Denver Public Schools today released the results of the eighth School Performance Framework (SPF), which looks at a comprehensive set of factors to create a rating for each of the district’s nearly 200 schools. These parent-friendly ratings range from Distinguished, or Blue on our ratings “stoplight,” to Accredited on Probation, or Red.
The overall ratings summary for the DPS 2016 SPF (Rating: % of Schools):
DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg highlighted examples of strong growth in the results this morning at Trevista at Horace Mann, a Northwest Denver school that was rated Red in 2013. Boasberg and Denver Board of Education Vice President Barbara O’Brien joined Trevista Principal Jesús Rodríguez, Trevista teachers and students to celebrate that school’s first-ever Green rating.
“I know how hard it is to get here,” O’Brien, who served with community members and families on the Northwest Working Group to improve area schools, told the Trevista team. “It’s heroic work and we all thank you for what you’ve done.”
Rodríguez said the school is determined to reach the very highest rating, or Blue.
“Last year, we painted our doors blue because we want everyone … to see that we are on a mission to be blue,” he said. “We know we have a long way to go, but the determination of our staff and community make the future bright blue for us.”
“Our families entrust our work and partner with us to fulfill the hopes and dreams of the children that we share,” said Trevista teacher Jessica Mullins. “We celebrate our kids… who show us on a daily basis the possibilities for their futures.”
Joining in the celebration at Trevista were school teams from Fairview Elementary, University Prep Charter School, Collegiate Prep Academy, DSST: College View High School Charter and Respect Academy, a multiple pathways school. All of these schools saw strong results on the SPF.
“This means we are closer to ensuring that our students who struggle the most with poverty have a great education,” said Fairview Principal Antoinette Hudson, whose school on the edge of the Sun Valley neighborhood. “Setting high expectations for student learning is extremely important.”
“Clearly one of the things these schools have in common is overwhelmingly serving students who come from families in poverty and helping … those students achieve extraordinary growth,” Boasberg said, telling the assembled school leaders: “The work that you are doing to drive growth of our students is the most important work we have in our society today, and I speak on behalf of our whole community in thanking you for that work.”
Among other highlights in the data:
Boasberg said the SPF also highlighted challenges the district is facing.
“Overall, the number of Green and Blue schools are down this year, which comes as no surprise with new state standards,” he said.
The 2016 SPF is the first released by the district since the implementation of more rigorous academic standards and assessments. Boasberg has supported the tougher standards as more in line with what students truly need to be prepared for success in college and career.
“We celebrate the achievement of our schools that have achieved Blue status, but we also want to work to achieve a higher bar for our schools,” he said. “For example, next year, we will have a higher bar for our high schools.
He also noted the significant gaps among students by ethnicity, race and income: “Our commitment as public schools is to ensure all of our kids succeed, and it is fundamentally a civil rights mission.”
For the first time this year, DPS schools are receiving an equity rating based on how well they are supporting students in poverty, students of color, English learners and students with special needs.
The rating is determined by performance on existing measures, such as state assessments, but it’s being pulled out to emphasize high expectations for all kids, Boasberg said. While it is not part of a school’s overall rating this year, it will be included on the 2017 SPF.
“A year from now, all schools will be required to be closing gaps in order to be Green or Blue,” he said, “so we can ensure we are serving all of our students.”