TELLURIDE – The Telluride School District placed a feather in its cap last week after learning of its recognition by the Colorado Department of Education with a 2010 Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award for Outstanding Academic Performance.
Established in 2000, the award is granted to the top 8 percent of schools in the state whose students have achieved the highest relative growth on statewide assessment tests over three years. This year 153 schools received the award.
“It’s about how much the kids improved; it’s really a great award to achieve,” said Superintendent Mary Rubadeau.
“It means our kids are making more growth that other kids around the state.”
Rubadeau attributed the award in part to the district’s Individual Mission and Assessment Plan collaborative process – or IMAP – in which teachers meet with each other weekly to discuss student performance in the core areas of reading, writing and math. Those students found to be falling behind in progress are provided with different levels of intervention.
For example, “During an elective a student may go to a tutorial to really be laser-focused and work on the skills and content they need to master,” said Telluride Intermediate/Middle School Principal Steve Smith, explaining how the IMAP process might work.
“We just don’t have kids slipping through the cracks and we’re getting accelerated growth,” Rubadeau said.
“It’s just the way we do business and it works.”
Beyond the IMAPs are also great teachers and strong school leadership, motivated students and a supportive school community, she said.
In addition to addressing struggling students, IMAPs are also written for those students requiring enrichment plans to meet accelerated learning goals.
For Smith, whose 7th and 8th grade students were singled out for the award, it signifies something greater than the academic achievements of the two grade levels.
“While it was the Middle School that received the award, this commendation recognizes our students’ outstanding academic growth over a period of years, and thus is directly linked to the overall academic program in grades K-8,” he wrote in a letter to parents and staff announcing the award.
“It means that we’ve got a really solid K-8 program that keeps kids on track and excelling at every grade level,” Smith added in an interview during which he attributed the achievement to “dedicated teachers who don’t give up on kids,” and “hardworking students and parents that support the school and their children.”