Pike wowed by praise, $10K check

       Dignitaries from the Colorado Department of Education and District 11 officially honored Pike Elementary Jan. 8 for being the Highest Achieving Title 1 School in Colorado.

ABOVE: Pike Elementary students cheer themselves during the awarding of their Highest Achieving Title 1 School in Colorado Jan. 8 in the school gym. Standing in front (from left) are Principal Manuel Ramsey; Tanya Price, chief of staff for Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones; and Jones himself.
BOTTOM: Dignitaries from the Colorado Department of Education and District 11 officially honored Pike Elementary Jan. 8 for being the Highest Achieving Title 1 School in Colorado.
Westside Pioneer photos

       The award had been announced in November, but the 130-student school at 2510 N. Chestnut St. received a nice perk from Jan. 8's special assembly featuring Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones - a $10,000 check.
       In keeping with the festive atmosphere of the day, the check was giant-sized (about 5 feet wide by 2 feet high), displayed by a Pike student holding it in front of herself with two hands.
       “We deposited it in our account,” Principal Manuel Ramsey said this week. “Today a teacher wanted some CD players, because the ones we had were worn out, and we said, 'yeah we can do that.' But we'll be pretty frugal with it [the money].”
       Pike earned the distinction from the results of its Colorado Student Assess-ment Program (CSAP) test scores over the past two years, when 98.62 percent of its students achieved a level of profiency in reading and math.
       In addition to the $10,000, the school received a banner proclaiming the award, a glass plaque and a trip for two to the National Title I conference in Texas in February, where Pike is eligible for the National Title I Distinguished School Award.
       At the assembly, Pike's students sat on the floor in the front part of the gym wearing special T-shirts (different colors for each grade level) that had been ordered for the occasion. Seated before them were the dignitaries and behind them were their parents, others from District 11 and supporters from the community.
       At one point, Ramsey talked about the efforts his staff has put forward to help students improve. Looking at the students, he said, “And do you know the ones we work so hard for? It's you.” He then thanked the students for their hard work, calling the success “truly a team effort.”
       Jones, former superintendent of the Fountain-Fort Carson School District, had fun with the kids, teasing them as the gifts came forward, asking if they'd received enough yet. (“No” was the stock answer.) More seriously, he said, “I want to honor Principal Ramsey for being a great leader and getting unbelievable results.”
       District 11 Superintendent Terry Bishop complimented the school, saying “Pike has set a standard for all schools. It shows that when you set goals, you can achieve them.”
       Ramsey, in his sixth year as principal at Pike, has previously described a system in which each student is tracked on a weekly basis to make sure that compehension is maintained. A Reading First grant, which funds a literacy teacher, has also helped make a difference. And, he has worked to surround himself with like-minded staff - an effort that has even included the painstaking process of relocating tenured teachers.
       Title 1 is a federal term for families with incomes low enough to qualify their students for free or reduced lunches at school. Pike is listed as having 73 percent Title 1 students. The award came through the Title I Distinguished School Program, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of State Title I Directors.

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