For the second year running, Pleasant View Elementary School has been recognized for making academic strides.
Tiny Pleasant View - with its two classrooms and 25 students - sits just off Highway 491 about 20 miles northwest of Cortez. It is one of 145 schools in Colorado to win a Distinguished Improvement Award from Gov. John Hickenlooper, and the only 2012 recipient from San Juan BOCES, a network of nine school districts in Montezuma, Dolores, La Plata, San Juan and Archuleta counties.
The award is given to schools that exceed expectations in raising test scores and closing growth gaps.
Pleasant View was also named to the 2011 list, as was Durango's Animas Valley Elementary.
Principal Dan Porter praised the involvement of parents, as well as the fluidity a small-scale learning environment allows.
At Pleasant View, kindergartners learn in the same room with first and second graders. Likewise for grades three to five.
"It's a tremendous benefit for children. We can meet (the students) where they are," Porter said. "We still have grades because that's the way our system is set up. But if I have a third grader who is flying, they can be listening to fifth grade math. If I have a fifth grader struggling with reading, they can take it slower. There's no stigma attached."
About seven parents drive their kids from Cortez to learn in Pleasant View's unique setting, Porter added.