Last week the Summit School District Board of Education hosted its last meeting until August, joining throngs of students and teachers on their way to a well-earned break.
Looking back on the 2012-2013 school year, Summit School District superintendent Heidi Pace said Sunday there is a lot to be proud of at the student, teacher and district levels.
Collectively, students in the Summit School District scored higher on state achievement tests than a year ago, Pace said, with Dillon Valley and Breckenridge elementary schools earning the Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award.
The award, which was bestowed in 2012 upon more than 100 elementary, middle and high schools in Colorado, recognizes educational institutions that meet or exceed the state’s longitudinal growth expectations for students.
Summit Cove and Upper Blue elementary schools also received state recognition by earning the John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award. This was the fifth year in a row Summit Cove earned the award, and the second year in a row for Upper Blue, Pace said.
In maintaining its dedication to providing high-quality education, the Summit School District Board has committed itself over the years to achieving International Baccalaureate recognition for all of its schools. It completed that goal this spring, when Silverthorne and Frisco elementary schools received their International Baccalaureate authorizations.
Snowy Peaks High School, the district’s alternative high school, is the only Summit School District institution that is not International Baccalaureate authorized, Pace said.
Summit also received district-wide honors for its English Language Learners program. Out of about 40 school districts where at least 15 percent of the student population is enrolled in English language learning programs, Summit School District ranked No. 1 in the state.
More than 25 percent of Summit School District’s students are enrolled in English Language Learning programs, said school board member J Kent McHose.
“I’m amazed at how much we’ve accomplished in the last two years, and especially in the last year,” McHose said. “The whole focus has been on making our courses more rigorous, higher quality and more aligned across the state and the country.
“Ranking at the top among English language learners is an amazing accomplishment and I think people in Summit County can be really proud of the education we’re providing.”
A number of teachers in the district also received recognition this year, Pace said. Crystal Miller, principal at Summit Cove Elementary, was named Administrator of the Year by the Colorado Council International Reading Association.
Drew Adkins, principal at Summit High School; Hollyanna Bates, literacy specialist at Dillon Valley; and Dr. Carl Topper, third-grade teacher at Dillon Valley, were state finalists for principal, teacher and science teacher of the year, respectively.
“It was a really stellar year for our school district and we started an outreach campaign this spring to reach out to people to let them know who we are as a district,” Pace said. “It also allowed us to say thank you to our community because they have always supported education. This is just a fabulous community to live in because they have been such a good, collaborative partner.”
Looking ahead to 2013-14, Pace said there are going to be a lot of changes thanks to recently passed legislation at the state and federal levels.
Next year Summit School District will implement programs in line with educator effectiveness, as well as programs in accordance with the Readiness and Read Acts, which both focus on literacy and early childhood education.
“Like all school districts we’ll have some programs to review in our curriculum and some teacher training to begin in the fall,” Pace said. “Essentially the bills focus on making sure kids are on pace with reading and literacy skills before they reach the third grade.”
“I’m amazed at how much we’ve accomplished in the last two years, and especially in the last year.”
J Kent McHose
Summit School District board member