Rural schools on the plains east of Colorado Springs have a special challenge acing state academic tests.
“It’s often a number game. The more students you have the more room for error. But if you are a small school, if one student falters then all your scores can plunge,” said Superintendent Pat Bershinsky.
But his Edison School District 54Jt has been on a roll. For the third year in a row, the junior-senior high school has won two of the top state academic awards.
Only 68 schools out of 1,780 in Colorado received both honors for 2012.
Edison 54Jt won the Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award, which is given to schools that demonstrate excellent student academic growth over three years. It also won the Colorado John Irwin Schools of Excellence designation, given to schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement.
Other local schools also made the honor lists announced this week by the Colorado Department of Education.
“We are really happy about it and want everyone to know that little Edison is out here,” Bershinsky said. The district has only 120 students preschool through grade 12.
So what is Edison’s magic formula for three years of success?
“We have good teachers and good kids and a good community, and a board that supports what we do,” Bershinsky said.
Another school with the name Edison — Edison Elementary in Colorado Springs School District 11 — also had something to cheer about. It is one of only 17 schools statewide to receive the Colorado Centers of Excellence award, and the only one in Colorado Springs. The award is given to schools with at least 75 percent at-risk pupils that demonstrate the highest rate of student longitudinal growth.
COLORADO JOHN IRWIN SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE:
Academy D-20: Academy International Elementary, Chinook Trail Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Pine Creek High School, TCA College Pathways, The Classical Academy’s charter school, high school and middle schools, Woodmen-Roberts Elementary
Charter School Institute: Vanguard middle and high schools, Thomas Maclaren State Charter School
Cheyenne Mountain D-12: Broadmoor Elementary, Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy, Cheyenne Mountain Elementary, Cheyenne Mountain High School, Gold Camp Elementary, Pinion Valley Elementary
Colorado Springs D-11: Chipeta Elementary, Scott Elementary, Steele Elementary
Edison 54Jt: Edison Junior-Senior High School
Harrison D-2: James Irwin Charter Elementary
Lewis Palmer D-38: Lewis-Palmer elementary, Lewis-Palmer High School, Monument Charter Academy, Prairie Winds Elementary, Ray E. Kilmer Elementary.
COLORADO GOVERNOR’S DISTINGUISHED IMPROVEMENT:
Academy D-20: Academy International Elementary, Aspen Valley High School, Chinook Trail Elementary, Foothills Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, The Classical Academy High School, The Classical Academy Middle School
Charter School Institute: Colorado Springs Charter Academy, Vanguard High School
Colorado Springs D-11: Steele Elementary School
Edison D-54Jt: Edison Junior-Senior High
Falcon D-49: Banning Lewis Ranch Academy
COLORADO CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE
Colorado Springs D-11: Edison Elementary School