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Mountain Middle School awarded ‘performance with distinction’ accreditation

Project-based institution ranks in Colorado Charter School Institute’s top performing schools for the state
Mountain Middle School receives the Colorado Charter School Institute’s “performance with distinction” accreditation for the seventh time in 10 years. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Mountain Middle School has received the “performance with distinction” accreditation from the Colorado Charter School Institute for the fourth consecutive year

This marks the seventh time in the last 10 years that the charter school has received the accreditation.

The “performance with distinction” rating is based on students’ performance on state tests all Colorado public schools are required to administer each year in English language arts and math. According to Head of School, Shane Voss, the distinction means Mountain Middle School students collectively scored in the 95th percentile of all students on Colorado Measure of Academic Success testing.

Out of all Colorado public schools, Mountain Middle School scored in the top 8% for math achievement and the top 3% for English language arts success in 2022.

Mountain Middle School is public charter school serving grades 4-8 with a focus on project-based learning. The school recently added a $4.2 million, two-story addition toward the south end of the school last summer.

Mountain Middle School is one of only a few CSI schools to earn a “performance with distinction” accreditation rating again this year. CSI, which authorizes Mountain Middle School, assigns a rating and accredits schools each year based on a school performance framework.

“I think it's due to a lot of things,” Voss said. “Obviously, the culture and the methodology is working. But first and foremost, I think it's a culture that you build with high expectations and its really firmly rooted in behavioral excellence.”

He said CSI evaluates performance of growth and achievement, organizational leadership and financial performance when deciphering whether a school is deserving of the accreditation. Organizational leadership is rated on if the school meets data reporting deadlines for the state as well as diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging numbers.

Financial performance evaluates whether the school is financially sound and state financial reporting is done correctly.

Voss also credits the school’s co-teaching model for the student’s success. Mountain Middle School classes often have two teachers to better help students with learning retention. He said the model has helped the school with its growth and understanding where students need to improve.

“We have been fortunate to earn the state’s highest accreditation rating several times in the past 10 years because of the hard work of our students and staff,” Voss said. “I would also like to thank our parents for supporting our culture of high standards and academic excellence. Our distinction rating means we also earn top marks for exceeding rigorous financial and organizational standards and this is a credit to our amazing team.”