When the state of Colorado started recognizing student growth on the state assessments nearly 10 years ago, Paonia Elementary started recognizing individual student growth with dog tags. Most recently, these "eagle" tags recognize high growth for fourth through sixth grade students who took the state math and English language arts (ELA) tests the previous year. During this year's ceremony, 39 eagle tags were given to 32 students who were recognized for high growth in one or both subjects. Those numbers don't include the other 43 eagle tags sent up to Paonia Junior-Senior High School to recognize last year's 25 sixth graders who had high growth.
Paonia Elementary believes its focus on whole student growth has been one of the secrets to its long-term success. It understands that Colorado's focus on growth related to the state test is just one piece of the puzzle, but PES believes it is a very important piece. In our state, high growth is defined as having growth in the state's 65th percentile and above. It is so valuable because that growth measure is about students competing only against themselves and demonstrating what they have learned in math and ELA from the previous year. The state tests measure learning and growth related to the state standards, to which all teachers in Colorado are required to teach. Achievement is another area monitored by the state, but PES specifically addresses achievement by working to ensure every student shows growth. If they do, PES believes achievement will take care of itself.
Accompanying this article are pictures from PES's most recent eagle tag ceremony. Specific results related to those who earned eagle tags are as follows:
Last year's fourth graders who demonstrated high growth were (numbers represent percentiles): Skylar Anderson (math 85 /ELA 86), Jakob Carver (ELA 77), Avery Cowan (math 87), Ashlie Ferguson (ELA 70), Joel Frazier (math 92/ELA 91), Mario Gamma (ELA 79), Brooke Harding (ELA 99), Heidi Johnson (math 92/ELA 86), Elias Keil (math 73), Gracelynn Lubin (ELA 95), Giovanna Luna (math 95/ELA 72), Jilli Mills (ELA 74), Edwin Pantoja-Torres (ELA 85), Michael Roach (math 71), Ryaunna Rhodes (ELA 99), Contessa Sprinkle (ELA 94), and Olivia Tribble (ELA 69).
Fifth graders who demonstrated high growth were Lane Allen (math 81/ELA 98), Kohen Booth (math 69/ELA 77), Mariah Callen (math 83/ELA 74), Elle Deja Connolly (ELA 82), Baylee Cowger (ELA 79), Ella Eves (math 98/ELA 98), Kaidence Godwin (ELA 85), Ryder Hart (math 86), Jose Mojarro (math 68), Sheldon Nichols (ELA 98), Josiah Peters (ELA 90), James Roach (ELA 78), Emma Roberts (math 70), and Kelly Thliveris (ELA 78).
Sixth graders from last year who demonstrated high growth: Jacob Arterburn (ELA 97), Trey Bejararno (math 78), Edwardo Carrillo (ELA 96), Jorge Carrillo (ELA 91), Ace Connolly (ELA 79), Leia Ellenberger (ELA 66), Logan Farnsworth (ELA 98), Gabe Fernandez (math-97/ELA 99), Royal Fulton (ELA 93), Malikhi Hamilton (math 99), Matthew Horn (ELA 97), Aiden Kinser (ELA 97), Natasha Meader (math 88/ELA 79), Keira Moxley (math 85/ELA 89), Jasmine Ramsay (ELA 82), Laurie Roach (ELA 73), Carmen Rodriquez (math 90), Ally Seriani (math 93/ELA 90), Kelsey Simpson (math 87/ELA 78), Mia Stolmeier (math 73/ELA 78), Easton Tribble (math 74/ELA 76), Keira Tyan (ELA 65), Delilah Vasquez (math 84/ELA 99), Ian Wallace (math 87/ELA 78), and Olivia White (math 86/ELA 83).
The PES eagle tag ceremony is traditionally held the Friday before state testing begins. This year it was on Friday, March 23. In addition to eagle tags for growth, students who exceeded expectations in math, ELA, or fifth grade science were also recognized. All but three students who exceeded expectations also had high growth; those three exceptions were last year's third graders Angel Montez (math), Taylor Wist (math), and Avery Kinser (ELA).