Ignacio School District back in the game

Jay Thompson, education consultant, speaks to school officials on a video stream from Indiana.
Southern Ute Executive Officer Ramona Eagle (right) congratulates Rocco Fuschetto (left) the Ignacio School District for being taken off of the priority improvement list.
Southern Ute Education Director La Titia Taylor thanks school district officials and teachers for their contributions.
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum

A weight has been lifted off the shoulders of the Ignacio School District, who recently celebrated their removal from the state of Colorado’s priority-improvement list that was instated at the beginning of October. School officials gathered with Southern Ute tribal representatives at Ignacio High School on Wednesday, Oct. 5 where they made the announcement.

School Board Superintendent, Rocco Fuschetto, commented on the six yearlong process of departing off the state improvement standards because of annual scores and standardized tests.

“The accountability clock has been lifted, and even though we struggled quite a few years, we all stayed in focus and determined, because we thought it was the best for our school,” he stated. “We have done so much work, and I thank everyone who’s apart of this school district.”

The priority-improvement list comes from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and focuses on low-performing schools that struggle to improve academics or face consequences including school closures and turnovers. It contained eight districts and 30 schools at the beginning of this school year, whom are evaluated by test scores, graduation rates, and other displays of academic growth in student performance.

“Everybody who’s been apart of this school district has put in a lot of work and effort,” commented Kathy Pokorney, curriculum and assessment director. “This is a success for us, and we can continue to provide good education to the community.”

Higher Education Director La Titia Taylor who praised the involvement of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ignacio School District stated, “We’ve come a long way in providing education to our children. We can continue to progress thanks to everyone who was involved.”

According to Fuschetto, there was an additional turnaround of $500,000, which he stated would be used to pay teachers and staff extra time, as well as introduce education consultant, Jay Thompson.

Thompson, who worked with the school district for a number of years, joined the celebration via video streaming from Indiana.

“Even though I can’t be there to celebrate with you properly, I just want to congratulate this big step you all have made,” he stated. “You have school officials who care so much about education and it’s time to take it to the next level.”

Southern Ute Executive Officer Ramona Eagle commented on the success.

“Throughout the years, it was hard knowing that our school was falling behind, and I knew that Dr. Fuschetto has done his hardest to get where we’re at now,” she stated. “As tribal members and educators, we most never lose focus of our children. Their education is important, and I’m happy for all of those who contributed.”

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