The Colorado Department of Education has released the official accreditation rating for Delta County Joint School District #50. Based on academic achievement and academic growth, school districts are placed in one of five categories: accredited with distinction, performance plan, improvement plan, priority improvement plan, or turnaround plan.
Delta County Joint School District #50 was accredited as a performance district. And for the first time in many years, all 13 of the district's traditional schools received a performance rating, which is the highest rating awarded to individual schools.
Last year two schools were on improvement -- Hotchkiss K-8 and Delta Middle School. Both moved up to performance with improved student outcomes.
In addition, the school district uses the same rating system as the CDE to recognize high-scoring schools within the district as schools of distinction. Five Delta County schools achieved that status -- Hotchkiss High School, Paonia Elementary School, Cedaredge High School, Cedaredge Middle School and North Fork Montessori at Crawford.
"It's been a long time since we've had five schools of distinction," commented school superintendent Caryn Gibson. "We're very pleased."
Parents may choose to "opt out" of state assessments for their children. With proper documentaton, the school rating is unaffected by students who have opted out of the exams.
While Delta County's overall participation rate met the state goal of 95 percent, the school district was cited for low participation because the participation rate in science fell short at 94.9 percent.
The school performance frameworks reflect student assessments administered in 2015-16. High schools are also rated on postsecondary and workforce readiness. Graduation rates, ACT scores and dropout percentages factor into the rating for postsecondary and workforce readiness.
Exceed State Average
According to data released last week by the Colorado Department of Education, 87.2 percent of Delta County students graduated four years after entering high school. The state average is 78.9 percent.
Disparities between male-female and Hispanic-white students are noteworthy at the state level, but locally the gap is small. The four-year completion rate for females is 87.4 percent, compared to 87.0 percent for males. The four-year completion rate for whites is 88.3 percent, compared to 86.0 percent for Hispanics.
Dropouts were tabulated at 51, or 2.0 percent, in Delta County, compared to 2.3 percent for the state.
According to assistant superintendent Kurt Clay, a grant-funded counselor at Delta Opportunity School, personal contacts and curriculum options are being employed to re-engage dropouts. Students who take more than four years to complete high school are tracked by a "completion rate" that combines all graduates with those who receive a certificate or a high school equivalency diploma. According to the CDE, 53.4 percent (6,656) of the students in the Class of 2016 who did not complete high school in the spring are still enrolled and have the opportunity to graduate or complete in five, six or seven years from entering high school.
Over the past five years, the dropout rate in Delta County has ranged from 1.6 to 2.3 percent.
During a preliminary hearing in Delta District Court on Tuesday, Jan. 15, Judge Steven Schultz found probable cause for second degree murder charges against Heather Jones.
Jones previously faced three counts in the shooting of Ryan Redifer in Paonia on Jan. 12, 2018 -- assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree and violation of a protection order.