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National ESEA Distinguished Schools

Since 2006, Colorado, in conjunction with the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA)—formerly the National Title I Association—has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program (recently renamed from its predecessor, the National Title I Distinguished Schools program). 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, 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 percent;
  • Demonstrate high academic achievement for two or more consecutive years;

Meet or exceed state criteria for at least two consecutive years.

2018 Recipients

Exceptional Student Performance Award

Eads Elementary School
Kiowa County School District RE-1
Superintendent/Elementary Principal Glenn Smith

Eads Elementary has won the ESEA Distinguished School award for Exceptional Student Performance for THREE years in a row. 

  • Eads Elementary School has earned a Performance plan type on the School Performance Frameworks (SPFs) from 2013 through 2018, and received a rating of “Exceeds” for both English language arts (ELA) and math achievement, on both the 2017 and 2018 SPFs.
  • Eads Elementary School had CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success) mean scale scores above 760 for both ELA and math, in both 2017 and 2018, indicating the average performance of all students tested in the school met or exceeded expectations. Based on this performance, Eads Elementary School had percentile ranks at or above 95 for both content areas and both years, indicating they performed better than 95 percent of elementary schools in the state. 

Closing the Achievement Gap

Abrams Elementary School

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8

Principal Lois Skaggs
Superintendent Keith Owen

The 2018 ESEA Distinguished Schools award for Closing the Achievement Gap was presented to Abrams Elementary. 

  • Abrams Elementary School increased achievement of all students by supporting students who needed it the most.
  • Abrams Elementary School has earned a Performance plan type on the School Performance Frameworks (SPFs) for the past three years (2016 through 2018) – that’s the highest rating a school can receive. Abrams also received a rating of “Meets” or “Exceeds” for math achievement, on the 2018 SPF, for all students and all student groups.


Past Recipients of the Title I Distinguished Schools Award

Contact Information:

Patty Gleason
Competitive Grants and Awards

(303) 866-6143