Aspen schools make the grade |

Aspen schools make the grade

ASPEN ” Aspen schools either held their own or improved over last year, according to the 2007 School Accountability Reports released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education.

Known as a kind of report card for schools, the SARs are based on student scores in the Colorado Student Assessment Program on tests conducted every year in schools throughout the state.

According to the education department’s website, students at the three schools on the Aspen public school campus earned “high” or “excellent” marks.

In the cases of the three traditional public schools, both the Aspen high and middle (grades 5-6) schools received “excellent” ratings, which was labeled an “improvement” for the middle school and a “stable” performance at the high school.

Aspen Middle School grades 7-8, received a “high” rating, for a “stable” performance compared to last year.

“We are very pleased with the results,” John Maloy, assistant superintendent for the Aspen School District, said. ” It appears we are either holding our own or improving” when measured with students across the state.

He noted that the schools have met all of the Average Yearly Progress goals for reading and math, and that local students continue to exceed the state’s average in terms of the numbers of kids who score “proficient” or “advanced” in the subject areas tested.

The Aspen Community School, a charter school in Woody Creek, came in with a combination of “excellent” for grades 6-8 for the third year in a row, and “average” for grades 1-5. Both scores were described as “significant improvement” over the prior year.

Headmaster Jim Gilchrist said Wednesday that he was “really excited about the significant improvement. That’s what we’re always shooting for.”

But, he added, given the fact that such test regimens are of dubious value in very small schools, because the test scores of a single student can have a dramatic effect on the school’s overall performance, “The ratings themselves are not so important to me as looking at the date and working with teachers to see that students do better.”

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