Dr. Walt Cooper
(Click for bio)
Recently, the Colorado Department of Education and State Board of Education presented the 2014 School and District Performance Awards. Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond presided over the ceremony that honored schools and districts that earned acclaim in 10 different award categories. The Cheyenne Mountain School District was well represented, receiving 12 total awards.
The ceremony began with the district being “accredited with distinction.” This award is the cumulative result of performance of all district schools and is the highest of five possible ratings in the state’s accountability system. Additionally, District 12 was recognized as one of only 5 school districts in the state to achieve this rating each year since its inception in 2009.
At the individual school level, the John Irwin Award is given to schools that demonstrate sustained excellent academic achievement over a 3-year period. Nine district schools were presented with the 2014 John Irwin Award: Broadmoor Elementary, Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy, Cheyenne Mountain High School, Cheyenne Mountain Junior High School, Gold Camp Elementary, Piñon Valley Elementary, Vanguard Middle School, Cheyenne Mountain Elementary, and Vanguard High School.
Cheyenne Mountain Elementary School and Vanguard High School both won Governor’s Distinguished Improvement for demonstrating not only high achievement, but also exceptional student growth. Vanguard High School was also recognized as the winner of the high school academic growth award among 1-A high schools in the state, and Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy was a repeat winner of the ESEA Reward School award as a Title I school demonstrating high performance.
While I am very proud of our schools’ tremendous work and accomplishments as indicated by all of the aforementioned awards, the award of which I am most proud is the ELPA Excellence Award presented to District 12. This award honors 10 school districts that achieve the highest English language and academic growth among students whose first language is not English. I am most proud of this award because it directly evidences our commitment to every District 12 student, not just those who are privileged or advantaged. Too often, high achieving school districts with low rates of poverty and ethnic diversity are inappropriately and unfairly characterized as leaving students with the greatest challenges behind. However, the reality is that of all 178 school districts in Colorado, no district demonstrated greater academic outcomes among English learners than Cheyenne Mountain. Our students across all grades met over 85% of measureable outcomes (compared to a state average of 59%), which is a tremendous credit to both our students and faculty. Furthermore, it proves that when we say, “we expect every school, every classroom, every student to achieve…no exceptions…no excuses,” we mean it.