Website shows parents how schools are performing

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

School performance framework information is now available to the public. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) releases the data each year to let school districts know how their students are developing. Know More how School District 51 fared.

Districts are given a score to determine which plan they're assigned to help students grow. Mesa County School District 51 is recognized as "Accredited with Improvement Plan,” the third out of five plans, just a few points shy of moving up to the next level.

The district says it’s pleased with the overall data and hopes to see its schools continue to grow.

Like any school, Nisley Elementary has its challenges, but that doesn't mean teachers and staff don't expect students to perform.

"We’re a high poverty school. 83 percent of our families qualify for free or reduced lunch," Nisley Elementary principal Curry Newton said. "We consider those to be challenges but not excuses."

Nisley has met the challenges head on, making significant strides in learning over the years.

“What we're doing is closing the gap to proficiency and the more we grow, the closer we're going to get to having all of our kids proficient," she said.

The Colorado Department of Education's school performance framework is data Nisley and other schools take into consideration when it comes to helping schools grow their students.

"The school and district frameworks are the way the state holds school and districts available for their students," Colorado Department of Education accountability and data analysis executive director Alyssa Pearson said.

Schools are given a score on a number of indicators including academic achievement, academic growth, academic growth gaps, test participation and postsecondary and workforce readiness (for older ages only). Based on those scores, schools are assigned a plan.

"Schools all write unified improvement plans, and every school in the state does that regardless of their plan type," Pearson said.

"[Individual schools] analyze [the frameworks] with other data we have available to us, but a lot of this comes from this report to see how well they're serving all of their kids," executive director of School District 51 elementary schools Andy Laase said. "We just keep growing and moving forward."

District 51 had a larger percentage of its schools at performance this year, with close to 98 percent of schools getting assigned a performance or improvement plan.

In these frameworks, Nisley is considered a “performance” school, but even still grew its score from 61 to 81 from 2011 to 2012.

"We’re meeting or exceeding all of the benchmarks the Colorado Department of Education has set," Newton said.

As a district, Mesa County will look at closing its growth gaps, while Nisley will look at fine tuning learning for its students with disabilities.

"Even if their kids are highly proficient, are they growing all groups?" Laase said.

Even though growing students is crucial, these teachers and staff want students to be high-achieving as well, or at least, that’s the ultimate goal.

"They know where they are, they know where they need to be, they know how they're going to get there," Newton said of her students.

Overall, performance frameworks are good way to get overview of how students are doing in terms of proficiency and growth while improvement plans show how schools are looking to take on those challenges.

You can visit www.SchoolView.org to see how your students' school growth and achievement compare to others in the district and across the state.


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