Harrison schools earn academic honors

Five institutions honored by state education department

Some Harrison School District Two schools stepped to the head of the class recently, earning top state recognitions for their outstanding performances on assessment tests. 

Atlas Preparatory High School and Giberson and Sand Creek elementary schools earned the Colorado Department of Education’s Centers of Excellence Award for 2018, while Soaring Eagles and James Irwin Charter elementary schools received the department’s John Irwin Award. The honors were announced this week.

The Centers of Excellence Award is given annually to public schools that demonstrate the highest rates of student growth. To qualify schools must have at least 75 percent of their student bodies be considered at-risk pupils. 

Harrison, with its three honorees, led the state for the most schools in one district earning the coveted recognition.

“When considering the 15 schools making the greatest growth in student achievement across the entire state, 20 percent are in Harrison School District Two,” Wendy Birhanzel, the district’s co-chief operating officer, said in a statement. “This is a testament to the hard work and quality education that students are receiving in Harrison School District Two from some of the best teachers in the state.”

This marked the third consecutive year Sand Creek received the recognition. It is a fist for both Atlas Prep and Giberson. Past honorees for the district include: Stratmoor Hills Elementary (2009 and 2010); Centennial Elementary (2010); Bricker Elementary (2016); Fox Meadow Middle School and Oak Creek Elementary (2017), state records show. 

The John Irwin Award, meanwhile, recognizes “schools that demonstrate exceptional academic achievement over time,” according to the state education department website. “The schools received an Exceeds Expectations rating on the Academic Achievement indicator … reflecting exceptional performance in math, English language arts and science.” 

The award, named after former Colorado lawmaker John J. Irwin, has been presented since 2002, and both of this year’s Southeast recipients are frequent honorees. 

“Soaring Eagles and James Irwin … earned the John Irwin Award for exceptional academic achievement over time by exceeding Colorado Department of Education’s expectations year after year,” Birhanzel said. “This is Soaring Eagles’ fourth year in a row receiving this award.  

“All of these awards speak to the community approach to high-quality education. The hard work of students and dedicated staff at each of these schools, combined with the support of our parents, ensures students are able to learn at the highest level.”

regan.foster@southeastexpress.org 

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