Academic Expectations

 Academic Learning

Our core purpose is to cause learning by building learning capacity, collaborating, making meaning, and breaking through to apply understanding.

               Building Learning Capacity – All members of High Plains Elementary develop learning capacity through goal setting, applying their "HOWLS" learner mindset, personal growth, and academic achievement.

               Collaborating – All members of High Plains Elementary develop collaborative skills and values to enable them to actively engage others and contribute as effective members of any community. 

               Making Meaning – That all members of High Plains Elementary problem solve, question, investigate, and make decisions using a learning process, thinking tools, and a range of learning strategies to deepen their understandings of concepts. 

               Break Through – That all members of High Plains Elementary discover and build on strengths and interests to experience further fulfillment in learning.        


Student Assessments

At our school, we use a body of evidence to measure student achievement and progress. We believe that assessments are a critical part of targeting instruction and lesson planning. It is our expectation that each child will advance at least one full year every year in each core content area. This Body of Evidence includes both formal and informal measures:

  • Two of the most valuable indicators of your child's growth is his or her teacher's observations and assessments on a daily basis.
  • AIMSweb math benchmark assessments are given to every High Plains student in the fall, winter, and spring. This test is individually administered and is an excellent tool to help us measure reading components so teachers can target instruction.
  • DIBELS Next is given to every K- 3 child at High Plains.
  • The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice test that is administered to third graders in October.  It evaluates reasoning and problem-solving in verbal, nonverbal, and quantitative areas.
  • Third, fourth and fifth graders will be tested on the STAR math and reading test three times a year to indicate growth and areas of need.   Additionally, first and second grade students will take the Math STAR test in January.
  • The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) and the new English Language Arts and Mathematics (PARCC) measures students' proficiency in learning the content of state standards in grades 3, 4, and 5 and is administered in the spring.


Homework Policy

Homework at High Plains is an extension of classroom instruction.  Homework assignments will be differentiated to meet the needs of the student.  Homework is a vital practice that, although not part of a particular subject's grade, impacts the success of the student.  The time frame for homework could be up to 10 minutes per grade level each day; nightly reading may be additional.  Concepts practiced for homework must have been introduced in the regular classroom, prior to being sent home.  Resource teachers (Special Education, TAG, ESL) will communicate and coordinate with the classroom teacher regarding homework from their area, but will not be in addition to the regular classroom homework assignments. Homework should include:

  • reading
  • math facts
  • skill practice from the classroom
  • incomplete classroom work


Response to Intervention

"Response to Intervention" refers to a process that emphasizes how well students respond to changes in instruction.  The essential elements of an RTI approach are:  providing scientific, research-based instruction and interventions in general education; monitoring and measuring student progress in response to the instruction and interventions; and using these measures of student progress to shape instruction and make educational decisions.  Parent participation in the decision making process is vital to supporting all students to be the best they can be and maximize their individual potential. 

Special Education

It is the policy of the District 20 Board of Education to ensure that all children with disabilities between the ages of three and twenty-one, residing within the District's jurisdiction, shall be provided a free, appropriate public education and shall not, by reason of their disabilities, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under a District-sponsored activity or program.  


To this end, High Plains will:


  • Seek to identify children with disabilities residing within its jurisdiction
  • Ensure all diagnostic, assessment, and instructional procedures are accomplished by properly certified/licensed and trained staff
  • Provide each child with a disability in the least restrictive environment
  • Establish procedural safeguards in compliance with federal and state law to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents/guardians as established by law
  • Ensure that all legal requirements under state and federal law are met