Mar 12, 2014 7:43 PM by Andy Koen

Pueblo superintendent has high expectations

PUEBLO - We're making progress. That's the word from the Superintendent of Pueblo City Schools. Doctor Maggie Lopez, Ph.D. believes when this year's T-CAP scores are announced, they will show the district has closed the achievement gap to prevent a state take over.

"Obviously, the achievement indicates that we still have lots of work to do," Lopez said.

She and other district leaders point to the recent turn around at the Pueblo Academy of Arts (formerly Pitts Middle School) as an example of the reform that is possible at all Pueblo City Schools.

The school is one of three Schools of Innovation created by the district as part of the reforms put in place under Lopez's tenure and has shown some of the fastest improvement in standardized tests.

Principal Karen Ortiz says the value the school places on creative thinking encourages students to discover hidden talents.

"These are children, some of them that I've known in previous schools, in elementary school, that have never had this opportunity and these are our stars now, they're shining," she said.

The Colorado Department of Education put the school district on Turn around status four years ago.

Since then, student achievement has improved on standardized test by one level to Priority Improvement.

They need to reach one step higher to Improvement status by next year to prevent a state take over. Dr. Lopez says they missed that step in 2013 by just 3.1 points.

"No one here is making excuses for that," Lopez said. "What we're doing is, we're moving forward and we're working very hard to do things differently with instruction."

Students are T-CAP tests this week in Pueblo and those scores are expected to be released in early August.


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