District leaders explored "the roadmap for the future of excellence in CCSD" during the Board of Education's regular meeting held Feb. 11 at Mission Viejo Elementary School.
The presentation to the board on the status of Instructional Excellence in the coming years detailed a part of Superintendent Scott Siegfried's broader strategic plan for the district in coming years. Assistant Superintendent of Performance Improvement Michael Giles and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Operations Jennifer Perry offered a detailed view of a plan that seeks to eliminate achievement disproportionalities by race, create equity for all students in Cherry Creek Schools and boost the percentage of all CCSD students who meet college and career readiness benchmarks measured by state assessments.
"This is a roadmap for the future of Cherry Creek Schools," Siegfried said in his introduction to the presentation. "This is how we're going to hold ourselves accountable to our community. There's a lot of work that's gone into this, and there's a lot more that will go into this."
Giles and Perry spelled out detailed components of the district's approach to Instructional Excellence. They highlighted strategic priorities, instructional excellence objectives and the rationale behind the plan and how it relates to the district's vision of "Dedicated to Excellence" and its mission "to inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care."
Specifically, the Instructional Excellence objectives seek to increase the percentage of all CCSD students who meet the college and career readiness benchmarks in English Language Arts and math as measured by state assessments by 3 percentage points over the next four years. The district will work to eliminate disproportionalities by race, meaning that the percentage of black, Hispanic and indigenous students meeting these benchmarks will increase by at least 4 percentage points.
The plan also spells out increased higher median growth percentiles by 2023, and seeks to boost the number of students who report feeling engaged in their school environments.
"This emphasizes the concept of continuous improvement," Giles said. "Narrowing the performance disparity by race will require all students to grow while our black and brown students will need to improve at a higher rate. More than half of students will make better than average growth compared to other students in the state."
Strategies for achieving these goals include further implementing culturally responsive education and a framework for creating systemic racial equity. Teachers, administrators and staff will have access to diversity training. The district will work to develop a universal model of teaching that supports access to rigorous and relevant learning experiences for all students, and will work to implement innovative learning environments in schools across the district.
This work will come along with the continued implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), as well as targeted strategies for student populations like English language learners, Special Education students, Gifted and Talented students, Advanced Learners and students with Individualized Education Plans.
These steps will align with an effort district-wide to engage students cognitively, emotionally and systematically.
It's an ambitious approach, one that will require coordination on a system-wide level.
"We've historically been a site-based district. This will become a more directive process in some ways. This will be hard," Perry said. "At the same time, we have had leaders at the school level who have been asking for this. I think people are encouraged with where we're going with this work."
Giles and Perry highlighted the next steps in the process, and pointed to further updates at board meetings planned for March and April.
"This is not a 'Hope-it-gets-done' plan. We are working hard to create clarity on this conversation," Siegfried said following the presentation. "I'm excited about the future."