West leads improvement in 4 CSAP areas

       West Middle School Principal Clay Gomez is proud of his school's improvement in four categories in last spring's Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) testing. An improved new lunchtime gathering area was constructed
behind the West Middle School building this summer. Students were getting to try it out this week after the new school year started Aug. 18.
Westside Pioneer photo
       In terms of improvement over the previous year's scores for those grade levels, the school's seventh- and eighth-graders were the best middle school in the district in reading and writing. The Colorado Department of Education released the data about three weeks ago.
       West, along with other District 11 schools, opened for the 2008-09 school year Aug. 18.
       "What we were able to do was provide a full-time tutor for reading and writing who worked closely with the literacy teacher," Gomez said, when asked what helped the improvement occur. "There were small groups of students, about eight at a time, and we saw gains in part because of that."
       But education is not always predictable. While his upper two grades were doing better, Gomez noted that the sixth grade's CSAP scores dropped off from the previous year.
       Here are the improvement numbers:
       - Seventh-grade reading - from 66 percent advanced or proficient in '07 to 77 percent in '08.
       - Eighth-grade reading - from 57 percent to 67 percent.
       - Seventh-grade writing - from 52 percent to 60 percent.
       - Eighth-grade writing - from 46 percent to 51 percent.
       In other West news…
  • A newly refurbished half-acre of the school's "backyard" (behind the school, between the track and north wall) was ready for student use when classes started Aug. 18. The work replaced broken concrete, improved drainage, installed a retaining wall around a small grove of trees and created places for students to sit down during lunch period.
  • "It was cracked and ugly," Gomez said. "This makes it a lot more attractive."
           The only problem is that skateboarders have started using the concrete structures (during non-school hours), which could wear them out prematurely. "For skateboarders, this is heaven," Gomez sighed.
           The public newspaper and cardboard recycling bins have been moved from across Pikes Peak Avenue in front of the school to a side entrance along 19th Street. The school gets money if people put more than a a ton of recylables in either bin in a month. Gomez urged local residents not to use the bins for trash.

    Westside Pioneer article