Colorado: Unhappy parents boycott CSAPs in Commerce City

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Mar 4 19:17:05 UTC 2009

Unhappy parents boycott CSAPs in Commerce City

They keep their students out of a Adams 14 school in protest of school changes.
By Jeremy P. Meyer
The Denver Post

Jesus Chacon-Pacheco, 10, and his mother, Consuelo Pacheco, protest
outside the Adams 14 administration building in Commerce City on
Tuesday. "No Judy, no CSAP," one student said in reference to
principal Judy Jaramillo's being placed on leave. ( Hyoung Chang, The
Denver Post )

Rankings of school districts by CSAP improvementCSAP scores reflect
gains for Denver schoolsCOMMERCE CITY — Parents pulled their children
from state assessment tests Tuesday to protest recent moves in Adams
14 School District.

Parents of 67 students at Hanson preschool through eighth grade opted
out of the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests because they are
upset about the removal of the school's principal, changes to the
district's bilingual-education program and a new calendar that
eliminates the year-round schedule.

"It's like they said, 'No Judy, No CSAP,' " said 9-year-old Manny
Gonzales, referring to principal Judy Jaramillo, who on Feb. 11 was
placed on paid administrative leave for undisclosed personnel reasons.

Manny's father, Mark Gonzales, is leading the protest that removed a
quarter of the

Opting out of CSAP as a way to protest district decisions not related
to the tests is uncommon.

"They are using their resources, and we are using ours," said Claudia
Infante, a parent who also chose to opt out her children.

Tuesday, Gonzales held a news conference in front of the district's
administration building and said he hopes the number of students
opting out will get the state's attention and open a dialogue between
the district and parents over some of the changes.

Mark Stevens, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Education, said
missing-student scores will negatively affect the school's ratings on
the state's accountability system and data that track student academic

District spokesman John Albright said the district could not discuss
why Jaramillo was removed but that it has nothing to do with changes
in the school's bilingual-education program.

Albright also said parents have had their say at board meetings, and
two community meetings have been scheduled for later this month to
discuss changes to the district's language plan.

Fifty-four percent of Adams 14's 6,500 students are English-language
learners, and recent studies have shown they are not becoming fluent
in English as they move through the district.

"The majority of students who have been in the district for six years
still remain limited in proficiency of English," said Superintendent
Sue Chandler in a letter to parents. "There is little indication of
progress in literacy and language."

Chandler said the district is ditching its bilingual policy that was
"overly proscriptive" and moving to a flexible policy that will "allow
the district to develop a program to best meet the needs of all
students who are acquiring English."

"The fact is we haven't changed it yet," Albright said about the new
language policy. "But we know we need to do something better."

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