Tag Archives: Joyce Rankin Colorado State Board of Education

Latest News – April 13

Leadville School News You Can Use!

Tonight students, parents and staff will attend the Celebration of Learning at West Park Elementary School. Find out what the younger students have been up to this school year by attending this interactive evening of fun and learning from 6 – 7 p.m. at West Park Elementary School.

Set up like a small scale science fair, students at Lake County Intermediate School (LCIS) presented what they learned so far to friends and family at the LCIS Celebration of Learning In February. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

NO School for Lake County School District students tomorrow Friday, Apr. 14. On the official school calendar, it’s a teacher Professional Development day, which mean students are not in school but for teachers its a work day.

Testing, Testing, 1, 2,3 . . . Examine Your School!

Colorado Board of Education Rep. for Leadville, Joyce Rankin

It’s spring and with it comes the time for testing. For many this is a dreaded time of year, but for all a time to take sample online practice tests and put on the thinking cap.  I remember when I was in school and nervous about taking tests, my mother would tell me “Wear your Sunday best clothes.  You’ll feel better and perform better.” Somehow it gave me an edge, or so I thought. Here’s a little insight into the testing that Colorado students will be involved in this month.

Colorado’s measurement of student progress is called Colorado Measures of Academic Success or CMAS. These tests will be given between April 10th and April 28th, and include math, English language arts, science and social studies. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)-developed, English language arts (ELA) and mathematics assessments. This can be confusing to say the least. There is heated controversy about testing for various reasons. Just ask anyone in your community who has a student in school. One of the issues related to testing is a Federal law that requires 95 percent of the students to be tested, confounded by a Colorado law that allows parents to opt their students out of taking the tests.

Colorado allows parents to opt their students out by written note, which excuses their student from taking the tests, without penalty. However parents, if they choose to “opt out” of the test, will not know their child’s academic attainment and growth for the year. If their school district doesn’t meet the 95 percent participation rate requirement in two or more content areas for reasons such as students that just skip taking the test, without a parent excuse, the school or district’s plan type will be lowered one level. 

What is a plan type? These are the overall ratings of a school or district.  There are five ratings for a district. From highest to lowest: Accredited with Distinction, Accredited, Accredited with Improvement, Priority Improvement and Turnaround. Of the 51 districts in the third congressional district, 29 were rated Accredited with Distinction or Accredited for the 2015-16 school year.  The others had various other ratings including insufficient data and low participation where no ratings were applied.  It will be interesting to see how the state and congressional districts do this year with more parents understanding the process and implications. All of the information for schools and districts can be found on the Colorado Department of Education’s website.

So students and parents, it’s going to be a serious time in school this month.  My advice: “Put on your Sunday best and take the test.” Then understand how you’re doing in school.

Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes the Lake County School District. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to inform constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. She is also a Legislative Assistant for Representative Bob Rankin, House District 57.






Latest News – March 19

ROAR! Miles of Smiles and Piles of Corned Beef

The Leadville Lions Club served up some delicious corned beef and cabbage after the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Friday afternoon. Pictured left to right are John Circullo, Frank Bradach (green wig), Howard Tritz, Jean Elliott, Sue Witmer, Connie Yant, Sondra Trapp-Tritz, Joann Circullo, Ann Marie Bradach, Marlene Eisenring, Sandra Harting. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell.

From The State Board of Education: School Choice

Back on January 25 in honor of National School Choice Week, Leadville Today published a story about the choices for Lake County students. The article included a fact-checked and attributed breakdown in the number of Leadville students who were choosing to turn outside the Lake County School District (LCSD) for their education, from Buena Vista to Summit County to the Vail Valley.

The Old Malta Schoolhouse’s red color paints a stark contrast against Leadville’s bright blue skies, much like schoo choices for Lake County families today.

It was a widely read post and one that came to the attention of Joyce Rankin with State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes the Lake County.

Since then, the topic of school choice continues to gain momentum at both the state and federal levels. To that end, LT offers the following column from your State Board representative on the matter. She may be reached at joycerankin@yahoo.com.

School Choice: Your Options May Be Changing

By Joyce Rankin, State Board of Education, Third Congressional District.

School choice is a term for K-12 public education options describing a wide array of programs offering students and their families’ alternatives to those publicly provided schools assigned based on the location of their family residence. Two popular school choices are Charter Schools and Open Enrollment.

Charter Schools are public schools that are founded by parents, teachers or community members. They provide alternative educational programs that differ from traditional public schools. Colorado charter schools operate by way of a contract (charter) that has been authorized either by a school district or the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI).

Colorado State Board of Education Representative Joyce Rankin (photo)

An example of school choice in Western Colorado offers the Durango School District in southwest Colorado both types of charter schools and multiple other offerings.  Durango has two Charter School Institute schools and four private schools. This year the district opened their first online school with Colorado Connections Academy @ Durango, an online platform available to students across the state.  They also have a new elementary school as well as a new public charter school sponsored by the district.

Superintendent, Dan Snowberger, is a supporter of school choice. Last November, Durango passed a $1.7 million mill levy override that would be shared equally with charter school students.  Schools under the Charter School Institute typically do not get a piece of mill levy override money.  Said Snowberger, “The district’s actions said loud and clear that it embraces and values each and every one of the students in their public schools.”

In Lake County School District (LCSD), as reported in Leadville Today the online news source serving Lake County, parents are taking advantage of open enrollment to select a school that they believe is the best choice for their children. Open enrollment allows students to enroll in schools outside the district for which they are zoned.

LCSD includes three schools: West Park Elementary, Lake County Intermediate and the recently upgraded Lake County High School. Lake County also has a charter school, Greater Heights Academy with 52 students. Even with a physical school upgrade many parents choose to travel in order to exercise their educational choices. With a total of 911 students enrolled within the district, 61 Leadville students, travel to Buena Vista School District, 32 are enrolled in Summit County School District and 22 students are driven over Vail Pass daily to attend Eagle County School District. 

Parents want to be involved in their child’s education and often take advantage of opportunities other than their local neighborhood school. In Durango it was a fairness issue of distributing tax dollars equally to include Charter Schools and expanding online choices. In Leadville it united parents with carpooling and community discussions about what neighboring schools had to offer. In both cases parents are taking an active role in selecting the school that best fits their child. Under the new administration there may be more school choice programs on the horizon…..stay tuned.

Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to inform constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.