Tag Archives: CSAP

A Glimpse at New Schools: Cesar Chavez Academy Central

In large part due to its remarkable success with its original Pueblo school, the Cesar Chavez School Network is expanding. 2008 brings the opening of Cesar Chavez Academy-North Central in Colorado Springs, open to students in kindergarten to 8th grade. The free public charter school is authorized by the state’s Charter School Institute. The original Cesar Chavez Academy (CCA) has forged an excellent reputation. Working with a high-minority and high-poverty student population, CCA has helped nearly all its students to reach proficiency in reading, putting it on a rare plateau. The school’s success in closing the achievement gap has earned the attention of the U.S. Department of Education and generated a substantial waiting list of families waiting to get in. The website for the new Colorado Springs school declares the focus of its mission up front: It is the primary goal of the school, through an integrated K-8 program to dramatically increase the number of students who exceed district and state averages on the CSAP assessment and who enter secondary education prepared to succeed in a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum. High expectations, equal learning opportunities, teacher teamwork, and parental involvement are all hallmarks of the CCA franchise. Like its predecessor, Cesar […]


John Barry's Aurora Success Makes Case for Non-Traditional Leadership

It’s hard to argue against the idea that more fresh blood is needed in our public education system. We could do with more school and district leaders who didn’t necessarily rise through the ranks of the teachers union or education bureaucracy who can bring valuable outside skills and perspectives to the challenges faced. Education News Colorado today highlights such a success story in the Denver metropolitan area: Aurora Public Schools raised more than a few eyebrows two years ago when the board of education selected John Barry, a retired U.S. Air Force major general, to take over as superintendent of the state’s third-largest school district. “We were definitely taking a chance,” says Aurora school board chairman Matt Clark. “He was clearly a non-traditional candidate, coming from the military. But we were looking for someone who understood what it took to turn an institution around.” And turn it did. Barry began introducing changes in the way Aurora educates its 32,000 students at a breakneck pace. New curricula. New strategic plan . New coaching method for teachers. New standardized tests . New summer school programs . The launch of a new pilot school — the first of several. New emphasis on truancy […]


New CSAP Scores Tell Colorado It's Time to Advance in School Reform

There’s a big hubbub today about CSAP results being announced. For those of you who don’t know, CSAP stands for Colorado Student Assessment Program – it’s the battery of tests in reading, writing, math, and science that help people to see how well schools and students are performing. The folks in the Education Policy Center and others like them get really excited on days like this, because of all the new information and what story it might tell. I guess this year is really special, because a new “growth model” has been introduced that allows for better measurement of individual student and school progress from year to year. Me? I haven’t had to take any CSAPs yet – frankly, I could do without tests altogether. But I understand why many people might think they are important. Anyway, the Rocky Mountain News has the basic rundown on the latest CSAP scores, and once again, hoped-for progress is not being achieved: Results were up in 11 of the 24 tests given in reading, writing and math in grades 3 through 10. Scores were down in seven tests and unchanged in six. Reading and math scores were generally up, with more grades seeing […]