Howbert named ‘Irwin’ school for being among state’s top 8%

       Through strong Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test scores in reading and math over the preceding three years, Howbert Elementary is ranked among the top 8 percent of schools in the state.

Gail Smartt

       The result is the distinction of being named a John Irwin School of Excellence. Howbert is among 151 schools statewide that merited Irwin awards. The list includes the Pleasant Valley school and three others in District 11 (Chipeta, Scott and Steele elementaries).
       “We're pretty happy about it,” said Howbert Principal Gail Smartt. “It took a lot of hard work. The staff, parents and students here are committed to excellence.”
       Howbert had previously gained an Irwin designation for 2008, when the award was based on a single year's scores. New state legislation in 2009 changed the award's time frame to three years, and the award was not given out that year because of the transition to the new format, said Kady Dodds of the Colorado Department of Education. The award this year is for CSAP test scores from 2008 to '10. The annual tests are taken each spring, with the full results not announced until late July or August.
       The Westside' Holmes Middle School, which had earned an Irwin in 2006, '07 and '08, just missed the award this time, placing in the top 12 percent of the state's schools.
       Holmes Principal Rob Utter emphasized that he was not trying to make excuses, but a change in the school's attendance area after the 2009 District 11 consolidation resulted in an increase in its enrollees in the free and reduced lunch program (nearly 40 percent, compared to the previous 30 percent). “That's what we're trying to work on this year,” Utter said, “how to adapt to those learners.”

Westside Pioneer article