For the third time in 20 years, Willow Creek Elementary has been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Students and staff members learned of the honor during a surprise assembly on Oct. 1.
Willow Creek, which also earned Blue Ribbon recognition in 1999 and 2006, is one of five schools in Colorado and 349 schools nationwide to be honored this year. The National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes public and private K-12 schools where students achieve very high learning standards and are making notable improvements in closing achievement gaps.
“We are honored to be designated as a National Blue Ribbon School for a third time. This recognition is a testament to our dedicated staff, our rigorous curriculum, our high expectations for all students and the support of a wonderful community,” said Willow Creek Principal Diana Price. “I believe the value we place on practicing a growth mindset has continued to positively impact students’ academic, social, emotional and physical well-being.”
National Blue Ribbon Schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores and subgroup scores on state assessments or nationally normed tests as well as graduation rates:
- “Exemplary High Performing,” in which schools are recognized as high performing as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
- “Exemplary Improving,” in which schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
Willow Creek was honored in the Exemplary High Performing category.
Willow Creek has also earned the John Irwin School of Excellence Award and the Governor's Distinguished Improvement Award.
“We are so proud of Willow Creek students, teachers, staff and parents,” said Dr. Scott Siegfried, Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, after an assembly at the school to share the exciting news. “Willow Creek embodies the Cherry Creek commitment to inclusive excellence, ensuring all students receive an outstanding education that prepares them for success in their future.”
Willow Creek is one of eight Cherry Creek schools that have earned National Blue Ribbon School honors. The others are:
- Ponderosa Elementary, 2013-14
- Campus Middle School, 1999-2000
- Eastridge Community Elementary School, 1998-99
- West Middle School, 1994-96
- Cherry Creek High School, 1992-93
- Smoky Hill High School, 1990-91
- Indian Ridge Elementary School, 1989-90
Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,500 schools across the country. Willow Creek and the other 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools will be celebrated at an awards ceremony in November in Washington, D.C.