Colorado Department of Education data on school performance and achievement is showing a wide gap between middle and high schools in the county’s districts.
In East Grand, students are performing above the state’s expectations in “key performance indicators,” which include academic achievement, academic growth, academic growth gaps as well as postsecondary workforce readiness in high schools. The Colorado Department of Education uses these indicators in district evaluations and planning.
In East Grand, both Middle Park High School and East Grand Middle School students are above the state’s expectations in key performance indicators. In state testing, the students performed above state averages in math, science, writing and reading as well, with test scores generally improving over the past three years. Colorado School Grades, a coalition of 19 community organizations, used the Department of Education’s data to assign Middle Park High School a “B” grade, ranking it 70 out of 333 high schools in the state. They gave East Grand Middle School a “B+” grade, ranking it 74 out of 503 middle schools in the state.
In comparison, West Grand schools are falling short. Colorado School Grades gave West Grand High School a “C” grade, ranking it 206 out of the state’s high schools. West Grand Middle School received an “F,” ranked at 480.
Department of Education data show that in Transitional Colorado Assessment Program testing, or TCAP, West Grand’s middle and high school students are performing below state averages in all subject areas — math, science, reading and writing — and scores have declined over the last three years.
In particular, West Grand Middle School experienced a sharp decline in science proficiency and advancement. In 2012, students performed at the 63.6 percentile, above the state average. In 2013, performance plummeted to 20.5 percent.
West Grand’s middle and high schools are also below state expectations in performance indicators of academic achievement, growth and growth gaps. The exception to the schools’ under-performance was in postsecondary and workforce readiness for high school students, which slightly exceeded the state’s expectations. The Colorado School Grades assessment, however, found that West Grand High School students’ ACT scores showed they were not prepared for college or careers in the subjects of reading and math.
Community support of students
Although Middle Park High School is performing above average, principal Scott Eldred said he’s looking to “continually raise the bar of rigor” for high school students in East Grand.
“We’re constantly looking at the little things we can do to maintain and improve our performance,” he said.
In coming years, school administrators will work to add more advanced placement courses to the curriculum to further challenge students. Eldred also said school staff is looking at historical performance data and individual scores to recommend courses and help students progress through their high school careers. Still, Eldred emphasized the importance of factors beyond grades and test scores in creating a successful school.
“I believe the core reason all our East Grand students continue to have positive performance is because of the support of the community,” he said. “The parents are the driving force behind the intrinsic motivation to learn for our students, combined with the compassion of our teachers.”
The Sky-Hi attempted to contact the principals for East Grand Middle School, West Grand Middle School and West Grand High School, as well as the West Grand superintendent. Calls were not immediately returned.
For information on the county’s elementary school performance, see the Sky-Hi’s article from earlier this month.
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.