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Connect for Success
In 2014, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) conducted a comprehensive study of five high achieving elementary schools identified based on their overall performance, as well as the performance of their student groups, specifically English Learners, students with disabilities, students experiencing poverty, and minority students. The study focused on how these schools are attaining higher academic achievement than other schools in the state. The school and LEA leadership, personnel, families, and students participated in surveys, focus groups, and interviews to help identify the factors contributing to the schools' success with the identified groups. The following High Achieving Schools (HAS) Study summarizes the study purpose and methods, overall findings highlighting effective strategies common across the five schools in the 2014 study, and effective strategies unique within each school.
In 2018, CDE added four new high achieving schools to the study: a rural elementary school, a middle school, a high school, and an alternative education campus (AEC). The same methodology was used to identify practices that are contributing to the success of the newly identified schools. Although three of the four schools were secondary schools, many of the same trends were noted across the second round of high achieving schools as has been evidenced in the first study. CDE is in the process of developing reports on the second (2018) HAS study, which will be posted on the same website later this fall.
The HAS study findings were used to develop the Connect for Success (CFS) grant which is an opportunity for schools identified for support and improvement to connect with and learn from the HAS to replicate the effective practices and strategies common across the HAS. To date, 45 Colorado schools have participated in the CFS grant. The first cohort of grantees has now completed two and a half years of implementation. Based on 2018 preliminary School Performance Framework (SPF) results, over 76% of those schools are no longer on the accountability clock (i.e., Priority Improvement, Turnaround).
Schools that participate in the Connect for Success grant receive a diagnostic visit and a report that includes recommendations from a CDE team based on the findings of the HAS study. After hearing a panel of HAS school leaders and personnel and connecting with them at a kickoff meeting, grantees visit one of the HAS to see the effective practices in person. Schools identify and/or hire an implementation coach who works with a CDE Implementation Manager to replicate HAS strategies as well as monitor the implementation of those practices.
Program Contact Information
Title I School Improvement Coordinator, Federal Programs
(303) 866-6618 | Meushaw_L@cde.state.co.us