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National Title IA Distinguished Schools

Colorado, in conjunction with the Nation Title I Association, has been selecting examples of superior Title I school programs for recognition through the National Title I Distinguished Schools program since 2006. Schools are selected in one of two categories:

  • Category 1: Exceptional Student Performance for Two or More Consecutive Years
  • Category 2: Closing the Achievement Gap between Student Groups

Schools are selected based on a combination of academic achievement of the students in the school and the creative and innovative programs that contribute to their success. These Colorado schools join hundreds of other distinguished schools nationwide making a difference for our Title I children.

The schools demonstrate a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, and individualized programs for student success, and strong partnerships between the school, parents, and the community. The distinguished schools’ stories are especially powerful through the documented student achievement gains that have resulted from their innovations and hard work.

In order to be eligible, schools must meet the following criteria

  • Poverty rate of at least 35%
  • Demonstrate high academic achievement for two or more consecutive years
  • Meet or exceed state criteria for Adequate Yearly Progress in 2010-2011 and have a plan type assignment of Performance or better in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013

The Colorado Department of Education, Unit of Federal Program Administration, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education salute the Title I Distinguished School awardees; the students, staff, families, and communities.

2013 Recipients

Exceptional Student Performance: 
Swink Elementary School in Swink School District


  • Swink Elementary students consistently score high in Reading with 84% Proficient/Advanced in 2011, 88% Proficient/Advanced in 2012, and 92% Proficient/Advanced in 2013.
  • Swink students’ math performance is equally impressive. In 2011, 84% of Swink students were Proficient/Advanced. In 2012 and 2013, 82% were Proficient/Advanced in math.
  • Swink Elementary School has consistently made federal AYP targets in the past and received a Performance rating on its 2012-13 state’s School Performance Framework.
  • On the state Performance Indicators, Swink Elementary rated Meets for Academic Growth and Academic Growth Gaps while rating Exceeds for Academic Achievement.

Swink school and district administrators along with Swink Board of Education members and school staff and students receive the 2013 Title I Distinguished School Award


Closing the Achievement Gap:
Nisley Elementary School in Mesa County School District


  • Nisley Elementary received state Performance Plan assignments in 2013 and 2012 (making 81.7 out of 100 framework points possible), and made federal AYP targets in 2011.  Nisley exceeded academic growth targets in all content areas and met academic growth gap targets. 
  • In Reading:  66 % of Nisley students were proficient or advanced on TCAP reading in 2013, up from 62% in 2013 and 50% in 2011.  Economically disadvantaged students scored similar to those from more affluent homes, with 63% proficient or advanced.  More than half of English learners performed well in reading. 
  • In Math:  Results were similar for TCAP math, with 62% proficient and advanced in 2013, up from 56% in 2012 and 49% in 2011.  Sixty percent of economically disadvantaged students scored proficient or advanced in math, as well as 53% of English Learners, and 43% of students with disabilities, with all groups making 5-year highs. 
  • Staff and students are implementing many strategies to continually monitor and increase achievement:  regular progress monitoring and instruction that is responsive to needed changes, a flexible intervention system around students’ specific deficits, an efficient RtI system, and reading and math common core curricula that provide continuity across grade levels.   English learners’ instruction complements the general education classroom curriculum.  Professional Learning Communities are used to discuss student needs and determine proficiency level alignment. 
  • Nisley Elementary has created a video that showcases the school.

Students and staff of Nisley Elementary attend the 2013 Title I Distinguished School Award presentation.

State Board of Education member, Marcia Neal and Department of Education Deputy Commissioner, Keith Owen present the 2013 Title I Distinguished School Award to the Nisley Elementary administration staff members.


Past Recipients of the Distinguished School Award







Exceptional Student Performance

Sunnyside Elementary

Durango 9-R


Closing the Achievement Gap

Shanner Elementary

Holly School District RE-3



Exceptional Student Performance

Las Animas Elementary

Las Animas School District

Las Animas

Closing the Achievement Gap

West Park Elementary

Lake County School District



Exceptional Student Performance

Zebulon Pike Elementary

Colorado Springs District 11

Colorado Springs

Closing the Achievement Gap

Longfellow Elementary

Salida R-32 School District



Exceptional Student Performance

La Jara Elementary

North Conejos RE-1J

La Jara

Closing the Achievement Gap

Rose Stein Elementary

Jefferson County School District



Exceptional Student Performance

Heritage Elementary

Pueblo City Schools


Closing the Achievement Gap

Gypsum Elementary

Eagle County School District



Exceptional Student Performance

Soaring Eagles Elementary

Harrison School District

Colorado Springs

Closing the Achievement Gap

Harris Bilingual Elementary

Poudre School District

Ft. Collins


Exceptional Student Performance

Wiggins Elementary

Wiggins School District


Closing the Achievement Gap

Montview Elementary

Aurora Public Schools



Additional Information Contact:
Lynn Bamberry

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