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News Release - Districts "Accredited With Distinction" And "Centers of Excellence" Schools Celebrated

Dec. 9, 2010

News Release

Districts "Accredited With Distinction" And "Centers of Excellence" Schools Celebrated; Achievement Gap Work Shows Positive Trends; SchoolView Data Center Debuts

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Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones and State Board of Education Vice-Chairman Randy DeHoff today congratulated the state’s trail blazing schools and districts at a celebration held at the Colorado Department of Education.

“Congratulations to the schools and districts who are successfully preparing your students to meet the state’s new, higher standards,” said Gov. Ritter. “We have been striving to raise the bar in our education system and you have stepped up to the plate and demonstrated a strong commitment to helping all of our students succeed.”

In all, 14 districts were honored as “Accredited with Distinction” under the Education Accountability Act of 2009. The 14 high-performing districts—out of 183 total school districts and school organizations that received accreditation ratings—were identified under the new accountability system, which uses an expanded set of indicators and places emphasis on academic growth and success in preparing students for college and career readiness.

Forty-five schools were also recognized as “Centers of Excellence.” That designation, also established by the Colorado State Legislature, recognizes schools that demonstrate the highest sustained rates of student growth as measured by the Colorado Growth Model among those that have at least 75 percent at-risk pupils in their student population. The event today honored all winners from 2009, the first year the award was given, as well as those from 2010.

“This is a hallmark day,” said Commissioner Jones. “You are true gems, the schools and districts making a difference for students. We celebrate your contributions and thank you for your hard work.”

(Note: A complete list of honored districts and schools is below. For complete information on results from the first implementation cycle of the Education Accountability Act and more background about how districts “Accredited with Distinction” and “Centers of Excellence Schools” were selected, visit the SchoolView page at www.schoolview.org/performance.asp

Positive Achievement Gap Trends

Associate Commissioner Richard Wenning noted positive statewide trends in the efforts to close achievement gaps, particularly between subgroups defined by income and ethnicity.

“To close achievement gaps, we must first close the gaps in the rates of academic growth among different groups of students,” said Wenning. “And Colorado’s students have shown solid improvement in this area.”

Using data generated by the Colorado Growth Model, Wenning noted that the difference in academic growth rates in reading between Latino and white students has narrowed from 7 percentiles in 2004 to 2 percentiles in 2010. Over the same period, the gap in growth rates between black and white students has narrowed by 3 percentiles to 1 percentile and the gap between students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (an indicator of poverty) and those not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch narrowed from 7 percentiles to 3 percentiles.

The data are similar for math. The Latino-white gap narrowed over the six-year span from 7 percentiles to 4; the black-white gap narrowed from 9 percentiles to 2; the free and reduced-price lunch gap narrowed from 7 percentiles to 5.

“This means we have come a long way in ensuring that students make at least a year’s growth in a year’s time,” said Wenning. “Closing growth gaps has translated into a modest closing of the proficiency gaps in reading and math, but they remain far too large.”

As measured by the Colorado Student Assessment Program, current gaps in reading range from 25 percentage points between Latino and white students to 29 percentage points between black and white students. Gaps in mathematics are equally large.

For students who start off behind, Wenning said, the data reveal a troubling trend—too few students demonstrate enough growth to “catch up” to proficiency. Just 35 percent of students below proficient in reading and 13 percent of students below proficient in math are making enough progress to catch up.

“Without question, we have major challenges ahead that require us to follow through with the education reform agenda that Governor Ritter and the legislature have enacted on a bipartisan basis,” said Wenning. “While we have made strong progress in closing the gap in students making a year’s growth in a year’s time, we have far to go in ensuring that all of our students who start behind make adequate progress to become college and career ready. Most students that start off below grade level, stay behind. And that fact sums up our performance challenge as a state and as a nation.”

SchoolView 2.0

The Colorado Department of Education today also announced the debut of SchoolView Data Center, an interactive online tool that delivers school, district and state performance data.

