How Adams 14 leaders plan to improve learning in troubled district

Before the pandemic, Rose Hill Elementary in the Adams 14 district had four years in a row of low ratings. That changed this fall when Rose Hill students showed improvement on state tests — the only Adams 14 elementary school to do so.

The changes came from consistent leadership and an experienced team of teachers working hard to improve how they serve English learners.

“We haven’t had the massive numbers of people just leaving Rose Hill,” said principal Luis Camas. “This is my Year Five, and most of my teachers are still here. It’s making a difference.”

Adams 14 leaders are now sharing plans for how they hope to support more schools in making progress like Rose Hill despite years of low performance and failed state intervention.

They also insist their students are doing much better than dismal state test scores suggest, and they continue to fight outside intervention in the courts.

The district’s plans include making sure principals have the time and skills to work with teachers on instruction, developing a community school at Central Elementary that will provide services to the entire family, building career academies at Adams City High School, and providing more resources to the English learners who make up half the student body.

Some of these plans are new — like the community school — while others were proposed or tried before, but with limited follow-through. District leaders say this time is different because they’re working with the community and developing a comprehensive strategy, not just a “to-do list” of new programs.

Board member Maria Zubia said this time she’s seeing real steps toward change and believes the plans will outlast the current administration, so the work doesn’t have to restart next time there’s a change.

“That’s what’s exciting to us,” Zubia said. “There’s just things we see. I’m tired of people who talk, talk, talk, and there’s no action. I’m one of the realists; I need to see it.”

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