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News Release -- Colorado's high-performing schools and districts recognized at awards ceremony

May 18, 2023

Colorado's high-performing schools and districts recognized at awards ceremony

DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Education recognized and celebrated schools and districts that won performance awards in the 2021-22 school year at the annual awards ceremony on Thursday. The awards ceremony has not been held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"We are thrilled to recognize the remarkable achievements of our schools and districts," said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. "This is a testament to the hard work by students, teachers, administrators and the community who persevered under the extreme challenges brought by the pandemic.  As we celebrate the success of these schools and districts, I want to extend my gratitude to their entire staff for their resilience and dedication to supporting students."
The event celebrated schools and districts across Colorado that received awards in the following categories: Centers of Excellence, John Irwin School of Excellence, Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award, the Governor's Bright Spot Awards, Academic Growth Award and Districts Accredited with Distinction. View the complete list of award winners.

A total of 382 awards were given to 61 districts and 310 schools.

Here is more detail about the awards: 

  • Established by the Colorado 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% at-risk students. In 2022, nine schools earned this award. 
  • The John Irwin Award is given to schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the school performance framework, these schools “exceeded” expectations on the indicator for academic achievement over three years. In 2022, 182 schools earned this award. 
  • The Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award is given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth. On the school performance framework that is used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools “exceeded” expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth over three years. In 2022, 139 schools earned this award.
  • The Governor's Bright Spot Award is for schools that demonstrated strong growth in student achievement through difficult times. To qualify for the grant, schools must have advanced more than two bands on their performance framework since 2019, earning $50,000 dollars of GEER funds for investments such as expanding student resources, faculty development, preparing and preventing public health emergencies and other opportunities that will benefit students' learning experiences. In 2022, 21 schools received the award. Thirteen schools won the Math Bright Spot Award under a new initiative announced in March. 
  • Accredited with Distinction Award is given to districts that earned 80% or more of possible points on the District Performance Frameworks. The District Performance Frameworks measure student performance in academic achievement, academic growth, academic growth gaps and post-secondary and workforce readiness. Eleven districts received this award in 2022.
  • The High School Academic Growth Award recognizes high schools that demonstrate the highest levels of students’ academic growth in reading writing and math. Seven Colorado high schools received this award in 2022.

Download a spreadsheet of all of the awards. (XLS)