“The new SchoolView Data Center puts an enormous amount of school data right at your fingertips and all in one place,” said State Board of Education Vice-Chairman Randy DeHoff.

The Data Center includes a state-level overview of performance on assessments, demographics, district and school performance and a host of other data previously reported on the printed (and Web-based) School Accountability Reports. It also serves as a resource through which users can access district and school performance frameworks, the reports used to determine districts’ accreditation ratings and school improvement plan types.

Through SchoolView, users may also access the Colorado Growth Model with all its new features including the ability to share data via social networks, new mapping and search functionality, and new ways to compare performance between schools and districts.

2010 Districts “Accredited With Distinction”

  • Academy School District 20
  • Aspen School District 1
  • Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
  • Expeditionary BOCES (Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning)
  • Hinsdale County School District RE-1
  • Kiowa School District C-2
  • Lewis-Palmer School District 38
  • Littleton Public Schools
  • Ouray School District R-1
  • Plateau School District RE-5
  • Prairie School District RE-11
  • Ridgway School District R-2
  • Steamboat Springs School District RE-2
  • Telluride School District

Centers of Excellence

  • Adventure Elementary School, Mapleton Public Schools
  • Atlas Preparatory School, Harrison School District 2
  • Beach Court Elementary School, Denver Public Schools *
  • Boston K-8 School, Aurora Public Schools
  • Bryant-Webster K-8 School, Denver Public Schools *
  • Bruce Randolph School, Denver Public Schools *
  • Centennial Elementary School, Harrison School District 2
  • Centennial High School, Centennial School District R-1
  • Center High School, Center School District 26 JT *
  • Cole Arts and Science Academy, Denver Public Schools
  • Cowell Elementary School, Denver Public Schools
  • Edison Elementary School, Colorado Springs School District 11 *
  • Fletcher Interm Science & Technology School, Aurora Public Schools
  • Force Elementary School, Denver Public Schools
  • Greenwood Elementary School, Denver Public Schools *
  • KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy, Denver Public Schools *
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Early College, Denver Public Schools *
  • McMeen Elementary School, Denver Public Schools *
  • Montview Elementary School, Aurora Public Schools *
  • Moore K-8 School, Denver Public Schools
  • Nikola Tesla Education Opportunity Ctr., Colorado Springs District 11 *
  • Nisley Elementary School, Mesa County Valley School District 51
  • Stedman Elementary School, Denver Public Schools *
  • Stein Elementary School, Jeffco Public Schools *
  • Stratmoor Hills Elementary School, Harrison School District 2 *
  • Tollgate Elementary School, Aurora Public Schools *
  • Virginia Court Elementary School, Aurora Public Schools
  • West Denver Prep, Federal Campus, Denver Public Schools *
  • West Denver Prep, Harvey Park Campus, Denver Public Schools
  • Whittier K-8 School, Denver Public Schools *
  • Wyatt-Edison Charter School, Denver Public Schools *
  • Yale Elementary School, Aurora Public Schools *

*Denotes school also received 2009 “Centers of Excellence” award.

Additional 2009 Centers of Excellence Schools:

  • Archuleta Elementary School, Denver Public Schools
  • Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, Aurora Public Schools
  • Carlile Elementary School, Pueblo City Schools
  • Deane Elementary School, Jeffco Public Schools
  • Fred N. Thomas Career Education Center, Denver Public Schools
  • Kearney Middle School, Adams County School District 14
  • Kenton Elementary School, Aurora Public Schools
  • Martinez Elementary School, Greeley-Evans School District 6
  • Olathe Elementary School, Montrose County School District RE-1J
  • Roosevelt-Edison Charter School, Colorado Springs School District 11
  • Silverton Middle School, Silverton School District 1
  • Skyline Vista Elementary School, Adams County School District 50
  • Westpark Elementary School, Lake County School District R-1

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