"We're not supposed to get those scores," Juan Osorio, a third-grade teacher, said.
ColoradoSchoolGrades.com rates Beach Court as an "A" school even though most schools of similar make-up tend to struggle in academic growth.
ColoradoSchoolGrades.com is a free online tool created by 18 advocacy agencies from around Colorado to help parents make informed decisions about school choice. Schools are assigned grades based on information collected by the Colorado Department of Education.
"I think the most exciting thing about schools like Beach Court, is that they are proving that it's possible to do great things, even with kids that are coming from more challenging circumstances," Amy Slothower, spokesperson for ColoradoSchoolGrades.com, said.
Principal Frank Roti admits he does take satisfaction in beating the odds.
"You know, when I hear people say you look on paper and you see the demographics, and folks say this is not supposed to happen, my first question is 'Well, why not? Why can't it happen? It can happen in every school,'" Roti said.
When Roti started at Beach Court Elementary, he says it was a much different place.
"I saw a staff that was very disjointed," Roti said.
Osorio was there, too.
"The environment was terrible," Osorio said.
They say that over a period of the next three to five years, Roti made a concerted effort to get the right staff in place. Roti says they had to be connected by one common word: believe.
"If you believe that you can do that and all of the team believes in the students, in the work that they do each and every day, results can happen," Roti said.
Beach Court Elementary is doing things differently when it comes to students from immigrant families. Students can learn entirely in Spanish up though the third grade.
"So they get all the support that they need in their native language, and it makes them transition faster and better," Osorio said. "It builds on their confidence, and I think it also builds on their culture."
Osorio says it helps students adjust to being in a new country. He says by the time they leave for middle school, their English skills are catching up.
"I think it's also a work ethic and it's a value," Roti said. "A strongly felt value here at Beach Court."
Janel and David Trujillo have two kids at Beach Court Elementary.
"They get the parents involved. You know, we're all one. We're all working together to help the kids succeed," Janel Trujillo said. "It's not just us. It's not just the faculty. We're all working together."
"I thought it was great when the teachers let us know, 'You guys have homework as well,' which we do," David Trujillo said.
They say the changes are reaching beyond the walls of the classroom. Osorio says it's transforming a poor community into a proud one.
"I think it has changed the neighborhood," Osorio said. "A lot of people moved out and a lot of people have come."
If you want to see the grades of every public school in Colorado, visit: www.coloradoschoolgrades.com.
Osorio says their success is based upon looking at academic success from a different angle.
"We don't focus on academics first," Osorio said. "We focus on the emotional piece. We focus on the confidence, self-esteem piece and the academics are just a result of it."
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)