Willow Creek's Accreditation Status
Accredited with Performance Plan
"Accredited with Performance Plan" is the highest category of school accreditation in Colorado; it indicates that the school meets or exceeds state performance targets.
Willow Creek has long been recognized for outstanding academic achievement. The John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award has been conferred annually since 2001 to the top 8% of Colorado schools, and Willow Creek has attained this prestigious award almost every year since its inception.
In addition, Willow Creek has received the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award three times, in 1999, 2006, and 2018. Only a handful of schools in Colorado receive this recognition each year; we are one of the few schools in Colorado to receive this award more than once.
Download Willow Creek's most recent School Performance Framework report. Note that the last two pages are a key to understanding how CDE translates the data into points earned.
What is Accreditation?
School accreditation is the process of ensuring that an institution meets certain standards of excellence. In 2009, the Colorado Legislature merged accreditation with the accountability process that holds public schools accountable to parents and taxpayers. Accountability committees — which are composed of school staff, parents, and community members — work to continuously improve the performance of a school and are required to submit a plan for improvement to the state each year. Thus, Willow Creek's accreditation status mentions that the plan we provide is a "performance" plan (as opposed to an improvement plan) in recognition of our already high achievement and growth.
A major change in the performance standards used to measure schools was also made in 2009. Schools are now rewarded for making growth as well as for meeting achievement targets, and factors such as closing the achievement gap have been included in the performance framework. The Colorado Growth Model, a revolutionary way to judge school performance, is the foundation of the new accreditation standards. The Colorado Department of Education's SchoolVIEW website provides the public with access to data about school performance in both achievement and growth. To celebrate those schools that achieve unusually high growth, CDE recognizes them with the Governor's Distinguished Improvement Award. Willow Creek won this award in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
For more information about accreditation in Colorado, please visit the Colorado Department of Education's Accountability webpage.
To use the interactive graphic display of school and district performance, go to CDE's District and School Dashboard and then choose the district and school you wish to look at. Then click the appropriate tab running along the top of the table.
For more information about the John Irwin Award, visit the Colorado Department of Education's John Irwin webpage.
For more information about the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, visit the U.S. Department of Education webpage for the Blue Ribbon.