Tag Archives: Joyce Rankin

Saguache News – October 15

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Saguache News – October 13

New School Construction Continues in Saguache Today

Saguache School Construction_October 2018_14

The crew from FCI continues with the new construction of Mountain Valley School in Saguache. Many neighbors were a bit surprised by the four-foot rise in baseline elevation before the first brick had been laid. The center frame work represents the new building’s entrance way. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Reading: It’s Number One!

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

Joyce Rankin

Colorado Board of Education Rep. Joyce Rankin

I pointed out in my July column that teachers have many responsibilities. For example, understanding technology, suicide, depression, mental illness, bullying, drug use and provide sex education, and safe schools.  They also monitor breakfast and lunch programs and, oh yes, did I mention math and reading? But if reading and math aren’t the highest priority, how are our Colorado students performing on assessments? According to the 2018 English, Language Arts (ELA), or reading test, we’re not doing well. The Colorado Measurement of Academic Success (CMAS) ELA scores for third graders show that only forty percent are reading at grade level. Research has shown that students who cannot read by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. And according to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 70% of all incarcerated adults cannot read at the fourth grade level. They lack reading skills necessary to hold down anything but lower paying jobs.

Reading is at the core of learning and our legislature recognized this in 2012 when they passed the READ Act. The READ Act was to ensure students in grades K-3 were getting the help they needed to read at grade level when they exit the third grade. Grants were made available to help students reach this goal and in the 2017-18 school year 40,533 students with significant reading deficiencies (SRD) were eligible for these grants. The total amount directed at these students last year totaled $33M.

Saguache School Construction_October 2018_8

The Mountain Valley School’s new $3.7 million dollar renovation project will bring the buildings and facility up to a 21st century safe, learning environment. Photo: Saguache Today.

With the release of the 2018 Colorado test scores in English, Language Arts (ELA) we found that 40 percent (4 out of 10) of our third graders are reading at or above grade level as they exit the third grade. That means sixty percent are not reading at grade level and, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Colorado mirrors what is happening in the United States and it’s been that way since the 1990’s.

There’s still some good news this month. I’d like to shine a spotlight on two schools in the Third Congressional District receiving the Colorado Succeeds Award for Transformational Impact. Awards were based on a data-driven process conducted by an external analyst to select public schools making transformational gains in academic achievement. Only one elementary school, one middle school and one high school in the state are selected.

Carbondale Middle School in the Roaring Fork Valley was the recipient of the Middle School Award, with Jennifer Lamont, Principal. I met with Ms. Lamont last week and she discussed the reasons for their success.

Delta County School District’s Paonia Elementary School was the winner in the elementary category.  Principal Sam Cox spoke with elected officials recently about the pride he takes in his students, teaching staff and community. On the English Language Arts assessment from last spring, his sixth graders scored 81.5% proficient. That translates to 8 out of 10 students at or above grade level.

Both schools impressed me by their administrative leadership and partnership between teaching staff, parents and community. Could this be the secret to success?

Thank you for the honor to serve on the State Board of Education, 3rd CD.

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache and Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.

Saguache School Construction_October 2018_9

The view from the corner of 6th and Pitkin Avenue in Saguache Today slowly changes with the building of a new school. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Saguache News – September 30

Entrepreneurship Camp for Saguache Students

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s an age-old question!

But thinking about the answer to that question when you have your whole life ahead of you can be exciting. And so it will go for students from Mountain Valley School in Saguache this week as they participate in a three-day Entrepreneurship Camp.

Mountain Valley School Sign

Mountain Valley School District host an Entrepreneurship Camp this week.

As part of HEART of Saguache/KV Student to Career Pathway Initiative, 8th -12th grade students will participate in the program from Thursday – Saturday, Oct. 4 – 5 at Mountain Valley School.

Then on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 2:30 -3:30 p.m. the Entrepreneurship Camp Business Presentation will take place, including the awarding of certificates. Members of the public are invited to come out and support the students, and hear the business presentations that they will have developed during the workshop.

The Entrepreneurship Camp is sponsored by HEART of Saguache/KV, Mountain Valley School and Youth Engagement Expert, Craig Schroeder. For more information please contact Stacey Amos Holden, HEART of Saguache/KV. (719) 849 0957

About the expert . . . .

Craig Schroeder _HEART Saguache

Craig Schroeder

Craig Schroeder grew up on his family’s farm near Holbrook in southwest Nebraska, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1986. In 1989, after an early career in international agriculture trade, Schroeder and his new bride, Dawn, a Los Angeles native, moved back to his hometown of 223 people and experienced firsthand what it is like for a farm boy to come home and a city girl to move to the country.

