Howbert sets CSAP pace
School’s 3rd grade scores are best in District 11

       Howbert Elementary third grade topped all the schools in District 11 with a score of 97 on this spring's Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) reading test. A combined choir from Howbert and Pike elementaries belted out the tune, “Play That Music,” during Howbert’s 
second annual Spring Festival of the Arts April 27. 
Westside Pioneer photo
       The score, representing the percentage of students whose reading levels tested at proficient or advanced levels, topped all but one public school in the region and was the 14th best in the state, according to Colorado Department of Education figures.
       “Everyone's very pleased with the students' hard work,” said Kristen Whitcomb, the testing coordinator for the Pleasant Valley-area school. “We're all very proud.”
       She credited extra efforts by third-grade teachers Michele Buter and Sandra Moncada for helping achieve the drastic improvement in third-grade reading levels, which were reflected in the CSAP testing in March. The previous three years of Howbert third-grade scores had been 76 in '05, 73 in '04 and 83 in '03.
       Whitcomb said that throughout the year the teachers had been working with some of their students after school to boost their reading abilities. This proved more effective than having tutors “because the classroom teachers knew their students very well,” she said. “They knew where they were in their learning and they could continue from that point.”
       Unlike many schools, Howbert does not provide T-shirts, prizes or other inducements for students to focus on the CSAP tests. “We just emphasize learning and help them understand this is an opportunity to show what they've learned,” Whitcomb said.
       Other Westside elementaries went up or down in single digit amounts, except for Washington's 24.53 percent improvement and Ivywild's 29.85 percent drop. Washington showed the second biggest increase in District 11 (behind Howbert's 27.63). It raised Washington from 53 percent proficient or advanced in 2005 to 66 percent this year.
       The third-grade CSAP reading scores traditionally are released first to give statewide educators a feel for how students are doing. Results for other grade levels in reading as well as math and science will be released later this year.

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