SEVERANCE — Evan Netzer received a back-to-school gift he’ll probably never forget.
Netzer, 30, a fifth-grade teacher at Range View Elementary School in Severance, learned two days before the first day of school that 100 percent of his 24 fifth-graders scored proficient and advanced on their Transitional Colorado Assessment Program reading tests last spring.
“It’s a staff full of awesome people, and last year I just happened to have the group of kids that did a really great job. They all just tried really hard,” Netzer said.
Netzer, who started his fifth year of teaching at Range View on Thursday when students reported for the first day of school, made sure to give credit to other teachers and staff members.
“I don’t think I’m naive enough to believe that it was all me. I think there are some amazing teachers,” Netzer said. “The fourth-grade teachers are amazing and they did a great job with them, and the third-grader teachers and the second-grade teachers. I really think that it was a team effort. I think the specialists are amazing here, and they were the ones that did a great job with helping those low kids really bring their grades up.”
According to Re-4 district assessment coordinator Amy Heinsma, having an entire class score proficient and advanced on a particular subject has never happened since the district stated tracking classroom level data three years ago.
“I don’t recall seeing it in the last five years since I’ve been here,” Heinsma said. “Never seeing it at 100 percent. If kids are reading a lot and know that reading is important, they’re going to be successful. We always want to celebrate successes of teachers and make sure they know they’re doing a great job.”
It was another productive testing time for staff and students in the Windsor-Severance Re-4 District after the Colorado Department of Education released the TCAP results Thursday.
Third- through 10th-grade students scored proficient and advanced in 23 of 24 tests in math, reading and writing that they took last spring. The only exception where students scored below the state average was 10th-grade math, where 32 percent of the students scored proficient and advanced. The state average was 33 percent.
“We focused on math there for quite a while,” Heinsma said. “We keep trying to make sure that kids have that good foundation so when they get to the high school they’re able to be successful. We try and motivate them.”
Grandview Elementary School’s scores increased in seven of nine categories from 2013, including 91 percent of the third-graders scoring proficient and advanced in reading. Windsor Charter Academy’s third-graders scored 94 percent proficient and advanced in math. TCAP tests were previously called CSAP (Colorado Student Assessment Program) tests.
Last year, Re-4 students scored proficient and advanced in 27 of 27 tests. In 2012, the students scored proficient and advanced in 23 of 27 tests. In 2011, the students scored proficient and advanced in all 27 areas of the tests. In 2010, the district’s students scored above the state average on 26 of 27 tests.
“We know that a lot of hard work and effort goes into each year by teachers, students and families in order for students to do well and show what they know, but we also know that one test isn’t going to tell the whole story,” Heinsma said. “We do see this as a snapshot of areas we may need to review, as well as celebrations.”
Heinsma said the district is proud of its students and their success overall on the TCAP tests.
“Our goal is to always improve and always get better. The Weld Re-4 School District leadership teams have already had a chance to review data, discuss initial results and trends and review areas we would like to improve, as well as the areas we continue to do well,” Heinsma said. “Each school will be meeting with staff to set goals and update school improvement plans this fall.”
Heinsma said this year reading, writing and math were assessed with TCAP. Science and social studies were the first round of online assessments in the spring, and those scores will be released in September.
Netzer, who taught third grade for two years at Mountain View Elementary School before transferring to Range View, said he had no magic potion for his reading students.
“We read a lot. It sounds elementary, but I have my kids reading a ton,” Netzer said. “There is an author that I’ve read, his name is Mike Schmoker, and he talks about that if you want kids to be good readers you have them reading a lot. If you want to be a good writer, you write a lot. It seems really basic, but I guess that’s what I was trying to do last year. I really spent a lot of time with my kids having them reading a lot of books, discussing it in small groups and just giving them a lot of time to read that was uninterrupted.”
Range View’s fifth-graders scored 86 percent proficient and advanced to lead the district’s fifth-graders in reading.
“There are just amazing teachers out here. The district has amazing teachers, and this school is phenomenal,” Netzer said.
“We know that a lot of hard work and effort goes into each year by teachers, students and families in order for students to do well and show what they know, but we also know that one test isn’t going to tell the whole story.
Re-4 District Assessment Coordinator