This letter to BOE Director Jill Fellman was recently shared with us. We know how great the return on investment is with Jeffco Schools. We love that others are questioning things being said/written and doing their own research to come up with the facts that show our schools are high quality and doing a great job for our Jeffco kids!
From a Jeffco resident to Jill Fellman, Jeffco Board of Ed
I was looking more in-depth at the US News and World Reports high school rankings and I started looking with a more global lens rather than just the pride that I take in my own school. It gave me the opportunity to take pride in my district and I thought I needed to send it your way as a job well done in leading our district. I’ll give you a little background, some highlights, and the links and you can explore some on your own. I know that this is only one ranking system but it tries to account for excellence within the “all kids” spectrum and takes into account low achieving groups. …the bottom line message is that a lot of schools are doing a good job and that comes from leadership, so thanks for what you do!
The USNWR does an annual ranking of best public high schools in America which includes about 20,000 schools, 363 of which are in Colorado. All schools are included (McLain, JVA, New America, etc.) bringing Jeffco to 31 high schools. The methodology is always arguable, but they basically use a 3-tiered approach.
1. Does the average student perform than expected within the state?
2. Does the at risk (Black, Hispanic, FR) student do better than expected within the state?
3. Does the school provide a rigorous curriculum as measured by the Equity And Excellence numbers on AP/IB?
(USNWR explanation of methodology here: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/articles/2014/04/21/how-us-news-calculated-the-2014-best-high-schools-rankings)
Six Jeffco schools were awarded Gold or Silver designation…Conifer, Evergreen, D’Evelyn -Gold; Lakewood, Ralston Valley and Wheat Ridge – Silver. The state as a whole had 45 schools recognized as gold or silver. This list is curious given our at-risk population is significantly different than the other schools. However, it certainly is interesting when we compare to our neighboring districts. (Jeffco as a featured district here: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/colorado?int=9abb08)
Denver is the next most recognized district with 5 schools. Interestingly, only one of their neighborhood schools made the list (East) which I would surmise is due to their IB program. The others DCIS, DSA, DSST and MLK Early college are not neighborhood schools. In fact all of their neighborhood high schools fall low on the list.
Douglas County did not have any schools included on the list.
Cherry Creek had two – CC & Grandview.
Boulder Valley had two – Fairview & Peak to Peak Charter
A comparison of districts across Colorado can be found here:
And the complete list of Colorado rankings is here: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/colorado/rankings?int=c0b4c1.
At any rate, there are many conclusions that can be drawn. The one I find most gratifying is that so many of our neighborhood schools are recognized as performing better than predicted and providing a challenging curriculum for all kids.
Thanks for your leadership!