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News release - State Board directs improvements for Westminster and Aguilar school districts

May 4, 2017

State Board directs improvements for Westminster and Aguilar school districts

DENVER –  The Colorado State Board of Education during a special meeting today directed action intended to bring about dramatic improvements in student achievement at Aguilar School District and Westminster Public Schools. Each of these districts has received low ratings in the state’s accountability system for more than five years.

Colorado’s 2009 Accountability Act requires the board mandate specific actions to boost student academic outcomes at schools and districts with more than five consecutive years of low performance in the state’s accountability system.

External management partner approved for Aguilar School District

The board supported the recommendation developed by CDE staff and the proposal from Aguilar School District, which both pointed toward adoption of an external management plan. The partner organization will provide the district and Aguilar Junior-Senior High School - which has also received low ratings for more than five years - with support for instructional strategies, curriculum alignment and professional development.  

The district already has taken significant action to improve academic outcomes, including closing and reopening its junior-senior high school and selecting Generation Schools Network as a management partner. Improvement in school culture and academics already have been demonstrated, including increases in enrollment and graduation rates.

A final written plan for Aguilar School District’s management partnership will be considered by the board in June.

Board requests more details in Westminster Public Schools' plan for a management partner 

The board directed Westminster Public Schools and CDE staff to work together to define the roles of two external management entities in supporting the district’s implementation of its instructional model, known as a competency based system. This model requires teachers to personalize learning strategies for students based on their strengths, and students advance after they have mastered specific skills and knowledge.  

Plans to partner with AdvancED and Marzano Academies were proposed by the district and supported by the Colorado Department of Education staff. While schools in the district have made improvements over time under the competency based system, eight schools experienced declines in their performance in 2016. The management entities are intended to help the district implement the competency based system with fidelity across all schools.  

A final written plan specifying the roles and responsibilities for AdvancEd and Marzano Academies will be presented to the board at a future meeting.

Accountability hearings continue on May 10 and 11

The state board will conclude the required hearings for low-performing schools and districts at its regular monthly meeting on May 10 and 11. Adams 14 and Huerfano school districts will come before the board at that time.