October 5, 2018

RFSD students’ progress in acquiring English is highest in the state

The Roaring Fork Schools’ 2017-18 growth scores on ACCESS--the test that measures a student’s progress in developing English--exceeded both the state’s and similar districts’ median growth percentiles. Based on these results, the Roaring Fork School District is number one in ACCESS growth out of the 19 districts in Colorado with over 1,000 valid tests.

“English language proficiency is a gateway to most other academic learning in our schools and a key life skill for living and working in the United States,” said Rob Stein, Superintendent of the Roaring Fork Schools. “We are proud that such a significant population of our students is mastering two languages and making groundbreaking progress in acquiring English.”

The ACCESS test measures emerging bilingual students’ academic English language development across four domains including writing, speaking, and listening. Students who are actively receiving language development services through the district’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE) Department take the test in January or February of each year. Last year, 1476 Roaring Fork students took the ACCESS test.

“The CLDE team has repeatedly demonstrated the significant impact that a collaborative, focused, and results-driven group of committed individuals can have on the lives of students. Amy and her team are an exemplar for collective efficacy at its best,” said Chief Academic Officer Rick Holt.

Roaring Fork Schools' Director of CLDE, Amy Fairbanks, attributes the success of the district’s emerging bilingual students to the district’s collective effort to support students.

“We are successful because emerging bilingual students are everybody's students,” Fairbanks said. “Our staff works hard to meet the linguistic demands of emerging bilingual students at all language proficiency levels and continue to challenge students in all content areas all day.”

Because a redesigned test was implemented in 2015-16, this was the first year since 2015 that the Roaring Fork Schools received comparable student growth results. In addition to measuring how the Roaring Fork School District is doing compared to other districts, the CLDE team uses this data to inform instruction.

“It is important to know exactly where students are on the continuum of learning English so that instruction is geared toward the next step in the process,” said Fairbanks. “CLDE coaches use these scores to help place students in appropriate groups and classes and to help all teachers enhance their instruction in order to teach language and content throughout the entire school day.”


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