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Ok, you have no doubt realized that I’m not a fan of standardized tests, especially the imperfect CSAP, but it IS an indicator of what might be happening on the ground at a school.

Force principal Lisa Mahanna, left

The district just released the CSAP scores for 3rd graders, and we have some notable schools.  These are the percentages of 3rd graders at or above proficiency.

Castro: In 2009, of 47 students, 19% were at/above.  This year, of 55 students, 27% were at/above.  Gain of 8 points.

College View: In 2009, of 39 students, 38% were at/above.  This year, of 44 students, 39% were at/above.  Gain of 1 point.

Force: In 2009, of 41 students, 37% were at/above.  This year, of 53 students, 45% were at/above.  Gain of 8 points.

Grant Ranch: In 2009, of 65 students, 54% were at/above.  This year, of 78 students, 58% were at/above.  Gain of 4 points.

A Gust kindergarten sight words pyramid

Gust: In 2009, of 44 students, 41% were at/above.  This year, of 61 students, 57% were at/above.  Gain of 16 points.  Yes, I said 16.

Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy: In their first year, of 50 students, 56% were at/above.

(The beleaguered) Munroe: In 2009, of 36 students, 28% were at/above.  This year, of 58 students, 33% were at/above.  Gain of 5 points.

Newlon: In 2009, of 55 students, 25% were at/above.  This year, of 74 students, 39% were at/above.  Gain of 14 points.

Schenck/CMS: In 2009, of 34 students, 29% were at/above.  This year, of 46 students, 35% were at/above.  Gain of 6 points.

Valverde: In 2009, of 23 students, 39% were at/above.  This year, of 19 students, 42% were at/above.  Gain of 3 points.

Now, a little gratuitous cheerleading…

  • Best improved under duress: This award absolutely HAS to go to Munroe.  With a principal Dr. Abigail Brown in the driver’s seat for less than a year, these are fantastic results.
  • Kunsmiller's Dr. Diana Howard (in green)

  • Southwest Denver’s best-kept secret: Right out of the chute, this award goes to Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy.  This is what happens when you offer a whole-child education to primarily low-income kids: more than half of them are at/above proficiency.  Under the loving and nuturing leadership of the amazing Dr. Diana Howard, this school has nowhere to go but up!  Keep in mind that Dr. Howard also prematurely took on the former, phased-out Kunsmiller Middle School kids instead of letting them be displaced to other schools.
  • Runner up for Jewel of the Southwest: Cheers for Newlon, nestled in the West Barnum neighborhood, chock-full of low-income families.
  • Official Jewel of the Southwest: This prize goes to gifted/talented magnet school Gust Elementary.  Led by principal Jamie Roybal, this school took a sharp uptick in student population and spiked their results.  Jamie is an extremely purposeful and caring leader, and I’m so proud of the school’s work.  Plus, her dad is a former administrator and a member of the Southwest Denver Kiwanis Club…very nice man.

Overall, the district did well.  There are a couple new trouble spots, and I will be making personal visits to these schools to see what I can do to help.  I’ll keep you posted.