More than 75% of students in the Cherry Creek School District scored proficient and advanced in reading on 2014 Transitional Colorado Achievement Program (TCAP) tests, compared to 69% statewide. At least 62% scored proficient and above in writing and more than 65% were proficient and above in math. Three-year Academic Growth scores also showed a continuous pattern of improvement with overall median growth above the state average of 50 for all content areas and in almost all grade levels and subgroups.
"Studies show that one of the best predictors of whether students will graduate high school is reading proficiency by the end of the third grade," Cherry Creek School District Superintendent Dr. Harry Bull said. "We continue to show a high level of success in reading, but we still have more work to do."
Although the final 2014 graduation rates won't be released until later this year, preliminary results show that the district is making significant progress toward exceeding its goal of a 90% on-time graduation rate. The 2013 graduation rate was slightly more than 87% with an 80% and above rate for all ethnic groups.
| "Our mission in the Cherry Creek School District is 'to inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care . . . that's our only reason for existence."|
The district average composite score for the Colorado ACT given to all 11th graders score is 21.9, compared to 20.3 statewide, the highest since the state began requiring all high school juniors to take the test beginning in 2006. The test is a key indicator of college and career readiness.
Despite the progress the district is making in key achievement areas, many students are still struggling, primarily at schools with higher levels of poverty and diversity.
"We are very concerned about some of the results we are seeing among our high risk populations, and we have already begun implementing strategies to close the opportunity gap for those students," Bull said.
The district has implemented an updated College and Career Framework with the Cherry Creek Curriculum, which includes increased focus on reading proficiency at all grade levels and more focus on Inclusive Excellence to ensure that every student has the opportunity for academic success. Key strategies include:
- Providing more staff development opportunities for teachers in meeting the higher rigor of the 2010 Colorado Academic Standards which were fully implemented in the 2013-2014 school year.
- Establishing study groups where teachers can meet and create plans to meet the unique needs of their students.
- Observing best practices at other schools that can be adapted for their schools.
- Strengthening partnerships with parents through groups like PASS (Partnerships for Academically Successful Students) now active in every Cherry Creek neighborhood school.
- Studying patterns over time and continuing to align curriculum with needs to achieve the best results.
- Offering more learning opportunities for students needing additional support.
- Giving neighborhood schools the flexibility and support needed to meet the needs of students in each community.
This is the last year that the TCAP state assessment will be given. Beginning in the spring of 2015, all Colorado schools will give the new Colorado Measure of Academic Success (CMAS) tests, which are aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards in all content areas. For that reason direct comparisons with this year's TCAP results and next year's CMAS results will not be possible.
"We will continue to use our own internal assessments and observations to track student progress and make adjustments in our curriculum where needed while we see what trends emerge from two or more consecutive years of CMAS testing," Bull said. "Our mission in the Cherry Creek School District is 'to inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care,' " Bull said.
"That means every student, all 54,226 of them. That's our only reason for existence."
Posted Sept. 3, 2014