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Center schools see significant TCAP progress

Posted: Friday, May 11th, 2012

CENTER — Center Consolidated School District’s Haskin Elementary School posted a 35 percent increase in proficient and advanced performance over 2011 results, boosting their third grade TCAP (formerly CSAP) reading scores.

The scores were released by the Colorado Department of Education on Wednesday.

This significant growth comes only two years into implementation of a three-year, $550,000 per year federal school turnaround grant that has supported systemic change in the school of approximately 300 students.

As do most schools identified for turnaround, Haskin faces steep demographic challenges including a 94 percent poverty rate, a 50 percent English language learner population, and a 30 percent migrant population. After scoring only 28 percent proficient or advanced in 2010, the school’s 2012 result landed third grade reading performance at 76 percent proficient or advanced: two percent higher than the state average.

Superintendent of schools George Welsh credited a solid plan, developed by Haskin’s transformation team led by director of instruction Lori Cooper and principal Kathy Kulp, for producing a rapid increase in performance.

After identifying the school’s struggles in building a solid curriculum aligned to state standards, the lack of a cohesive way for teachers to instruct literacy and the need for leadership training to support such needs, the transformation team made the decision to partner with education providers Lindamood-Bell and Focal Point.

Lindamood-Bell provided Haskin with comprehensive training for all teachers and support staff members in reading intervention strategies and whole class reading instruction. Focal Point contributed a curriculum aligned to Colorado standards and intensive administrator training in classroom supervision and instructional feedback techniques.

At a Haskin Elementary School staff meeting when the 2012 results were announced Paul Worthington, Lindamood-Bell’s director of professional development attending via an internet video connection, said Haskin’s 2012 results were “Better than Bessemer,” in reference to reading growth shown by Pueblo’s Bessemer Elementary School from 1997 through 1999 that garnered national attention. Lindamood-Bell led Bessemer’s improvement efforts during that time period.

Dr. Andrea Kutinsky, Director of Focal Point, said “It’s clear to us that the staff and administration of Haskin Elementary School has taken to heart the training and resources they have been offered and have applied them through hard work and determination.”

Haskin’s principal Kathy Kulp credited the knowledge and support of the school’s partners and the hard work exhibited by staff members for the sharp increase in 2012 3rd grade reading results. “What is really exciting,” she added, “is that our local benchmark assessments are showing significant increases in achievement just like this in all subjects and at all grade levels measured.”

Welsh, whose district was a major participant in the recent Lobato v. Colorado landmark education finance lawsuit, said, “We think the results we are achieving are a real life indication that a significant infusion of dollars, spent wisely in targeted areas, can produce the kinds of results the state has striven for through the education system it has designed.

“Without the opportunities that were afforded to us through our turnaround grant we would probably still be where we were in 2010 when only 28 percent of our third graders could read at grade level.”

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