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Valverde principal to depart at the end of the year, citing test scores

The principal of a southwest Denver elementary announced plans to resign at the end of the school year, due to a drop in the school’s scores on statewide tests.

Franziska Zenhaeusern informed her staff Friday that this year would be her last as principal of Valverde Elementary School. She cited the school’s stagnating proficiency scores and low growth on this year’s test scores, released in August.

Explore Chalkbeat’s database of this year’s TCAP results.

This year, the school saw small gains in both reading and math and a seven percentage point jump in writing. Still, the school’s growth scores were below the district average, by double digits in several subjects.

In her letter, Zenhaeursern said, “our students’ growth compared to similar schools in the district has been very low.”

She also cited ten years of stagnating reading scores at the school. Roughly 29 percent of students scored proficient or advanced this year. In her letter, Zenhaeursern said that 60% of 3rd through 5th graders read below grade level. She called this fact “unacceptable.”

“As a leader, I take responsibility for these disappointing results and have decided to resign by the end of this school year,” she said.

Zenhaeusern plans to finish out the year, which would be her fourth year as principal at the school. On average, principals in traditional Denver Public Schools stayed for 3.4 years.

She plans to meet with parents and community members on Monday at 3 p.m. at the school to discuss her decision and what is next for the school.

Read her full resignation letter here:

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