Fitzsimmons Middle School

(Photo by Kelly Kirkpatrick/The Flume)

For the second consecutive year, Fitzsimmons Middle School has been named as a John Irwin School of Excellence award recipient by the Colorado Department of Education.

John Irwin awards are presented to schools demonstrating exceptional academic achievement over time, and are also reserved for schools receiving an “Exceeds Expectations” rating on the Academic Achievement indicator of the School Performance Frameworks, reflecting exceptional performance in math, English language arts, and science.

“This award reinforces the extraordinary work that our staff members do every day in preparing our students for success beyond us,” said Platte Canyon School District Superintendent, Mike Schmidt.

“On behalf of our community, I express how proud we are of our students and staff members, and our heartfelt gratitude for their work.”

The Colorado Measures of Academic Success are the state’s common measurement of students’ progress at the end of the school year in English language arts, math, science and social studies.

FMS students most recently demonstrated excellence in all areas of CMAS testing, as they exceeded state expectations in academic achievement by a wide margin in English language arts, math and science. Student achievement and growth scores at FMS were such that the school earned a rating of Distinction on the District Performance Rating.

Assessments are aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards, which are statewide expectations of what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards incorporate future skills and essential knowledge that the next generation will need to be successful in college and careers.

Colorado’s statewide assessments help to determine if students have mastered the grade-level expectations by the year’s end. The standards set clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level across 10 subject areas, including English language arts, math, science and social studies.

FMS Principal Jesse Walters was understandably thrilled by the news that his school had been honored by the CDE for a second consecutive year.

“This award is another testament to the amount of dedicated staff and teachers we have here who work tirelessly to ensure that students here meet their full potential,” Walters said.

“Awards are nice, and we are thrilled to be selected for this latest award, but the primary emphasis is on the day-to-day performance and the continued academic growth of our students. That’s where our teachers excel, and this award is simply a result of their amazing efforts.”

The Excellence Awards are named in honor of former Colorado State Representative John J. Irwin, who served three terms. During all of the years Rep. Irwin served Colorado in the legislature, education was his passion.

In his final year as a state legislator, in addition to co-sponsoring the precursor to the Charter School Act, Irwin also sponsored legislation creating the Excellent Schools Program, which through subsequent legislation evolved into the Colorado John Irwin Schools of Excellence Awards program.

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