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News Release - CDE recognizes Districts Accredited with Distinction, Centers of Excellence schools and other award winners

March 1, 2017

CDE recognizes Districts Accredited with Distinction, Centers of Excellence schools and other award winners

The Colorado Department of Education celebrated the 2016 district and school performance results in an awards ceremony today at the Colorado Department of Education. Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes honored schools and districts that earned acclaim in nine award categories.

The event recognized the 25 Districts Accredited with Distinction under the state’s accountability system. The event also recognized recipients of the Centers of Excellence, Governor’s Distinguished Improvement, John Irwin Schools of Excellence, High School Academic Growth, National Blue Ribbon Schools, ELPA Excellence, Title I Distinguished Schools and U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools awards. 

Here are descriptions of the award categories:

  • Established by the Colorado State Legislature, the Centers of Excellence award recognizes schools that demonstrate the highest sustained rates of student longitudinal growth as measured by the Colorado Growth Model among those that have at least 75 percent at-risk students. In 2016, 33 schools earned this award.
  • The Governor’s Distinguished Improvement awards are given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth. On the School Performance Framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools “exceed” expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth over three years. In 2016, 128 schools earned this award.
  • The John Irwin awards are given to schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement.  On the School Performance Framework , these schools “exceed” expectations on the indicator for academic achievement over three years. In 2016, 168 schools earned this award.
  • The High School Academic Growth Awards recognize high schools that demonstrate the highest levels of student academic growth in reading, writing and math, within each classification used by the statewide association for high school activities for the sport of football. In 2016, seven schools demonstrated the highest rate of student longitudinal growth.
  • The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. In 2016, five schools earned this award.
  • The ELPA Excellence Awards honors 10 districts and 10 schools that achieved the highest growth among English learners in an English Language Proficiency Program and that achieve the highest academic achievement for English learners who transition out of an English Language Proficiency Program.
  • The Title I Distinguished School Award recognizes two schools out of the more than 700 Title I schools in the state —one that has achieved academic success and one that made progress in closing achievement gaps associated with race and poverty.  
  • The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools honors America’s public and private elementary, middle and high schools for their efforts toward improving student health and achievement and reducing their environmental impact. A Green Ribbon Schools award represents a healthy and sustainable school or district, recognized by parents, students, staff and governments at federal, state and local levels as an exemplary model of achievement in sustainability, health and environmental education. In 2016, a school and district in Colorado received this award.

In 2015, Colorado paused the accountability system because of the introduction of new assessments. As a result, the School Performance Framework was paused and the school and district performance awards were not issued for 2015.

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