Congratulations, Clifton

There’s no need to read between the lines regarding third-grade reading scores at Clifton Elementary School. They jumped an eye-popping 27 percentage points from last year’s scores.

This year, 74 percent of Clifton third-graders are reading at or above their grade level, according to the latest results from the Colorado Student Assessment Program — the CSAP tests.

Congratulations to all the staff, students and parents at Clifton. The good news is that District 51 showed us it has the know-how to do it. The bad news (for District 51) is now that we know what can be accomplished, the district must do it for all schools.

While the Clifton celebration is taking place, residents of School District 51 have reason to ask why a handful of elementary schools in the district still show such paltry proficiency in reading among third-graders. Most elementary schools in the district have very respectable reading-proficiency figures. Some are very high.

The population of students at Clifton Elementary is among the poorest in District 51, and one of the most transient. Yet the school was able to make a significant turnaround.

We recognize that the state turnaround plan provided additional financial resources to assist Clifton Elementary in that effort.

But the point remains that at a school such as Clifton, results for the most fundamental academic building block — the one upon which all other educational achievements are based — can be substantially improved with appropriate focus and effort.

So, while we celebrate Clifton’s success, we should demand similar improvement at low-performing schools in the district.


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