Area middle schools earn passing grades | AspenTimes.com

Area middle schools earn passing grades

John GardnerGlenwood Springs correspondent

The Roaring Fork School District’s annual accreditation process of its schools has begun.School board members approved the accreditation of Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Carbondale middle schools at their regular school board meeting Wednesday night.And Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall was happy with what she saw.”It’s looking good to me,” she said.Principals Brad Ray of Glenwood Springs Middle School, Christian Kingsbury of Basalt Middle School and Cliff Colia of Carbondale Middle School presented information to board members on the status of the schools’ performance in accordance to the Adequate Yearly Progress reports. These presentations are to let the board know how each school did on the previous year’s goals the district and the principals set, and to update the board on plans to meet the goals for the current year.”It’s a circular process,” Haptonstall said. Over the course of the year, student data determines the effectiveness of the programs. Around June, after school lets out, the principals meet with the district administrators to discuss how the year went and how the programs are doing.”We get together to see how everything is going and to determine what areas still need to be worked on,” Haptonstall said. In August they meet again to “re-evaluate the direction the schools are going” she said, and to set goals for the upcoming school year. This happens before they’ve seen any of the results from the Colorado Student Assessment Program test scores. Principals then meet with teachers and parents from the community to get a better idea of what specific areas need attention. Then, in October, the principals present the board with actions to meet the goals.”Each school is different from the next,” Ray said. “There is some flexibility from the district office on what each school should do because we may not all have to address the same issues.”The middle schools for the Roaring Fork District have 32 categories the federal government set to achieve AYP. Basalt Middle School was the only one that met AYP, but according to Ray, the schools are still making great progress.”We didn’t meet AYP, which is frustrating,” Ray said. “You either make it or you don’t. But I’m proud to say that we did test 100 percent of our students, and that gives us a very accurate picture of what needs to be improved upon.”Ray is a first-year principal after being an assistant for the previous two years at Glenwood Springs Middle School. He feels that the process is working, but it just takes time.”Data has become a huge issue at the schools,” he said. “This data that tracks the students’ progress is used to drive the instruction and determine the best academic course to take to meet AYP.”Federal government sets the AYP guidelines to determine status, which in turn could determine the amount of funding the schools receive from the federal government. And it’s all based on student achievement.”I’m excited to see the work that they are doing this year,” Haptonstall said. “It’s really going to be exciting to see the data and see how we met our goals through some of the new programs.”Accreditation for the high schools and elementaries will follow in the coming weeks.