Upper Roaring Fork student scores generally weathered pandemic
Across the Roaring Fork School District, three schools achieved higher ratings from 2019 to 2022, two schools had lower ratings during that time period and most remained the same.
A drop in standardized-testing scores and a lack of growth for students year over year since 2019 — minus the pandemic-pause years — has put Glenwood Springs Elementary School on the state’s accountability radar.
The district includes 14 schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.
The Colorado Department of Education still considers its School Performance Framework tracking to be in transition after taking a year off from testing during the height of the pandemic in spring of 2020 and conducting limited testing in 2021.
But, that doesn’t mean accountability measures for school districts and individual schools are on hold.
Glenwood Elementary was the only school to move from the state’s mid-range Improvement Plan status in 2019 to the lower-rung Turnaround Plan following the spring 2022 testing results and other performance measures.
District accreditation and school performance are based on three indicators, Stacey Park, chief academic officer for the district, explained at the Sept. 28 Board of Education meeting — academic achievement, academic growth and, for high schools, post-secondary and workforce readiness.
As anticipated — given the challenges for schools during the pandemic — test scores for many school districts in Colorado fell in 2022. For the Roaring Fork Schools, that resulted in the district moving from “Accredited” to “Accredited: Improvement.”
A caveat to that is that the district had low student participation, Park said.
In addition to the limited testing in 2021, when some grade levels were exempt from testing, families can opt out of having their children take the Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests for grades 3-8, or the SAT Suite tests for high-school students.
Glenwood Elementary will undergo the process to turn things around, per the state guidelines, Park said.
“We are going to begin a process to evaluate the school’s performance and adjust the school’s educational plan and approach in the current school year,” she said during last week’s meeting.
That will involve notification to parents and caregivers about the Turnaround Plan and what it means. A draft action plan is expected to come out of the school’s Oct. 18 Accountability Committee meeting, followed by a public meeting to discuss the plan and eventually a public hearing before the school board to adopt the plan.
District leaders will also continue to meet with school leadership to review the performance frameworks and growth measures, with frequent check-in and targeted support to implement the plan, Park said.
As a whole, district elementary schools are rated as “approaching” academic achievement and growth benchmarks, same as in 2019.
At the middle-school level, Roaring Fork schools are approaching academic achievement goals and currently meet academic growth goals. That was also true in 2019.
And, at the high school level, the district is approaching academic achievement, growth and post-secondary/workforce readiness goals. The only difference there is that high schools met growth goals in 2019.
Glenwood Springs Post Independent Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or email@example.com.
The United States Departments of Education and Health and Human Services will begin sending free Covid tests to schools, which the Aspen School District will take advantage of when their current stock runs low.