3 Junction schools earn A’s
New marks from Colorado- SchoolGrades.com give an “A” to three School District 51 schools and two schools in Delta County School District 50.
The site partners with 18 nonprofit groups to rank public schools and assign them A-F letter grades each December.
Scenic Elementary and New Emerson School in District 51 ranked 44th and 70th, respectively, in the rankings this year and each earned an A.
Redlands Middle School, 28th among the state’s public middle schools on ColoradoSchoolGrades.com, also got an A, as did Paonia Elementary School and North Fork Montessori School’s elementary grades in Hotchkiss.
The site worked with the University of Colorado at Denver and R-Squared Research, LLC, to rank 1,816 schools based on their 2012 performance frameworks. The Colorado Department of Education produces frameworks reports for each public school in the state based on Transitional Colorado Assessment Program test score performance and growth year-over-year in individual TCAP scores.
The state assigns performance, improvement, priority improvement or turnaround plans to schools based on the percentage of goals each school meets for test growth and performance.
Instead of handing schools with a certain percentage score a letter grade, ColoradoSchoolGrades.com stacks all elementary schools, middle schools and high schools in order based on their framework percentage score and assigns a grade to each school based on what percentile of the site’s ranking they fall in.
The grades are meant to give parents a clearer understanding of how their children’s schools are performing, according to the site.
“Colorado School Grades replaces fuzzy categories such as ‘performance’ and ‘priority improvement’ with universally understood letter grades (A-F). Our theory is that community members, parents, students, and educators can much more easily understand grades, which convey a ranking scale in a way that the state’s categories do not,” the site’s methodology page says.
Seven out of 10 Colorado schools in 2012 earned performance plans from the state. ColoradoSchoolGrades.com, more focused on how schools compare to each other than how many goals they meet, has a stricter scale, with just the top 10 percent of schools earning an A, A- or A+ and the bottom 15 percent getting grades below C level.
Johnson Elementary and Pomona Elementary in Montrose got D+ grades this year, as did De Beque’s high school grades and the elementary grades at Independence Academy.
Naturita’s middle school grades earned a D and so did the elementary grades at Delta Vision School.
Kurt Clay, Delta 50’s assistant superintendent, said the district relies on performance frameworks, not grades, for figuring out how schools are doing and how they can change. But Clay said he could understand how the grading system may be more user-friendly for families.
District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee said the district also pays more attention to performance frameworks than various ranking sites. But she said the district may look into the grades more this year.
“They’re already using the data we use, but if (grading) helps people understand, it’s fine,” she said.