The principal, teachers and students over at Avon Elementary School (AES) have much to celebrate these days. AES was recently awarded the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award - a designation received by only 5 schools in Colorado and 269 across the nation. What most people don't know is just how hard everyone at Avon Elementary had to work to achieve this status.
In the last two years Avon Elementary doubled its standardized test scores and closed its achievement gap — the gap between the school's highest performing students and its lowest performing students. Reading scores soared from 25.53 percent proficient and advanced in 2007 to 67.83 in 2011, as measured by Colorado's annual CSAP test. Math scores were up from 38.85 percent in 2007 to 69.23 percent in 2011.
87 percent of the students at AES are not native English speakers and 206 of 235 total students qualify as low income, based on their eligibility for free/reduced meal programs, according the school's data. Just five years ago Avon Elementary was one year from being forced into corrective action and taken over by the Department of Education.
Walking Mountains has been heavily involved with AES for the last seven years. Dina Patsiavos is the Avon In-school science teacher at the elementary school. All AES students visit her classroom once a week for science instruction as an academic special. Some of these kids have now had exposure to science eduction from Walking Mountains since the first grade! We also run our popular "Girls in Science" after school program at Avon Elementary. Girls in grades 3-5 who elect to participate meet once a week for an hour and a half after school. They dig in to topics like grossology, dissection and chemistry. The girls absolutely love their time with our educators.
Everyone involved with Avon Elementary has been working so hard to move mountains - we are so proud of their success!