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Overview of Accountability Actions on Adams 14 School District

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Overview of accountability actions on Adams 14 School District

The Adams 14 School District is a public school district located in Commerce City. In the 2021-22 school year, the district had 6,114 students, attending 13 schools, including seven elementary, two middle schools and two high schools. Ninety percent of students were minorities, 85% were eligible for free or reduced lunch and 56% were mulitlingual learners.

The district has struggled with low academic performance for more than a decade. This can be most comprehensively seen in Adams 14’s District Performance Framework, which is a tool that assesses Colorado school districts on measurements determined by the state’s Accountability Act. The District Performance Framework factors in such things as academic performance of students on statewide assessments, student academic growth year to year and postsecondary measures such as dropout rates and graduation rates.

Adams 14 has been on the Accountability Clock since the Accountability Act became law in 2009. From 2010 – the first year of the state’s accountability system – to 2019, the district has received only the two lowest ratings on the scale. Ratings were not assigned in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 disruptions. In addition, there was a pause in the system in 2015. 

Latest News

Commissioner accepts recommendation to not reorganize Adams 14 

A school organization planning committee consisting of Adams 14 and its surrounding districts – School District 27J, Adams 12 Five Star School District and Mapleton School District -- met beginning in the spring of 2022 through the summer of 2023 with the directive to examine whether reorganizing the district would be the best move for the district's students. More about the reorganization process is outlined below.

On Aug. 11, 2023, the committee released its final report, recommending Adams 14 not be reorganized. Commissioner Susana Córdova approved the recommendation on Aug. 31, ending the reorganization process.

Board restores Adams 14 School District's accreditation 

On May 10, 2022, the State Board of Education voted to remove Adams 14's accreditation and initiate the process of reorganizing the school district. In addition, the board ordered the district to proceed with its plan of partnering with TNTP to improve outcomes for students. Below is an explanation of both what the removal of accreditation means and what the reorganization process is. In September 2022, the board restored accreditation to the district after learning about increased challenges the district was facing due to confusion over what loss of accreditation meant.

Board advances grant program for transportation options to help students attend higher-performing schools

Students attending low-performing schools in Adams 14 School District could have access to transportation to attend higher-performing schools in the district or in adjacent districts under a new grant program endorsed by the Colorado State Board of Education at its May 2022 meeting.

The Transportation Assistance Grant Program could be available for students who attend schools with a priority improvement or turnaround plan in districts that have priority improvement, turnaround plans or are unaccredited. Using this criterion, students in Adams 14 attending Central Elementary, Rose Hill Elementary, Alsup Elementary, Lester Arnold High School or Adams City High School would be eligible to participate.

Eligible students could attend higher-performing schools within Adams 14 or in adjacent districts in schools with a performance plan, which includes Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Brighton 27J, Mapleton or Denver.

School districts, BOCES, charter schools and community-based organizations will be eligible to apply for funding to provide transportation for eligible families who wish to send their children to higher-performing schools. For-profit transportation companies will not be eligible to apply for the grant.


School district reorganization is one action the State Board of Education may direct to a school district that has failed to meet student-performance expectations for more than five years. School district reorganization does not mean schools will close. Rather, it is a process that may result in a change in boundaries, governance or management of a district. Reorganization, as defined in state law, directs the local school board and community to have a role in the process. The commissioner of education, with support from CDE staff, works with the district and neighboring districts to finalize and implement the reorganization plan.

The commissioner will call for the appointment of a school organization planning committee by notifying the affected school districts. The school organization planning committee must include two members appointed by each of the affected local boards and one parent member appointed by each of the affected district accountability committees. While the committee must file its plans with the local boards, hold public hearings, and get approval for the plan from the commissioner, it is the voters who ultimately approve the plan.


The state board may remove a district’s accreditation when a district has been on performance watch for the full five years.

What happens when accreditation is removed?

Most importantly, schools will remain open and will continue to serve students during the regular school year. Additionally, the schools remain funded. The loss of accreditation does not impact funding or diplomas, college admission eligibility or scholarship eligibility for graduates. It is a sign that the district has received the lowest ratings in the accountability system for longer than five consecutive years.

If the state board removes a district’s accreditation under the Accountability Act, the state board will likely direct other actions, such as reorganization or converting schools into charter schools. When the district takes these other actions, the state board must reinstate the district’s accreditation at the accreditation category the state board feels is appropriate.

Board and commissioner actions concerning Adams 14