Junior high school gets ‘High’ rating on accountability report

For the fourth year in a row, Pagosa Springs Junior High School has received a “High” rating on the School Accountability Report (SAR) in the area of Academic Performance.

Released every year, the SAR compares data from 1,998 regular and alternative schools from across Colorado and, among those schools, 32.5 percent were given a “High” rating.

Comparisons in the SAR include the Program Type, Academic Performance and Academic Growth Rating, by school. In previous years, the SAR had only included the Academic Performance category and, because it also received a “High” rating in the Academic Growth Rating, PSJH was the only middle school in the region to receive a rating of “High” for academic growth of their middle school students.

Principal Chris Hinger was almost speechless when pressed to discuss the school’s achievement, finally saying, “I’m very proud of the students and staff for their dedication to learning during the day.”

The 2008 Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) scores for PSJH provide evidence of how well PSJH students are performing. Whereas 39 percent of eighth-graders statewide scored “Proficient” in Science, 63 percent of PSJH students in that grade were “Proficient” (the CSAP tests only grades 5, 8 and 10 in science), 38 percent higher than the state average for proficiency. In fact, PSJH eighth-graders outscored state “Proficient” averages in all categories: reading (32 percent), writing (32 percent), and mathematics (34 percent).

Furthermore, PSJH eighth-graders had lower percentages than state averages for “Unsatisfactory” and “Partially Proficient” scores for all categories — an indication that fewer PSJH students perform below state standards than is average statewide.

“The growth number — that’s the number I’m really proud of,” said Hinger, “It’s a good indication of a good, healthy program. And it’s testament to the hard work and dedication of all the teachers involved, from K through eight, they all deserve credit for this.”

jim@pagosasun.com