Bayfield High School was one of three high schools in the state to receive a Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award this week in Denver.
About 90 schools received the award for demonstrating exceptional student growth, which is a score for individual student learning over time. The high school’s preliminary school performance score is 76.9 out of 100, higher than the state average performance score, 50. For Bayfield, the award is a sign that the community’s hard work is paying off.
“It’s tough work,” said Kevin Aten, Bayfield School District superintendent. “We ask not only the kids but also the teachers to work hard every day. It’s affirming to them.”
Around Colorado, growth normally happens most at the elementary school level, Aten said. For example, 70 elementary schools won the award compared with 23 high schools, middle schools, charter schools, academies and K-8 schools combined. The two other high school winners were in Routt and Douglas counties.
On the school performance framework that is used by the state to evaluate schools, the award-winning schools “exceed” expectations related to academic growth over time and “meet or exceed” expectations related to academic growth gaps.
The growth is partially based on PSAT and SAT scores. The score also factors into teacher evaluations and school rankings, which in turn affect state monitoring, grant opportunities and more.
Bayfield High School is ranked at the performance level, the highest of four school ranking categories. In the past, the school had some behavior and culture issues, but the new strategic plan places a strong focus on social and emotional well-being, Aten said.
Typically, student growth slows or decreases at the high school level, so it’s a big deal that Bayfield High is showing such growth scores, Aten said.
“We have a really good, positive culture of support at the high school,” Aten said. “Staff works well to support kids. Kids won’t work hard and won’t grow in a place they don’t feel safe and supported.”