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News Release - Adams 14 School District's accreditation removed, State Board provides path for restoration

Oct. 4, 2021

Adams 14 School District's accreditation removed, State Board provides path for restoration

DENVER -- The State Board of Education on Monday in a special meeting affirmed that Adams 14 School District lost its state accreditation after failing to submit a required joint statement confirming they were working with their board-directed external manager.

However, the state board also passed a motion that would restore accreditation if the district signs a memorandum of understanding by Thursday, Oct. 7, and if the board receives the previously requested joint statement. The board is requiring the district agree to specific operational agreements with its manager, aligned with previously directed board action.

The issue arose in August when the district stopped work with its management partner MGT without seeking a change to the state board’s order from 2018. That order required the district to be managed by an external entity in an effort to produce dramatic academic improvement. 

In an effort to bring the two parties together, the state board on Sept. 10 ordered the district and its manager to submit a joint statement by Oct. 1 to confirm MGT’s authority and access had been restored and that turnaround work had been restarted. Because that Oct. 1 deadline was missed and no joint statement was received, the district's accreditation was removed.

“Our board never wants to take a dramatic action like this-- but it is clear that serious changes must occur to give students, teachers and staff what they need to thrive in this district,” said State Board Chair Angelika Schroeder.

Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes on Monday called the issue a “difficult chapter in what has been a decade-long effort to improve the quality of education in the district.” However, she hopes the loss of accreditation highlights changes that must be made immediately.

“Unfortunately, this has become a battle among adults, and the lens must be back on the children in this district,” she said.

“For too long we have failed students in the Adams 14 School District. We need both parties to put aside their differences and get back to what is important -- teaching and learning in the classroom," she said. "It is important to understand that losing accreditation does not immediately impact the day to day operations of school. The doors will still be open, funding continues, and students, teachers and families should continue to go to school and focus on their studies.This is effectively asking adults to work together, and do it right now.”

The State Board of Education annually accredits Colorado’s K-12 public schools and districts that meet the requirements of the Education Accountability Act of 2009. The Colorado Department of Education annually assigns each district to a performance-based accreditation category using factors listed in the Accountability Act and state board rules. 

Losing accreditation will not affect student learning. The district’s schools remain open and funded. When a district loses accreditation under the Accountability Act, the state board may also direct other actions, which could be anything from approving a dramatic new innovation plan, appointing a manager, directing reorganization or converting schools into charter schools. When the district takes other actions that have been directed, the state board must reinstate the district’s accreditation at the accreditation category the state board feels is appropriate.

More information about accreditation under the Accountability Act is available on this fact sheet (English PDF), (Spanish PDF).