Can you believe it’s been a whole year since the launch of the Colorado School Grades website? My friends at the Independence Institute are proud to be one of the 18 sponsoring partners of this helpful resource.
The passing of 12 months means a whole new set of data, and a lot of curious parents searching through the user-friendly Colorado School Grades site to see where their child’s school rates. Grades are assigned to all Colorado public schools based on objective measures of academic achievement and academic growth. Congrats to the top-rated schools at each level for this year:
- Steck Elementary, Denver
- Stargate Charter Middle School, Thornton
- Liberty Common High School, Fort Collins
Scott Laband of Colorado Succeeds — whose group is at the forefront of the Colorado School Grades website –offers up the following quick summary of the biggest changes users will find:
- Growth grades and graduation rates for a school’s English Language Learners are provided and factored into the overall grades to keep our site consistent with [the Colorado Department of Education]
- Schools are only compared to other schools of the same type…elementary to elementary, middle to middle, and high to high.
- New functionality allows you to “Recommend” report cards and comparison pages to your friends and neighbors via Facebook
- A revised link on the home page ranks every public school in the state in order of performance
- Alternative schools now receive grades and can be compared to other similar schools via a new “Alternative” view
If you live in the Denver area, you may have seen one of the billboards inviting people to check out the site. Or perhaps you remember the television commercial that first aired last December:
A bonus project this year for those who want to go above and beyond, to help make the information even more useful: There’s a contest to see who can do the best job visualizing some key data from the website. You can create graphics to show three-year trends, to identify the district with the most A or F schools, to figure out which schools have improved or regressed the most, or many other ideas. For some of my fellow geeks out there, this could be fun.
But all in all, the timing for the re-launch of Colorado School Grades couldn’t be better, as open enrollment season is coming in many major districts. Students and parents who need to find another learning option once again have an important tool at their disposal. Which means you also need to check out the other half of the website tag team — the fantastic School Choice for Kids website.