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WPS is Officially Off of the State Accountability Clock!
Due to steadily improving achievement and growth scores by students, Westminster Public Schools (WPS) has moved off the state accountability clock and is now rated as an “Improvement” school district. It is a major accomplishment for WPS and a validation of its Competency Based System (CBS).
"This is such a proud moment for our students and staff," said Superintendent Pam Swanson. "This kind of success is the result of a team effort where everyone in the district lifted each other up and pulled together to ensure that all students reach their full academic potential."
While the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) formally released its performance ratings on Monday, Aug. 27, WPS shared the good news with staff during an internal celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 22, in the Westminster High School (WHS) gym. All employees were invited to a surprise reveal where they received the good news during a pep rally event that included performances by the WHS band, choir and cheerleaders. The theme was Westy Strong.
"Finally we are going to get the respect we deserve," noted Superintendent Swanson as she closed the event to the sounds of "RESPECT" by Aretha Franklin.
WPS was once a turnaround school district facing state sanctions because of low test scores, but after turning to CBS, students have made significant and steady improvements. See the state accreditation designations for WPS from 2016 to 2018 online here. CBS requires students to show mastery of a learning topic before moving to the next level. Because every student’s education is personalized, students can move through subject areas at their own pace. WPS is the largest school district in the country to implement competency-based education in all of its schools. Learn more about the WPS Competency Based System online at cbswps.org.
During the summer of 2017, Superintendent Swanson and the Board of Education issued a districtwide Performance Challenge calling for all students to show more than a year’s academic growth in the course of a year. Data released earlier in the month showed that for the third-consecutive year, elementary and middle school students showed an increase in academic achievement and growth in both English language arts and math as measured by the CDE. In almost every category and every grade level, WPS also showed an improvement in mean scale scores which measure student performance on the exams. English language arts was especially strong for WPS students, with the average statewide median growth for students being 50 percent while WPS students measured 55 percent. Read the full story on these results online here.
"For many years we have asked the Colorado Department of Education to provide more flexibility in its accountability system to support innovation instead of focusing on high stakes, once a year testing," said Swanson. "The state resisted, but we pushed forward with our model and have now shown success, even by the traditional state standards. It’s very gratifying."
WPS is hosting a Competency Based Education Summit: Lessons Learned From a Decade of Practice on Sept. 26, 27 and 28 in Westminster, Colorado. This will be a unique opportunity to learn about competency-based education and to bring in educators from across the country to dig deeper into personalized learning. Learn more about the event or how to register online at wpssummit.co.