Date: 03/11/2009

Best Practices and Successful Schools in Colorado


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

07:39 AM -- Best Practices and Successful Schools in Colorado

Representative Merrifield called the committee to order and made opening comments about the presentation from traditional public schools in high-poverty areas that modelling best practices.

07:41 AM -- Carlile Elementary School

John Covington, Superintendent, Pueblo City Schools; Elaine Madrid, Principal, Carlisle Elementary School; and Greg Sinn, Director of Public Relations, Pueblo City Schools, came to the table.

Dr. Covington introduced Ms. Madrid. Ms. Madrid described her school and the academic growth of her students. She talked about what makes her school successful, discussing maximizing resources in the building and the master schedule. Ms. Madrid described an "intervention hour" in the school, saying during that hour, everyone in the school is working on literacy, including the physical education teacher, the counselor, special education teachers, etcetera. She talked about curriculum mapping, which shows which targets should be focused on to meet state standards.

07:47 AM

Dr. Covington responded to committee questions about curriculum mapping and alignment of academic standards. He also responded to questions about the intervention that was described by Ms. Madrid, explaining that every student in the school district has in individualized education plan.

Ms. Madrid expounded on her earlier discussion of the intervention hour, explaining that students can move up to the next level within the school year. She talked about student goal setting that allows students to track their progress. She responded to a committee question about diagnostic tools and how the system works at Carlile Elementary. She explained the importance of professional development and teacher buy-in.

07:56 AM

Ms. Madrid talked about safety nets in place in the school and about modeling for teachers.

Ms. Madrid talked about use of common language in her school building, saying it goes beyond academics to behavior expectations. She talked about the data used around behavior and teaching behavior expectations.

07:59 AM

Ms. Madrid talked about the sense of community, and programs at the school that encourage that sense of community. She responded to a committee question about budgeting for these programs, talking about restaurants in the community that have been involved. She provided examples of the educational pieces of the programs.

08:03 AM

Ms. Madrid responded to a committee question about arts in the school.

Dr. Covington commented that there are many schools in Pueblo doing excellent work with low-income students.

08:05 AM -- Zebulon Pike Elementary School

Manuel Ramsey, Principal of Zebulon Pike Elementary School in Colorado Springs District 11, introduced himself. He provided a handout related to his presentation (Attachment A). Mr. Ramsey said his school has doubled its reading proficiency in recent years.


Mr. Ramsey talked about the three-systems learning approach at the school. The first system he described is classroom-level instruction, a major piece of which is accountability. He responded to a committee question about arts at the school, talking about classes offered during the school day as well as after-school programs.

08:10 AM

Mr. Ramsey responded to committee questions about the criteria used in hiring teachers. He talked about the importance of capable, committed, and coachable classroom staff and discussed how he evaluates teaching candidates to determine whether they meet the criteria.

Mr. Ramsey also responded to a committee question about teaching with fidelity, explaining that the program must be taught exactly as intended.

08:14 AM

Mr. Ramsey continued, talking about school-wide systems, which are aligned to support classroom instruction. He referred the committee to his handout, which contains an example of a school-wide system.

He responded to a question about allowing teachers to bring their individual experiences to the classroom. He talked about students learning, laughing, and being safe every day at school, and the latitude allowed for teachers to be individuals. Committee discussion around teaching as an art ensued.

08:21 AM

Mr. Ramsey responded to a committee comment about coachability, as well as a comment about transparency in teacher performance.

Finally, Mr. Ramsey discussed parent engagement.

08:24 AM -- Abraham Lincoln High School

Antonio Esquibel, Principal of Abraham Lincoln High School in the Denver Public Schools, came to the table. He provided two handouts about the school (Attachments B and C). Mr. Esquibel talked about the school, describing its student population. He described the history of the school, saying that in 2006 the Colorado Department of Education did an educational review due to declining CSAP scores. The report identified issues around student learning, teaching, and lack of strategies to address the needs of all students.

090311AttachB.pdf 090311AttachC.pdf

08:29 AM

Mr. Esquibel described the Lancer Leadership Cadre (LLC) that was formed to develop a strategic plan to address low academic performance. He talked about the work of the LLC in developing the plan. Mr. Esquibel talked about a number of items that are making a difference in the school, including a focus on students continuing on to higher education and postsecondary educational opportunities at the school.

08:34 AM

Mr. Esquibel talked about increasing enrollment numbers at the school and the reasons for the growing enrollment and successes in the school. He talked about double-digit increases in CSAP scores and an increase in the graduation rate.

08:39 AM

He responded to committee comments and questions, including a question about language around encouraging postsecondary education.

08:42 AM

Representative Merrifield made closing comments to the presenters.

Senator Hudak talked about common threads in the successes of the schools that made presentations.

08:44 AM

The committee adjourned.