PSD earns CDE award for excellence in English Language Development programs

Bauder elementary students work at their desks.
Bauder Elementary students work on an assignment.

The Colorado Department of Education has honored Poudre School District with its ELPA Excellence Award for elementary grade spans.

This exciting statewide ELPA (English Language Proficiency Act) award is part of program that offers grants to local education providers that see high academic growth among English learners and high academic achievement for Englisher learners who have transitioned out of their English Language Development program.

To be selected for the award, PSD had to perform in the top 25 percent of all three criteria used by CDE to identify ELPA Awardees:

•    Highest content growth for English learners 
•    Highest language growth for English learners 
•    Highest content achievement for students who have transitioned out of their English Language Development program

“PSD’s English Language Development team is just an amazing group of passionate, knowledgeable teachers,” said Colleen Worman, program specialist.

English Language Development team members pose with their award
English Language Development staff and teachers work together to offer comprehensive services for students.

In recent years, PSD has bolstered its English Language Development programs with additional resources, staffing and better spaces for the programs to take place, said John Mckay, director of Language, Culture and Equity. At the same time, teachers have been working together to make sure English learners are being supported throughout the school day, not just during their English Language Development class time. 

“We embarked on a journey to be more purposeful in recognizing the need of our kids and increasing our resources,” McKay said.

Beth Michieli-Grote, a first-grade interventionist at Bauder Elementary, has seen this comprehensive approach benefit students at her school. Teachers across the school encourage students to talk to each other, whether it’s to solve a problem, discuss what they’re thinking about or write a story together. These conversations help students develop their language skills. 

“We’re really good at taking kids from where they are and helping them grow,” she said.