An Overview of Priority Schools and Race to the Top Programming

Priority Schools

renaldiThe largest of the entitlement grants received through the Consolidated Federal Programs is Title I. Five schools in St. Vrain Valley Schools are Title I schools based on school poverty rates. They are as follows: Columbine, Indian Peaks, Northridge, Rocky Mountain, and Timberline K-8 School.

Title I Part A, provides resources to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to receive a quality education, resulting in their attainment of high academic standards. Title I targets resources to districts and schools whose needs are the greatest. The program is the largest ESEA program supporting both elementary and secondary education. The USDE allocates funds based on census poverty rates from ages 5 through 17. Essentially, Title I focuses on providing additional instructional time in the areas of reading and math. Eligibility is based on statutory formulas.

English as a Second Language & Bilingual Schools

staffEnglish as a Second Language (ESL) program, the Bilingual Education program and the Newcomer program encompass a continuum of services provided for English learners in supporting the acquisition of English for students identified as English Language Learners (ELL). The department works collaboratively with the Colorado Department of Education and the St. Vrain Valley School District Assessment Office to monitor student progress in acquiring English with the annual ACCESS (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State) assessment.   Data analysis of ACCESS and other assessment tools, program evaluation, parent involvement, and professional development are all focuses of the department.

Click here to view the English Language Acquisition Department Goals.

View the Access data (Page 1, Page 2) detailing student growth in English Language Acquisition as well.


St. Vrain Valley School District has embraced Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocols (SIOP). These strategies have been supported universally at all schools for all grades.

The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model is a research-based and validated instructional model that has proven effective in addressing the academic needs of English learners throughout the United States. Research shows that when teachers fully implement the SIOP Model, English learners’ academic performance improves. This certainly has been the case in St. Vrain where the increase in performance of English Language Learners has been dramatic.

The SIOP Model consists of eight interrelated components:

  • Lesson Preparation
  • Building Background
  • Comprehensible Input
  • Strategies
  • Interaction
  • Practice/Application
  • Lesson Delivery
  • Review & Assessment

In St. Vrain, we believe that all students benefit from these robust instructional strategies.

Each school will be implementing 5 hours of SIOP training throughout the 2014-2015 school year. Each school’s ELL teacher will coordinate the facilitation of these training modules under the guidance of the school leader.

Race to the Top

rttSt. Vrain Valley Schools was selected for a Race to the Top-District award for  $16,589,553.00 in December 2012.  We are focusing on the Skyline feeder with an emphasis on STEM integration at all of the Skyline feeder schools, an augmented school year, and the development of an Innovation Center for high school students to be used as a pipeline for application of STEM learning in an environment that encourages creative thinking and entrepreneurial skill development. 

The Race to the Top schools in St. Vrain will provide teachers the information, tools, and supports that enable them to meet the needs of each student and substantially accelerate and deepen each student’s learning.  This initiative will create opportunities for students to identify and pursue areas of personal academic interest—all while ensuring that each student masters critical areas identified in college- and career-ready standards or college- and career-ready high school graduation requirements.  The goal of the SVVSD Race to the Top plan is to replicate what we learn in other district feeders freeing up resources district wide for additional innovative programming to be developed and implemented.

A summary of the Race to the Top progress can be found here.

STEM and the Innovation Center

STEM Schools in St. Vrain Valley transform teaching and learning by providing students with engaging, real world learning experiences to emphasize connections between school, community and our global society. Students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts using 21st century skills and inquiry-based design thinking models to create innovative solutions to authentic problems enhancing post- secondary and career readiness. Learn More Here…

In 2007 the St. Vrain Valley School District charged Skyline High School with implementing a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy. The academy was to serve as a “School of Choice” to better engage students, especially those at a moderate risk, to remain in school and pursue post secondary education and careers in STEM. More relevant, technology based, career oriented curriculum was needed for the students to be prepared for the 21st century workforce.

Five years later, with the STEM Academy up and running, the staff at Skyline and the district applied for a Race To The Top grant, designed to encourage testing new ideas in education that could scale to the state and national level. The district was one of 16 recipients nationwide. The goal of this $16.6 million grant is to provide K-12 STEM education for all students in the Skyline High School feeder system, to improve graduation rates and post-secondary readiness for students through personalized programming, and to create an Innovation Center, where students can apply their STEM knowledge to real world projects.

The Innovation Center prepares students for successful STEM careers by partnering with industry to provide real world work experiences. Our mission is to match highly-skilled students with business, research and development opportunities, fostering analytical and problem-solving skills, encouraging entrepreneurial ambitions, and creating mentorships with experts in the STEM fields. By providing paid positions leading to work experience and intellectual property, we drive a culture of creativity, risk-taking, collaboration and innovation.

Learn more about the Innovation Center here.



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