This decision resulted in an 11-year experiment in young adult recruitment and rural revitalization emerging from the eighties agricultural crisis. Schroeder’s work during this period included the conversion of his former high school into a regional business incubator that has also served as home base for GROW Nebraska for the past two decades.

Schroeder has committed his career to helping rural communities create more prosperous futures; working as a local economic developer, rural telecommunications policy leader, Executive Director of the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, Senior Fellow with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, and President of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development. He has also served on several prominent state and national rural development boards and commissions during his career.

Schroeder’s work extends across 47 states involving well over 40,000 youth, and in Canada, Australia and Russia, helping community leaders, educators and economic development professionals implement effective youth engagement, workforce development and entrepreneurship strategies. And this week, he will be in Saguache working with students from Mountain Valley Schools! The results will be exciting – see you on Saturday!

Saguache News – September 17

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

Joyce Rankin

Colorado Board of Education Rep. Joyce Rankin

School is underway and a highlight of the August State Board of Education meeting was to review students’ achievement measures from last year and to assess how teachers might proceed to move forward this year.

Preliminary results from the 2018 assessments were revealed to the public in August. All of the school and district scores appear on the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website. You can review all of the district and school results and results broken down by a variety of sub groups.  Overall students in Colorado are continuing to improve although, according to Commissioner Katy Anthes we continue to see wide achievement gaps among sub groups.  The department is discussing how best to support districts and schools to ensure that our education system reaches all students.

Reviewing all of the 178 school districts and approximately 1800 schools in Colorado one can quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available. In order to gain a better understanding of Western Slope schools, I focused on the school Frameworks for the area I represent, the 3rd Congressional District.  The school frameworks are a way to hold schools accountable for performance on a consistent set of indicators and measures and allow the department to understand how and where to provide support for the lowest performing schools. Key indicators include academic achievement, growth, and postsecondary workforce readiness.School Construction_school_Saguache Today_1

The school plan categories include, from high to low in this order, Performance, Improvement Plan, Priority Improvement and Turnaround. After the preliminary results are released schools have an opportunity to meet with the Colorado Department of Education for a “request to reconsider”. This allows schools to adjust for incorrectly submitted information or those that have questions and need additional time to meet with CDE to refine their effort.

Because Frameworks have been recorded since 2010, we now have information to compare schools over time which is valuable for schools, districts and the Department. In the district I represent eleven schools have moved into the top two performance plan areas. Thanks to our teachers, parents and students, schools in our district are moving in the right direction. The request to reconsider process is extremely important in determining the FINAL ratings which are scheduled to be made available in November.

I encourage taxpayers to visit the website and learn more about their local schools. And parents, you have specific student related test scores and important information that you can receive directly from your child’s school.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you on the State Board of Education.  It’s an honor to serve the 3rd Congressional District.

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.

 

Saguache News – May 17

Stay With Me Here…

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

Joyce Rankin

Joyce Rankin

Have you wondered how students, in Colorado, compare academically to students in other states?  There is a nationally recognized test given every other year to fourth and eighth graders that has been around since 1969. It’s a snapshot of how our students are achieving in school. The test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report, is known as the Nation’s Report Card. It uses a carefully designed sampling procedure that allows the assessment to be representative of the geographical, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the schools and students in the United States. The recently released 2017 scores show that the United States as a whole hasn’t improved significantly over time.

NAEP is the most extensive continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation’s students know and can do in subjects such as mathematics, reading, science, and writing. It’s not used to isolate school district or individual student achievement but is used to compare state-to-state achievement. Colorado test scores have remained relatively stagnant, however an interesting statistic emerged with the recent NAEP test results for Colorado 8th graders.

Luke Ragland, President of ReadyCO, an organization working to improve education in Colorado, believes that parents should be able to send their children to a public school of their choice. Public Charter Schools are a popular choice for many parents and are part of the public school system. While few options are available in rural Colorado, there are some, including 32 charter schools operating in the area that I represent, the Third Congressional District. Colorado Charter Schools serve a higher percentage of students of color and English Language Learners (ELL) than Colorado’s traditional public schools and receive less funding on average than Colorado’s traditional public schools.

Ragland studied the recent NAEP scores of 8th graders in Colorado Charter Schools. He then compared these Charter School scores to test scores of eighth grade students in public schools throughout the US. The result was that Colorado’s Public Charter Schools outperform the public schools across the nation in both 8th-grade math and 8th-grade reading.

Colorado Charter Schools outperformed all public schools in the Nation. However, all of Colorado eighth graders also deserve a “High Five.”

If we only look at all of Colorado’s 8th graders, including charters, they come in at 17th place, out of 50 states in Math and 8th place in Reading. National averages are 24th and 25th respectively. Congratulations to all eighth grade students, teachers and parents!

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.

