High marks are due 
to Scenic Elementary

Congratulations to the folks at Scenic Elementary School — students, teachers, parents and administrators. As The Daily Sentinel’s Emily Shockley reported Saturday, Scenic recorded the greatest amount of growth on state reading tests of any elementary school in the state. That’s certainly welcome news in a year that has seen mostly mediocre numbers for School District 51 schools on statewide tests.

And it’s not as if Scenic started from an extremely low base. Its third and fourth graders were at 70 percent proficiency and 72 percent proficiency respectively in reading skills on the 2011 statewide tests. This year, fourth and fifth graders — mostly the same students from the third and fourth grades at Scenic in 2011 — boosted their reading proficiency to 77 percent and 79 percent respectively.

That helped raise Scenic’s overall student growth in reading skills to the 82nd percentile, the best for any elementary school in Colorado.

Those are impressive numbers, and everyone associated with the reading efforts at the school on the Redlands has a right to proclaim, “We’re No. 1.”

However, education is about more than just test scores and rankings among schools, even though those are important for parents interested in knowing how well their children’s schools are doing.

Educating our children, and doing it well, must be a top priority for any society that hopes to survive and prosper in the future. And proficiency in reading is the foundation upon which all other academic skills are built.

Scenic’s success in that area shows the administration and faculty are committed to establishing that solid foundation, and that they enjoy a valuable partnership with students and parents to accomplish their goals.

Among other things, Scenic uses an after-school homework club, an extended study period during lunch and reading aides to help develop its students’ academic proficiency.

It’s true that money alone can’t guarantee a quality education. But it’s also true that programs such as those utilized at Scenic require more money than basic classroom instruction, and money remains in short supply throughout District 51.

We realize that not every elementary school in District 51 enjoys the same demographics as Scenic. Other schools in the district have higher numbers of students living below the poverty level and more transient student populations. Therefore, it is more problematic for many of them to match the academic success of a school such as Scenic, even though we know there are dedicated teachers, administrators and students at each of the schools.

None of that, however, diminishes what the people at Scenic have accomplished. They deserve recognition and acclaim for being the top in the state and setting an example about the importance of reading in academic growth.


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