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19 schools to get improvement grants

Turnaround plans for 19 low-performing Colorado schools have been approved by the state Department of Education.

Denver North High School
Denver North High School

Some $37 million in federal school improvement grants is expected to be spent on the effort over the next three years.

The schools, 14 of which are in just two districts, Denver and Pueblo City, will receive three-year federal funding for efforts to improve student achievement through various methods, including turnaround, restart, school closure and transformation.

Here’s what those models involve:

  • Turnaround – Replacement of principal, rehiring or no more than 50 percent of current staff and flexibility in staffing, calendar and budget.
  • Restart – Turning the school over to a charter organization or an education management organization.
  • Closure – Shutting a school and moving students to higher achieving schools in a district.
  • Transformation – Replacement of principal and taking steps to improve educator effectiveness, reform instruction, increase learning time and community support and provide operational flexibility.

Transformation is generally seen as the least disruptive to existing staff, but some education experts have concerns about its effectiveness. Of the 19 schools, nine chose transformation, six turnaround and one a combination of restart and turnaround. Three schools will be closed.

A number of the schools on the list already have gone through various district improvement efforts but have remained in the ranks of the state’s lowest-performing schools.

The schools, the amounts budgeted and the methods to be used are as follows:

Tier I list (schools that receive Title I funds for low-income students)

  • Hanson Elementary School (Adams County School District 14) – $2,010,180, transformation
  • Haskin Elementary School (Center Consolidated School District 26JT) – $1,666,515, transformation
  • Gilpin K-8 School (Denver Public Schools) – $1,260,033, turnaround
  • Greenlee K-8 School (DPS) – $2,256,517, turnaround
  • Montbello High School (DPS) – $3,388,350, transformation
  • Philips Elementary School (DPS) – $36,413, closure
  • Clifton Elementary School (Mesa County Valley School District 51) – $2,598,111, transformation
  • Freed Middle School (Pueblo City Schools) – $2,063,811, turnaround
  • Youth and Family Academy Charter School (Pueblo) – $1,578,681, transformation
  • Fort Logan Elementary School (Sheridan School District) – $2,388,570, turnaround

Tier 2 list (schools eligible for Title I funds but which don’t currently receive them)

  • Lake Middle School (DPS) – $2,083,232, restart and turnaround
  • Noel Middle School (DPS) – $2,776,580, transformation
  • North High School (DPS) – $3,106,922, transformation
  • Rishel Middle School (DPS) – $15,387, closure
  • Skyland Community High School (DPS) – $35,790, closure
  • Pitts Middle School (Pueblo) – $2,159,601, turnaround
  • Risley Middle School (Pueblo) – $2,103,975, turnaround
  • Roncalli Middle School (Pueblo) – $2,212,131, transformation
  • Central High School (Pueblo) – $2,799,228, transformation

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