Progress of Turnaround Schools Shows Promise; More Work Ahead
Intense efforts to turn around underperforming schools are making gains, including unprecedented successes in Far Northeast Denver and the Westminster 50 school district, according to a report released this week by A+ Denver. However, the evaluation found that not every district working on turning around schools had a strategy that was working.
Colorado Turnaround Schools—Rays of Hope tracked $51.5 million in School Improvement Grants to Colorado’s lowest-performing schools. A+ Denver examined districts’ reforms and evaluated progress with recently released Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (formerly the CSAP assessments). By comparing districts’ efforts and performance data, the report pinpointed successful practices and areas for improvement. These include the intensive and individualized support given to students in Far Northeast Denver that helped yield strong results for children. The report was produced in partnership with Together Colorado, Colorado Succeeds, Colorado Children’s Campaign and DFER-Colorado.
Both Denver and Westminster were commended in the report for “confronting significant challenges, and executing on the tough decisions that give them an opportunity for positive lasting outcomes.” Turning around low-performing schools is challenging work, however these lessons help Colorado identify success and struggles and point the way to sustained progress. Too many students, particularly our most vulnerable, across our state are not getting the strong education they deserve. We will continue to focus on our turnaround schools and districts as we learn more about what is and is not working for students.