Colorado’s education commissioner signed off on 2017 school district quality ratings

Five small Colorado school districts, most of them rural, will have five years to improve test scores or face state intervention as a result of the latest round of district quality ratings released Wednesday by the state education department.

Students at Northglenn High School who are studying biomedical science work on an assignment. The class is part of the school's STEM offerings. (Nicholas Garcia/Chalkbeat)
Students at Northglenn High School who are studying biomedical science work on an assignment. The class is part of the school's STEM offerings. (Nicholas Garcia/Chalkbeat)
Students at Northglenn High School. (Nicholas Garcia/Chalkbeat)

By Nic GarciaChalkbeat

Five small Colorado school districts, most of them rural, will have five years to improve test scores or face state intervention as a result of the latest round of district quality ratings released Wednesday by the state education department.

The ratings, based largely on results from the state’s English and math tests, are used to help the state target federal dollars to school districts that need the most help in boosting student learning.

Districts that earn one of the state’s two lowest ratings are put on Colorado’s “accountability clock.” Earlier this year four school districts — including Aurora Public Schools — improved enough to jump off that list and no district earned the lowest ranking.

The ratings from highest to lowest are: distinction, accredited, improvement, priority improvement and turnaround.

“We are pleased with the success around the state, which is the result of hard work by students, teachers and administrators,” Education Commissioner Katy Anthes said in a statement. “These ratings allow us to identify districts that need more state support and intervention, but also districts where we can learn from their success. While we are proud of the progress we are making, we know we still have a long way to go to meet the academic needs of many of our students.”

Thirty districts received the highest rating of distinction and 90 received the second-highest rating, accredited.

The state is expected to release ratings for individual schools in December after the State Board of Education approves those.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.