All of the schools in the Cherry Creek School District are in the top two categories of the new accreditation system recently developed by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).
The accreditation categories are:
• Accredited with Performance Plan – meeting or exceeding state performance targets
• Accredited with Improvement Plan – approaching or meeting state performance targets
• Accredited with Priority Improvement Plan – not meeting state targets, requires state supervision and rapid improvement
• Accredited with Turnaround Plan – school performance is well below state targets and state intervention is required
95 percent of Cherry Creek schools are in the highest category, Accredited with Performance Plan, compared to 70% of schools statewide. Five percent of Cherry Creek schools (3 schools) are in the second highest category, Accredited with Improvement Plan, compared to about 18% of schools statewide. No Cherry Creek schools are in the bottom two categories.
“This is strong evidence that Cherry Creek continues to be a high-performing school district,” said Board of Education President Jennifer Churchfield. “It affirms the work we are doing to raise the academic achievement of all students, and ensure that every student is college and workforce ready.”
The accreditation categories are based on the School Performance Framework (SPF), which was developed by CDE in response to Senate Bill 163. The law identifies four indicators which must be included in the SPF:
• Achievement (percent of students scoring proficient or advanced on CSAP tests)
• Growth (how much growth students displayed on CSAP from last year)
• Growth Gaps (achievement differentiated by race, free and reduced lunch, special education and English language proficiency)
• College and Workforce Readiness (ACT scores, graduation rate and dropout rate)
The Cherry Creek School District has developed its own internal system of performance indicators based in part on the SPF, but using a more rigorous standard for identifying the achievement gap and college readiness. The state groups Asian students with African American and Hispanic students and other students of color. Because Asian students typically score as high, or higher, than White students, their scores make the achievement gap seem smaller than it really is.
"In Cherry Creek, we examine the differences in academic achievement and growth between White/Asian students and African American/Hispanic students, which gives us more accurate information about the achievement gap in our district," said Superintendent Mary Chesley. "We believe you have to accurately discover and define disparate performance, if any, prior to developing a plan for success."
Under SB 163, school districts are accredited by the state and districts accredit their schools. School districts may adopt the School Performance Framework for accrediting their schools or may develop their own process. The Cherry Creek School District has decided to use the state’s categories for accrediting each of its schools to create a consistent system. The district received a rating of accredited by the state.