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Colorado School Grades Releases 2013 Rankings of Every Public School in the State

Colorado School Grades, an online tool created by a diverse coalition of 18 community organizations, today released its 2013 rankings of every public school in the state. The rankings, which are available online at, are intended to help parents, students, educators, and community members better understand how their local Colorado schools are performing.

Nearly 2,000 Colorado public schools are ranked annually, translating data from the Colorado Department of Education with a formula developed with the Center for Education Policy Analysis at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. By giving every school an easy-to-understand letter-grade ranking, the Colorado School Grades coalition offers the simplest and clearest representation of how schools truly are performing – both good and bad.

“The first step to improving our public schools is to truly understand how they are performing,” said Bob Deibel, president and CEO of OfficeScapes and co-chair of Colorado Succeeds. “The Colorado School Grades tool gives parents objective results as to how their local schools are performing so they can make educated decisions on how to best create positive changes.”

Colorado School Grades represents an alternative to other school rating systems that are difficult to navigate or offer watered-down information. For example, the Colorado Department of Education indicates that more than 70 percent of public schools are “top performers,” making it difficult for parents to understand how their school actually measures up. Colorado School Grades rates schools on a more rigorous curve, so the community can understand which schools are truly performing at the highest levels.


The top-rated elementary schools in Colorado are Bear Creek, Aurora Quest K-8, Cherry Hills Village, Polaris at Ebert, Cottonwood Creek, Willow Creek, Horizons K-8, Challenge School, Bradford Intermediate and Hulstrom Options K-8. All 10 schools are located in the metro Denver area.

The top-rated middle schools in Colorado are the Challenge School, Stargate Challenge School, Slavens K-8, Montessori Peaks Charter Academy, Altona, Core Knowledge Charter School, Aspen Community Charter School, McAuliffe International School, DSST: Stapleton and Ridgeview Classical Charter Schools. Seven of the 10 schools are located in the metro Denver area.

The top-rated high schools in Colorado represent regions across the state, with only three of the 10 located in the metro Denver area. They are DSST: Stapleton, The Vanguard School, Liberty Common Charter School, Denver School of the Arts, Ridgeview Classical Charter Schools, Air Academy, D’Evelyn, Kiowa, Crested Butte Community School and Thomas MacLaren State Charter School.


The Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs developed the Colorado School Grades formula that is used to calculate school grades. It uses the same variables and weights as the Colorado Department of Education’s School Performance Framework, which includes data such as a school’s academic achievement, academic growth, academic growth gaps and, for high schools, college/career readiness.

The resulting data goes through a grading curve that ranks schools from top to bottom. The top 10 percent of schools receive an A grade (A+, A or A-), the next 25 percent receive a B rating, the next 50 percent receive a C rating, the next 10 percent receive a D rating, and the bottom five percent receive an F rating.

About Colorado School Grades

Colorado School Grades is an online tool created by a coalition of 18 community organizations that helps Colorado parents, students, educators, and community members better understand how their local schools are performing. The goal is to give these groups the information they need to improve their local schools and make better school-choice decisions.

Colorado School Grades coalition members are A+ Denver, ACE Scholarships, The Adolph Coors Foundation, The Anschutz Foundation, Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Succeeds, The Daniels Fund, Donnell-Kay Foundation, Get Smart Schools, Independence Institute, Qualistar Colorado, Together Colorado, Morgridge Family Foundation, Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE), Stand for Children, The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and Walton Family Foundation.

More information is available online at

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