Welchester Elementary School has received Gov. Jared Polis' Bright Spot Award for improvement in student achievement since 2019.
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Despite myriad challenges, including the pandemic, some schools have improved and thrived in recent years. That includes Golden’s Welchester Elementary School, one of 21 recipients of Gov. Jared Polis' Bright Spot Awards.
Student achievement improved at the schools since 2019, according to the governor's office. Each is expected to receive $50,000 for additional student resources, faculty development or other items of need.
Polis lauded the schools for their hard work and resiliency amid “unprecedented challenges.”
To qualify for the award, schools must show improvement in a performance framework, based on test scores.
Welchester Principal Bethany Robinson said the award was a happy surprise. The staff learned of the honor before the Thanksgiving break and shared the news with students at a Dec. 2 assembly.
“It was a nice surprise, validating all the work staff and students have done over the past few years,” Robinson said. “(Our staff members) have an attitude of ‘What are we going to do for the kids today?’ They have kept kids at the forefront.”
There are four bands, or rating tiers, a school can receive, Robinson said. Welchester received a “priority improvement” rating in 2018, but advanced to “performance” — the highest rating — by 2022.
During the 2017-2018 school year, Welchester welcomed 80 additional students from Pleasant View Elementary School after that school closed in 2017. Robinson believed the transition period impacted the school’s performance data, as students and staff were still adjusting.
“We had to re-examine how we provided services and educated students,” Robinson said.
Despite everything educators and students have tackled since then, Welchester’s data and rating had improved by the 2021-22 school year. Robinson attributed it to multiple factors, including low turnover among staff members and Welchester’s very strong professional learning community.
Teachers had collaborated on planning, instruction, data evaluation, assessments and more. They also evaluated where students might need intervention or enrichment, Robinson said.
Welchester continues to focus on students’ social and emotional needs, especially coming out of the pandemic, she added.
While the growth and improvement from 2018 to 2022 will be hard to duplicate, Robinson hoped Welchester could maintain its momentum and continue to improve where necessary. She thanked the community for its support, and hoped Welchester would be local parents’ school of choice.
“We believe we’re one of the best schools in Jeffco,” she continued. “ … We want (the neighborhood) to see it as their community and their school too.”
Welchester is hosting an official celebration for its Bright Spot Award at 8:15 a.m. Jan. 6. The community is invited to attend.
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