Go Lobos! McGlone Elementary Students Celebrate Academic Gains

Elementary school kids frequently say the darndest things. But they also often speak with a lot of honesty about the things they really care about.

For students at McGlone Elementary, it’s quite clear what they care most about: their school community.

“Every time I come inside this school, I feel proud to come in,” said Melanie Conteras, a fifth grader at McGlone located in the Montbello community. “I would tell other kids that teachers here always have your back. This is a school to be proud of.”

There’s something even more tangible than pride to celebrate at McGlone. The school, which once struggled with academics, now stands out in Denver Public Schools (DPS) for its continuous improvement on Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), including the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests.

“We’re so proud of our kids and our families,” said Principal Sara Gips Goodall. “I see these kids as future leaders. They are committed to their school, and they wanted to make us proud.”

McGlone’s growing success on CMAS PARCC assessments comes several years after a significant turnaround effort in Far Northeast Denver to improve educational opportunities. The effort could not have happened without the commitment from families, businesses and educators in the neighborhood to reach further than the status quo.

“What we are proudest about with our PARCC numbers is that these are the same kids we had before turnaround. They have always had this potential,” Gips Goodall said.

A big part of McGlone’s success is thanks to a school-wide commitment toward the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), which encourage educators to foster joyful, rigorous and personalized classrooms for students.

One example of how that is working is within fifth-grade inclusion classrooms with co-teachers, where both special and general education teachers teach together in the room simultaneous. Meanwhile, these classrooms also allowed more advanced students to help their peers master difficult subjects with teacher station work.

Finally, students share the innovative ways their teachers are allowing them to create projects, and then demonstrate their learning using technology. At McGlone, for example, classrooms utilize a one-to-one Chromebook curriculum that connects every student with a laptop.

All of these efforts help students, like Conteras at McGlone, get to a place of confidence, leadership and pride in their neighborhood and school, and ultimately in themselves.

“My teachers have showed me everything I need to know,” said Conteras. “This is a school to be proud of.”