is well underway and instead turn our focus to the 2019-2020 Academic year and all the work we have in front of us. Last Spring’s CMAS results prove what our students are capable of. Now that a more fitting and appropriate bar has been established, we will hold our students to that standard as we look to build upon the positive momentum and keep moving in the right direction. As a school, our JH/HS achieved the best rating possible of “Performance”, however there is certainly room for improvement on our school’s PSAT (taken by Freshmen and Sophomores) and SAT (Juniors) test scores. These high-stakes tests not only impact our District’s rating, but more importantly, the SAT serves as Colorado’s official college entrance exam and the individual incentives to perform are significant. As our JH/HS staff continues to expand our stu-dents content knowledge, an emphasis will also be put on good test taking strategies, practice exams, and an analysis of where students shortcoming are so they can be addressed before test day. We are confident these steps will improve individual results (and ultimately better prepare our kids for life after high school), and in turn, boost our school’s overall average.

In closing, congratulations to the students and staff alike on their impressive performance last year. I know we are just getting started as we continue to strive in being one of the premier small schools in the state. Submitted by Myles Johnson, Superintendent

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