Congrats to Colo. School Districts with Distinction, School Centers of Excellence

This morning, Colorado’s outgoing governor Bill Ritter formally recognized some schools and school districts for outstanding academic performance.

A couple observations, first about the school districts. As Ed News Colorado’s Nancy Mitchell explains and breaks down, there are five levels of rating districts can earn from the state’s Department of Education. Only 14 of 178 earned the highest (“Accredited with Distinction”), while 7 districts received the lowest (“Accredited with Turnaround”). Most districts fall somewhere in between.

Many times we’ve heard during the discussion about Douglas County’s groundbreaking private school choice proposals (which passed on to the superintendent in resolution form on Tuesday night) that the district doesn’t need choice because it’s the highest-performing district in the state. But a careful look at the list shows Douglas County isn’t anywhere in the top 14 “with distinction.” Maybe — just maybe — a whole slate of expanded choices and options for families will help the district compete and rise to the top. Hmmmm.

With the governor’s blessing today, the Colorado Department of Education also recognized 32 schools as “Centers of Excellence” for demonstrating the highest rates of student academic growth while serving at-risk student populations (75 percent or more). Included on the list are a number of Denver schools I have highlighted to you before, such as:

Congratulations to all 32 schools and 14 districts that received these highest honors. Now onward and upward to even greater things for Colorado students!