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Competency-Based Education and Early Return to In-Person Learning Served WPS Students Well During Pandemic

Just released information from the Colorado Department of Education showed that in spite of the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, students in Westminster Public Schools (WPS) showed improvement on the 2022 Preliminary Transitional Frameworks.

WPS was the only district in the metro area to meet state expectations for participation (95% or greater) and show an increase in framework points. The distinction is important because WPS staff, students and parents worked hard to test as many students as possible during the state’s 2022 spring testing window. Low participation rates typically result in lower ratings for schools and districts, but the penalty was waived this year at the direction of the Colorado Department of Education.

Westminster Public Schools maintained its rating of Accredited with Improvement. 

Of note, WPS defied the odds in how “at risk” students fared during the pandemic. Local and national reports have consistently showed that children of color and poverty suffered the most extensive learning loss during the pandemic. However, WPS, which has a high number of minorities (84.4%) and children receiving Free and Reduced Meals (76.8%) showed an increase in points used to calculate performance frameworks.

“There are several important takeaways from these results,” said Pam Swanson, Superintendent of Westminster Public Schools. “Our Competency Based System (CBS) was critically important in ensuring that our students were held to rigorous standards.  In addition, our decision to bring students back to in-person learning as quickly as was safely possible has been validated.”

CBS requires students to show mastery of learning content before moving to the next learning level. CBS works to eliminate social promotion providing Anytime, Anywhere Learning, ensuring that students are ready for the day after graduation.

“Students, parents and staff went through unprecedented challenges during the pandemic and it is gratifying to see that our decision to get students back in the classroom and take advantage of our Competency Based System helped students continue learning through some very difficult times.”