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The August 29 regular meeting of the Buena Vista Board of Education was kept short, with a proposal for BVHS’s participation in the state of Colorado’s Seal of Biliteracy program the primary focus. The Board should receive an item for official action regarding the Seal of Biliteracy at their next meeting.

Image courtesy of the August 28 Buena Vista Board of Education meeting packet.

Spanish Teacher Angelee March presented a proposal about an opportunity for Buena Vista High School (BVHS) students to receive a Biliteracy Certification at graduation. Colorado Senate Bill 17-123 authorizes the Local Educational Agency (LEA), such as Buena Vista High School, to grant a Seal of Biliteracy for high school diplomas to graduating students with proficiency or higher in both English and one or more world languages.

“This is a pretty awesome opportunity for the students,” said Director Lynn Montoya. The other Board members agreed that it would be a great benefit for local students.

March originally proposed the idea earlier this year. Superintendent Lisa Yates brought the issue to the board at the August 29 meeting of the Board in an attempt to bring it back for approval at the next meeting, in time for the current school year.

As required by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), students must demonstrate proficiency in English and proficiency in another language. Minimum state requirements are available online.

To demonstrate proficiency in English, students would need to complete all English Language Arts (ELA) coursework with a 3.0 grade point average or higher at the high school level. They would also need to achieve a score of 470 or higher on the SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam.

To demonstrate proficiency in another language, students would need to score three or higher on the language’s AP Exam. BVHS does not currently offer an AP Spanish class, but Spanish 4 students can choose to take the exam.

Alternatively, students would need to complete a four-year course of study in the language with a 3.0 grade point average or higher.

The AAPPL Test is another option for students to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen language. While the AP exam does not release results until after the school year concludes, the AAPPL provides results almost immediately. Students would have to earn a score of I5 or A1 on the AAPPL.

Unique to BVHS, students would also be required to present at least half of their senior capstone in a language other than English. The school would bring in community members or guests with native speaker proficiency in the language to ask questions, create a dialogue, and evaluate.

March acknowledged that some languages do not have an available AP or AAPPL exam, such as Luxembourgish and Nepalese. Students studying languages without exams would need to create a Body of Evidence to demonstrate that they have achieved proficiency.

Students who meet the proficiency requirements would be awarded their certificate upon graduating.

The Board expects the biliteracy certificate to be an action item during their next meeting.

Benchmark Report

Superintendent Lisa Yates reported the student’s progress toward benchmarks established by the board. The report focused on benchmarks for BV Essentials, the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) test, the PSAT and SAT, reading intervention, and preschool observational data.

For BV Essentials, which includes all grade levels, students are meeting goals in reading and math and approaching desired goals in writing. To address writing, the elementary school plans to place an emphasis on routine writing, explaining answers and thinking, and handwriting and typing practice.

For CMAS, achievement levels show some improvement at the middle school level, and there are high levels of growth at the middle school and elementary levels. Notably, achievement for middle school English Language Arts (ELA) is exceeding 2019 pre-pandemic levels, and middle school math is exceeding expectations (ten points or higher) when compared to the state average. Elementary math is slightly higher than in 2022, but “well below targets” according to Yates.

To encourage more growth, the school plans to continue year-round test-taking skills including handwriting, typing, and explaining thinking. ZEARN, a free state subscription math program, will be implemented as a tool for kindergarten through fifth grade, targeted at sixth through eighth. The school will also increase time for fluency in ELA and math at the elementary level, by incorporating subjects into other classes like music and art.

PSAT and SAT results show stability with ELA approaching target goals and matching below or approaching. Scores are close to 2019.

Yates reported that over the last two years, there has been a significant decrease in students qualifying for reading intervention at the end of the year in grades kindergarten through fifth. Only sixteen percent (one percent short of the target goal) were below the benchmark. Three years ago it was forty-five percent, showing a marked improvement.

Lastly, Yates reported that preschool students show growth in all three observational areas of social-emotional, literacy, and math.

Fourth Quarter Financial Report

Finance Director Janice Martin delivered the financial report for the fourth quarter. According to Martin, property tax collections “landed fine” at 102 percent, expected to be comparable to the 105 percent from the previous year after everything is in.

State equalization funding is slightly down.

The Capital Reserve Fund has a cash balance of $1,243,843 made up primarily of property sales receipts and a Buell Grant for the design of a new preschool. The district currently uses this for the annual leaseback of the Old Gym and Administration building and to complete the Sprung building and design of a new preschool.

The Building Fund as of June 30 contains $320,462.

The Food Service Fund is down, with $151,619 on June 30 of this year compared to last year’s $161,335.

According to Martin’s memo, “All other Funds are going as expected with no major surprises and at this time.”

The full financial report is available in the meeting packet, linked in the agenda available online.