Denver and Colorado Topping the Edu-Charts

Although Colorado falls in the middle of the pack right now in terms of the quality of its public schools, if the recent spate of accolades that our education systems (particularly Denver’s) have been getting is any indication, we’re mediocre with a bullet.

Check out this rundown of top edu-rankings that have come our way:

District-Charter Collaboration

In many cities, school districts and charter schools are cats and dogs—clawing, scratching, barking, biting…and ignoring the needs of kids and families. In a recent report by the Center for Reinventing Public Education, Denver comes in behind only Boston for taking full advantage of the choice and shared-learning benefits that come with collaboration.

A Great Place for Great Teachers

Hiring and keeping great teachers is probably the toughest and most important challenge for any school district. In mid March, the National Council on Teacher Quality hosted an event in Austin, Texas to spotlight eight districts that are a “Great Place for Great Teachers.” Denver was one of the honorees.

“The quality of our teachers is the single most important factor in the success that we have for our kids,” DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said. “We are honored to be selected as one of the first Great Districts for Great Teachers.

“We are especially pleased that this award recognizes our path-breaking Teacher Leadership & Collaboration model that provides significantly more coaching and instructional supports for our teachers, as well as our strong principal pipeline programs that help aspiring school leaders to grow and develop their leadership skills.”

The Top Choice on School Choice

For the second year in a row, the Brookings Institute named Denver as having the best school choice system in the country. Over the past decade, DPS has opened roughly 50 new schools—both traditional and charter schools. Five years ago, parents who were shopping around for schools had to navigate a maze of dozens of different applications, processes, and deadlines, depending on whether the schools they were interested in were charter schools, specialty schools, or an out-of-boundary traditional school. In 2012, DPS simplified that system and created a level playing field for all families by launching SchoolChoice—a common enrollment system that all schools, regardless of type, use for admissions. That move helped vault Denver to the top of the annual choice rankings.

School-Ratings Kudos

With the new federal education law—the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—each state has the responsibility of developing its own system to rate the performance of its schools and help parents know how good the schools are that they are interested in for their children.

Not only was Colorado singled out for doing meaningful outreach to families and community members in putting together its plan, the end product of the ESSA school-ratings process is getting some rave reviews as well. And that may be the most far-reaching and longest-longest impact of any of Colorado’s recent accolades.

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