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January 14, 2014
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State testing produces disparate results for Grand elementary schools

The Colorado Department of Education’s data on performance frameworks came in last month, and it shows mixed results for Grand County elementary schools.

The School Performance Frameworks hold schools accountable on the same set of indicators and measures. Those include academic achievement, academic growth and academic growth gaps (as well as postsecondary and workforce readiness in high schools). The Department of Education uses the frameworks in district evaluations and planning, as well as for other uses.

In Grand County, Fraser Valley Elementary came in on top, scoring 89.7 out of 100 eligible points, putting it high on the list of the state’s best performers. Granby Elementary scored 59.7, while West Grand Elementary scored 48.6.

To put it in more accessible terms, Colorado School Grades, a coalition of 18 community organizations, assigns the schools a letter grade based on their frameworks data. Fraser Valley Elementary scored an A-. Granby Elementary received a C along with the bulk of schools in the state. West Grand Elementary got a D+.

The Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Colorado Denver helped develop the formula Colorado School Grades uses in assigning its grades, running the frameworks data through a curve. Fraser Valley Elementary ranks among the top 10 percent, with it’s A-range grade.

“Our performance indicators have definitely been solid,” said Fraser Valley Elementary Principal James Chamberlin. It’s the school’s third year ranking high, with a score of 89.7 in 2011 and a 85.1 in 2012, along with its current 2013 score of 89.7.

It’s also the school’s second year in a row to receive the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award. Chamberlin attributes the school’s success to teachers and programs that help with student intervention and student growth.

“I can’t pinpoint any one thing. It’s certainly a team effort and a lot of collaboration,” Chamberlin said, who has been the school principal for three years.

While Granby Elementary is performing at about the same level as many elementary schools in Colorado, principal Jane Harmon said it faces a different set of challenges and serves a different population of students. For example, Granby Elementary has a higher percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch, Harmon said.

Both Granby Elementary and West Grand Elementary receive Title I assistance as well, which is based on census poverty rates and provides more teaching time in math and reading.

To boost performance, the two elementary schools are implementing assessment and student monitoring programs, according to Harmon and West Grand Superintendent Terry Vanderpan. Among their assessment tools are computer programs students can access at school and at home that target and adjust to their specific needs in math and reading.

Look for a future Sky-Hi News story on middle and high school performance data in the county. Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.


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The Sky-Hi News Updated Jan 17, 2014 11:37AM Published Jan 14, 2014 04:25PM Copyright 2014 The Sky-Hi News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.