The Cherry Creek School District received the English Language Proficiency Act (ELPA) Excellence District Award and a $97,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Education on Dec. 2. This is the first year the award has been given. The award recognizes Cherry Creek Schools for offering evidenced-based English Language Proficiency programs that achieve the highest English language and academic growth among English learners and the highest academic achievement for English learners who transition out of the English language proficiency program.
In addition, Cherry Creek Academy (CCA) received the ELPA Excellence Charter School Award and a grant of $5,000. CCA contracts with the Cherry Creek School District to provide their English Language Proficiency program and staff.
“This award highlights the fact that the Cherry Creek School District has been very intentional in our English Language Acquisition (ELA) program to ensure that students have access to content through co-teaching,” said Dr. Holly Porter, Director of ELA for Cherry Creek Schools. “Co-teaching is accomplished by pairing a teacher trained in language acquisition with a classroom teacher so that collaboration and planning for effective instructional strategies is done in the context of the classroom environment. Co-teaching eliminates the need for separate educational settings such as pull-out programs which have been shown to have a negative social and emotional impact on students.”
English learners who have transitioned out of the ELA program in Cherry Creek Schools have demonstrated levels of academic achievement at or above that of their native English speaking peers and their growth percentile on state assessments is one of the highest in Colorado.
The Cherry Creek School District is one of only 10 districts statewide – and the only large district - to receive an ELPA Excellence Award for the 14-15 school year. Cherry Creek Academy is one of only 10 charter schools statewide to receive the award. Grant amounts are based on the eligibility criteria specified in the English Language Proficiency Act, as well as student enrollment and the concentration of English learners as a percentage of the total student enrollment.
Cherry Creek Schools will use the grant funds to create professional development resources, such as a co-teaching training video that can be accessed online by teachers who want to continue to improve their instruction for English learners.