Dillon Valley, Breckenridge elementary schools honored with Governor’s Distinguished Improvement award for growth | SummitDaily.com

Dillon Valley, Breckenridge elementary schools honored with Governor’s Distinguished Improvement award for growth

Dillon Valley Elementary and Breckenridge Elementary were awarded the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award for excellent student growth for the third year by the Colorado Department of Education.
Kelsey Fowler / kfowler@summitdaily.com |

For the third year in a row, two Summit School District elementary schools have been honored with a Colorado Department of Education (CDE) award.

The CDE recently recognized both Dillon Valley Elementary and Breckenridge Elementary with a 2013 Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award. The award is given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth, as measured by the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP).

Cathy Beck, Dillon Valley Elementary principal, said because her school is a dual-language program where students learn both English and Spanish, it makes this accomplishment all that more special.

“What’s really wonderful is the test is given in English, so our Spanish-speakers are really making gains,” she said. “It shows they are not only achieving in content knowledge, but language knowledge too.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony Dec. 3, honoring schools and districts in five different categories: Accredited with Distinction under the state’s accountability system, recipients of the 2013 Centers of Excellence, John Irwin Schools of Excellence awards, ESEA Reward School awards and the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement.

Breckenridge Elementary principal Jonathan Johnson said the award is a nice confirmation that what his school is doing is working.

“If I had to choose between growth and achievement I would always want growth,” he said. “It’s exciting to see how growth can allow achievement to become a highlight of all of our kids here.”

For Beck, the TCAP standardized test is just one measure of growth in her school, and said she strives to exceed expectations not only from Spanish-speakers or low achievers, but students at grade level and high achievers too.

“The test just assesses the standards we should be teaching,” she said. “We want to make sure the kids understand the questions, how the test is given, so that it is a true measure of what they know.”

Johnson said he was grateful to his dedicated staff for making it easy to reach these types of goals year after year.

“It comes down to hard-working teachers who really study their craft and really want to do the best they can for these kids,” he said.

Both principals said they were honored to be recipients of the award again, and look forward to continued success in the future.

“There are so many other things to look at for success — smiles on kids faces as they come in the front door,” Johnson said. “This is just the icing on the cake of knowing we are doing great things.”

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