Willow Creek's Accreditation Status:
Accredited with Performance Plan
"Accredited with Performance Plan" is the highest category of school accreditation in Colorado; it indicates that the school meets or exceeds state performance targets.
Willow Creek has long been recognized for outstanding academic achievement. The John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award has been conferred annually since 2001 to the top 8% of Colorado schools, and Willow Creek has attained this prestigious award almost every year since its inception.
In addition, Willow Creek has received the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award three times, in 1999, 2006, and 2018. Only a handful of schools in Colorado receive this recognition each year; we are one of the few schools in Colorado to receive this award more than once.
Click here to download Willow Creek's most recent School Performance Framework report. Note that the last page is a key to understanding how CDE translates the data into points earned.
What is Accreditation?
School accreditation is the process of ensuring that an institution meets certain standards of excellence. In 2009, the Colorado Legislature merged accreditation with the accountability process that holds public schools accountable to parents and taxpayers. Accountability committees — which are composed of school staff, parents, and community members — work to continuously improve the performance of a school and are required to submit a plan for improvement to the state each year. Thus, Willow Creek's accreditation status mentions that the plan we provide is a "performance" plan (as opposed to an improvement plan) in recognition of our already high achievement and growth.
A major change in the performance standards used to measure schools was also made in 2009. Schools are now rewarded for making growth as well as for meeting achievement targets, and factors such as closing the achievement gap have been included in the performance framework. The Colorado Growth Model, a revolutionary way to judge school performance, is the foundation of the new accreditation standards. The Colorado Department of Education's SchoolVIEW website provides the public with access to the data about school performance in both achievement and growth. To celebrate those schools that achieve unusually high growth, CDE recognizes them with the Governor's Distinguished Improvement Award. Willow Creek won this award in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
To learn more about Willow Creek's Accountability Committee or to join, please see our Accountability webpage.
For more information about accreditation in Colorado, please see the Colorado Department of Education's Accountability webpage.
To view the performance frameworks report that our accreditation status is based on, please see the Colorado Department of Education's SchoolVIEW Performance webpage. Once you are on the page, choose our district in the leftmost column (0130 - Cherry Creek 5), and then our school in the middle column (9624 - Willow Creek Elementary School). You may then select the file you wish to view in the rightmost column, either a School Performance Framework (SPF) report or our current Improvement Plan. Underneath the columns you will find resources that will help you understand the reports.
To use the interactive graphic display of school and district performance, go to the SchoolVIEW Growth Model webpage and then click the "View Data" button. You will be able to choose the districts and schools that you wish to look at.
For more information about the John Irwin Award, see the Colorado Department of Education's John Irwin webpage.
For more information about the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, visit the U.S. Department of Education webpage for the Blue Ribbon.