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Dillon Valley Elementary hits elusive goal

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news

There’s a bright spot in Summit School District’s schoolwide scores on the 2010-11 Colorado State Assessment Program: Dillon Valley Elementary is on track for being removed from the list of schools requiring improvement.

And Breckenridge, Frisco, Summit Cove and Upper Blue elementary schools kept up their high assessment scores to make “adequate yearly progress” – or AYP – again this year.

On the other hand, not enough students at the middle school, high school and at Silverthorne Elementary scored partially proficient, proficient and advanced to meet this year’s targets.

Last year, students at Dillon Valley missed their AYP targets in reading and math, keeping them in the school improvement classification. AYP is a measurement defined under the federal No Child Left Behind Act that gauges academic performance for every school and district in the country. Schools in the improvement category are those that receive federal Title I dollars but do not reach AYP targets in the same content area for two consecutive years.

Because Dillon Valley students made AYP in both reading and math this year, the school’s improvement status has been “put on pause,” Summit School District director of assessment and instructional technology Bethany Massey said. The last time the school met AYP was in 2006-07. It’s been required to develop and implement an improvement plan that maps how students will pull out of their consistent slump, and that plan has been met with success. The school could come out of the improvement classification by 2012-13 if scores continue on the upward trajectory.

“Dillon Valley showed a lot of growth gains this past year and they’ve implemented strategic instruction to help,” Massey said, adding that teachers are already talking about what worked from last year so they can keep progressing. Specifically, teachers are keeping their eyes on struggling students and targeting interventions that can help.

Breckenridge, Frisco, Summit Cove and Upper Blue elementary schools all made AYP in the tests, meeting 12 out of 12 targets. Dillon Valley Elementary School met 30 out of 30 of its targets.

Federal targets continue to increase every three years until 2014, when the No Child Left Behind Act culminates with the expectation that 100 percent of students score partially proficient, proficient or advanced in reading and math. Districts and schools reach their AYP targets only when the student body as a whole and all disaggregated groups of students (by race, income, English language learners and students with special needs) meet the targets, or show significant gains towards those targets.

The targets increased 5-13 percentage points in 2010-11, depending on the grade level and content area. It raised the bar for many schools looking to continue to improve their students’ abilities in reading and math – but it didn’t faze these elementary schools.

On the other hand, scores at Silverthorne Elementary, Summit Middle School and Summit High School were insufficient for all three schools to make AYP in both math and reading. Silverthorne is listed for possibly appearing on the school improvement list for reading if the trend continues.

Silverthorne met about 83 percent of its 2010-11 targets, as did Summit High School. Summit Middle School achieved 78 percent of its targets this year.

“We already know we have low achievement in some of those areas, and schools are addressing some of those areas to see what is lacking and what do we need to do to improve,” Massey said, explaining that one example is the middle school’s targeted intervention period where teachers identify students who need help and provide additional instruction during that period.

The Colorado Department of Education also calculates AYP for all districts in the state, and Summit School District as a whole didn’t make the grade.

Enough students took the test for Summit School District to meet participation requirements in both subjects, but the district struggled in terms of performance in both math and reading when it came to Hispanic students, English language learners, the economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities.

Students in these categories failed to achieve the required percentage of proficient or advanced scores in math and reading at all three levels of learning – elementary, middle and high school.

Summit Schools’ students met 82 of 101 targets in 2010-11, or 81 percent, when they must meet 100 percent to make AYP. Because Summit Schools hasn’t made AYP overall in consecutive years, the district is in the corrective action stage.

To address the problem, the district is taking action on the school level, Massey said. For example, students at Dillon Valley and Silverthorne elementary schools – schools that receive supplemental federal funds because of the makeup of their student population – can receive tutoring or school choice. At the middle and high schools, other improvement strategies are in place, like assessing student progress on state standards weekly in math and intervening immediately when students aren’t understanding concepts.

In 2011, 25 percent of districts in Colorado made AYP (down from 48 percent in 2010). Fifty-three percent of districts (97 districts) made at least 90 percent of their targets. Eighty nine Colorado districts are on improvement in 2011.

To learn more about school and district AYP results, visit http://bit.ly/np3mca. For more information on AYP, visit http://bit.ly/pgoNzk. Additionally, data will be available on http://www.schoolview.org in the next few weeks.


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