Peak School students score high on standardized tests |

Peak School students score high on standardized tests

Alli Langley
This photo, “Dreams of our Childhoods: Santa Fe Plaza,” by Colorado Mountain College photography instructor Matthew Lit received an honorable mention at this year’s juried International Color Awards competition.
Courtesy Colorado Mountain College |


Monday, May 4

Frisco Elementary, Run 4 STEM, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, May 5

Breckenridge Elementary, spring musical, 6 p.m.

Central Admin. Office, District Accountability, 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 6

Frisco Elementary, 5th Grade PYP Exhibition, 6 p.m.

Summit Cove Elementary, Bike to School Day

Summit High School, band concert, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 7

Silverthorne Elementary, PTA/El Grupo, 4:15 p.m.

Summit Middle School, PTO, 7:30 a.m.

Friday, May 8

Summit Cove Elementary, PTSA, 8:45 a.m.

Students at The Peak School, the only private school in Summit County serving middle and high school students, did well on the nationally recognized Terra Nova exam.

With few exceptions, the 63 Peak students who took the exam scored at or above national averages on all five of its subject tests. School administrators said this follows the expected trend based on high test results from the school’s previous two years.

Three-quarters of the students achieved above-average total scores, and more than half scored in the top 10 percent of the country.

Three Peak students, one in each of the divisions that currently separate students, received the highest possible total score.

“Although standardized testing is not emphasized in our learning style,” said Liz Wood, the school’s director of admissions and communication, “we are certainly proud of these achievements.”

The Peak School opened in 2012 in Breckenridge with 23 students and became a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, a network of hundreds of progressive schools that was founded in the 1980s.

The next year the school moved to its current location on Main Street in Frisco, and by 2014 it had completed an extensive building renovation and nearly tripled its student population.

Peak School receives accreditation recommendation

The Peak School has been working toward accreditation and recently hosted an external review committee from AdvancED, a nonprofit that provides continuous improvement and accreditation services to educational institutions around the world.

After two days of observing classes, interviewing stakeholders and reviewing hundreds of pieces of evidence documenting the school’s practices, the committee recommend the school for accreditation.

In a letter to the school’s families, head of school Steve Coleman wrote that this development typically takes schools five years or more to achieve.

“Having this recommendation prior to the completion of the third year of a school’s existence is an outstanding testament to Peak’s initial planning and its development and stability,” he wrote.

Two areas in particular stood out to the committee as positive, Coleman wrote.

In teaching and learning – which includes student performance, instructional quality, learner and family engagement, curriculum quality, and college and career readiness – the committee found that Peak’s culture and structure provide opportunities for strong relationships between students and teachers, allowing students to be risk-takers with their learning.

In leadership capacity, particularly the work of the board of trustees, the committee found appropriate oversight and clearly distinguished roles and responsibilities.

The committee recommended some improvements, including that the school take steps to identify each student’s learning needs, create a plan to address the technology infrastructure and work on honing the school’s Continuous Improvement Plan.

The accreditation will help the school attract local and international students, receive funding and assist students with their college applications, Coleman wrote.

The AdvancED board will review the recommendation this summer, and Coleman expects the school will be fully accredited in the fall.

CMC photography educator’s work receives international recognition

Summit County photographer and educator Matthew Lit recently received accolades from the eighth annual International Color Awards, which honors excellence in color photography.

On April 19, Lit received notice that eight of his photographs had been selected for recognition. He won an honorable mention for his photograph, “Dreams of our Childhoods: Santa Fe Plaza,” which he entered in the competition’s Americana category.

Five other photographs were also nominated in the Americana category. A seventh photo of a team of Tough Mudder race competitors in Beaver Creek gave Lit a nomination in the sport category.

Photographers from 79 countries entered more than 7,300 images in 33 categories for this year’s competition, and an international panel of 22 fine art and documentary photography professionals from Christie’s, the Edinburgh Film Festival, DB Agency, Frieze and more made the final selections.

After judging the entries online, the panel selected 541 title awards and 750 nominees.

Lit has taught photography at Colorado Mountain College since 1995, including courses in documentary photography, both film and digital photography, and multimedia graphic design. He now teaches digital photography at CMC’s Summit campus and online for the college’s Isaacson School for New Media.

Besides teaching, Lit also serves as an adjunct mentor and tutor at CMC, and served as vice president of adjunct affairs. More of Lit’s work and his International Color Award images can be seen at

For information about Colorado Mountain College summer courses in Summit County, including photography classes, visit

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