RANKINGS: DougCo Schools Tops Among Large Districts

February 13, 2013

FIVE STAR: Douglas County’s school board has been among the most creative in the country

DENVER – An independent education organization ranked Douglas County Schools as the highest performing of the state’s most populous school districts.

Schooldigger.com, a group created in 2006 to “empower parents … to make informed choices,” analyzes comprehensive data compiled from the U.S. Department of Education and the individual states to develop profiles and rankings for more than 130,000 schools nationally.

The analysis ranked Douglas County Schools top among the state’s largest school districts for 2011-2012, three slots ahead of Littleton Schools, eight slots ahead of Boulder Valley RE2, 13 slots ahead of Cherry Creek Schools, and 29 higher than Jefferson County Schools.

“Our goal is prepare every single student for the college or career path of their choice.  The schooldigger.com rating is one more data point that points to our success,” said Douglas County School District spokeswoman Cinamon Watson.  “DCSD is a district with strong traditions of innovation, excellence, and economic efficiency and we will continue to strive to do even more for our students.”

Douglas County’s school board has been among the most creative in the country, moving forward with a number of reforms.  Some of those reforms — a performance pay for teachers program, the elimination of district subsidies for union executives’ salaries and expenses, and the suspension of collective bargaining negotiations – have put the board at odds with the teachers union.

Of the 123 Colorado districts Schooldigger ranked, Douglas County — which is home to more than 60,000 students – was the eighth ranked district when considering systems of all population-size.  Douglas County Schooled lagged behind just a handful of districts with much smaller student populations.

The overall top ranked district in the State, according to Schooldigger, was Plateau District (Re-5), with a student population of 171.

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18 Responses to RANKINGS: DougCo Schools Tops Among Large Districts

  1. Dave
    February 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Kudos to the Douglas County School Board for putting the kids first! Too bad the teacher’s union continually puts themselves ahead of the kids. At the end of the day, the board and their steps to improve education in Douglas County is vindicated by the facts!

    • Matt
      February 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm


      I am a student at one of these ‘highest performing’ schools — AP Scholar, honor roll, whatever else. Let me tell you that most students in my school and others credit the teachers (and ergo the teacher’s union) for the success of the students, not the school board. The board and district are largely unpopular and most students credit their success to themselves, their families, their friends, and their teachers. Not the board.

    • pam sippel
      February 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      The more homogeneous the group, the higher the performance of students. Doug Co. differentiates for the wealthiest of families by dangling vouchers over their heads so the kids can attend Valor ($16,000+) or Regis (14,000+). The vouchers aren’t helping the middle class/poor parents get their kids an education of choice because the meager $4,500.00 they take with them to a private school still leaves parents with thousands to pay–and that’s for one child to attend a private school.

  2. James
    February 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Strangely enough, Dave, I’m actually a teacher (15+ years, social studies) and Matt has hit the nail on the head. I can’t even extrapolate on his comment because it is perfect and expresses the EXACT sentiments of all of my colleagues, peers, and classified staff. It’s not about the board or the superintendent IN THE LEAST, in fact, honestly, it has been IN SPITE of them. No one is happy “in the trenches” in the DCSD and you can couch it in liberals, Dems, unions, etc, but when it comes down to it, teachers (and students like Matt) have the keenest perspective, not some random community member on the outside looking in. Here is a challenge: Volunteer your time to spend in an ACTUAL public school in DCSD with folks like Matt and myself, ask a wide range of people there the important questions, and don’t be surprised if your jaw drops………..that’s your challenge!

  3. Kayla
    February 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Yes, I agree with Matt. I am a teacher in Douglas County and I would say that these new ‘reforms’ and ‘measures’ do not change the way I teach at all. In fact, it actually makes it harder to teach because I have to spend hours deciphering questions to fill out my evaluation forms. I have always used backwards design planning and now the district is ‘creating their own lingo’ that I have to spend my time seeking definitions of instead of working on my instruction strategies. In fact, I have never had any feedback from a board member to make me a better teacher–especially since very few have actual teaching experience. So, I would agree with the above posters, the teachers are the ones who own this rating, not the school board.

  4. Dave G
    February 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

    The School Board sets the priorities, the vision, and the goals for the School District. The Douglas County Board redefined the top priority from catering to the Union to delivering the best education possible to the students. This article is a measure of the success they have achieved. Thank you Douglas County Board of Education! Keep up the great work. The children ARE worth it!

  5. victoria
    September 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Dave you seriously need to spend a day in the district schools…As it is clear…you have not. Kudos Matt you’ve got this one and I love everyday I spend with you kids…In the classroom.

  6. Not Dave
    October 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Parent here. I love the teachers, hate DCSD. Such a top heavy group. Too little of the money gets to where it needs to go, to the schools. We have to buy paper. We have to pay extra for everything that was covered when I went to school. We have to pay to ride a bus. For as rich as Douglas County is and with as much as we pay in taxes, this is crap.

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