Saguache News – March 12

Testing, Testing – It’s Just Around the Corner

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

Joyce Formal sport coat

State Board Rep Joyce Rankin

Do you remember the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)? Yikes, was it that long ago? ITBS, developed in 1935 by the University of Iowa, was administered as a tool for improving K-8th-grade education. Students took tests at each grade level to determine how they were learning. In 2017 Iowa’s new testing program, Next Generation Iowa Assessments (NGIA), was rolled out.  Nearly all of the school districts in Iowa currently use this assessment tool. Many other states are also using Iowa’s tests. Over the years other tests have been developed by different testing companies and Colorado, it seems, has tried more than a few.

Colorado has changed tests over time, in attempts to align with the Colorado State Standards.  There have been ongoing concerns with the time it takes to administer tests and turnaround time, but these times have improved. 

Here is a review of the latest progression of testing in Colorado:

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test was replaced, in 2017, in favor of the Colorado Measurements of Academic Standards (CMAS) tests in Math and English Language Arts (AKA Reading, Writing and Arithmetic!). These tests are ninety minutes shorter than previous tests.  CMAS Tests are given every year from 3rd – 9th grades. Social Studies which encompasses, History, Geography, Civics, and Economics, is administered on a sampling basis with schools participating once every three years. Science tests are taken in grades 5, 8 and 10.

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Students are engaged in learning in Saguache Today Photo: Mountain Valley Schools.

The college entrance exam, the SAT, is taken in 11th grade with the preliminary tests PSAT 9  and PSAT 10 given in 9th and 10th grades respectively. The meaning of the acronym SAT is complicated.  Originally it stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test. Then the name changed to Scholastic Assessment Test. In 1997 the people who created the test announced that the acronym SAT no longer stands for anything.

This year testing will take place from April 9-27.

The SAT can be used for college admission and is known as a “high stakes” test. Students try to get the highest score possible, and there are strict protocols for test administration: students must sit at least four feet apart, if students talk, during the test, they will be dismissed and not receive scores, and students arriving after the exam begins are not admitted. Last month the New York Post reported cheating by 200 students at a Bronx high school.  Students broke every rule set forth by proctors of the exams. For such a high stakes test, it is imperative that strict protocol rules are followed.

We’ve gone from Iowa Tests of Basic Skills to SAT. But what about the Kuder Preference Test? Remember that one? When you finish taking it, you will get an idea of your career path. I just completed the free online version: I’m destined to be a TEACHER! Whew!

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. 

Saguache News – February 19

Common Core Standards Under Review

By Joyce Rankin, Board of Education, 3rd Congressional District

Joyce Rankin

Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache and Saguache County.

She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. She may be reached at joycesrankin@gmail.com.

Remember “Common Core”? That term first appeared in 2010. It referred, at that time, to the controversial Math and English Language Arts Standards that Colorado, along with 41 other states, adopted for the K-12 grades. Is common core working in Colorado and are we ready to accept new nationally created science standards to align with them?  Just how common are Colorado K-12 students?

Colorado state law requires a review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards every six years with the first review to be completed by July 2018.  The Colorado Department of Education (CDE), along with input from a committee of teachers, subject experts, and interested citizens, is reviewing and making recommendations.  The State Board of Education (SBE) will vote on the revisions.

Saguache students Makayla Sisson (left) and Ryker Poor (right) sketch out their initial plans. Photo: Telluride Fire Festival.

At the January SBE board meeting we heard from committee representatives who reported on the work progress in areas of Music, Science, Social Studies, Reading, Writing and Communication.  Recommendations included minor changes to the existing Colorado Standards. However, in the field of Science, committee members suggested that we revise the current Colorado standards in favor of the new “Next Generation Science Standards” (NGSS). These nationally created standards are a sequel to the Common Core Standards in Math, and English Language Arts, and are being considered as replacements for Colorado’s current science standards. The creators of NGSS assert that there is a need for a new “conceptual framework” which will align with Common Core Math and English Language Arts.

Currently, there are no assessments to test against these new standards so teachers and states will have to adopt new curriculum materials and tests to incorporate the new NGSS standards. There will, of course, be a cost to local districts. Prices will include teaching materials, assessments, textbooks, teacher training and ongoing professional development.

Nineteen states have adopted the new standards. However other states have rejected them in favor of keeping their current state science standards. Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Wyoming are among those rejecting NGSS. A few of the objections, beyond the fact that they are a national “one-size-fits-all” approach, include: leaving out content in Chemistry and Physics, teaching man-made climate change and the overall lack of basic science knowledge.

Colorado adopted Math and English Language Arts Common Core Standards in 2010.  Are our students doing better academically because of these standards? Are we ready for a dramatic change in Science standards? 

I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Joyce Rankin may be reached at joycesrankin@gmail.com.