Distinguished Schools FAQ

Why are we identifying distinguished schools?
By identifying distinguished schools, DPS is able to honor and learn from those that perform exceptionally well according to multiple measures. The Distinguished School recognition program was established by the ProComp Agreement. ProComp teachers who work in Distinguished Schools may earn a bonus for their contributions to the school and student success. Teachers who work in a Distinguished School and who have opted-in to ProComp receive a bonus of $684.

How were schools selected?
This is the first time that Distinguished Schools have been identified since the implementation of ProComp, and these first awards were based on the 2005-2006 contract year. Schools were assessed on three metrics: Academic excellence, Beat the Odds, and Student Growth.

  • Academic Excellence recognizes any school that was identified as excellent by the state of Colorado and that had high rates of student attendance and parent satisfaction.
  • Beat the Odds identifies schools that that performed significantly better than predicted when compared to schools with similar percentages of free and reduced lunch students from around Denver and the state. 
  • Student Growth, a metric designed by the state of Colorado, identifies schools where the number of students continuously enrolled for one year, who demonstrated a significant improvement in performance, surpasses the number of students who did poorly in the same period of time.

Is the method for identifying Distinguished Schools going to remain the same next year?
Next year (2007-'08), the method for identifying Distinguished Schools will be modified so that it is aligned with the Denver Public Schools Accreditation Matrix and the Denver Plan Balanced Scorecard.

How is a teacher eligible?
To be eligible, a teacher must meet two criteria. First, they must have joined ProComp during the first opt-in window that was held during November and December 2005. Second, the teacher must have worked in the school during the 89 days of the 05-06 school year.
Are all ProComp participants in the Distinguished Schools eligible to receive the bonus this year?
Only teachers who joined ProComp during the first opt-in window in 2005 are eligible for the bonus. Teachers who joined ProComp for the 2006-2007 contract year are not eligible. (The opt-in window for 2006-2007 was held between February 1 and March 31, 2006.) ProComp participants who transferred or were hired into a Distinguished School in the 2006-2007 contract year are not eligible, either, because the current designation honors achievements measured for 2005-2006.

How can a school be rated by the state as "Low" or "Average" and still be designated a Distinguished School by DPS?
The Colorado school rating system looks primarily at student performance at a point in time, not how much students are learning. Under ProComp Denver recognizes buildings that out perform other schools around the state that have similar student demographics. DPS schools are also compared to schools in other districts where there are significant numbers of continuously enrolled students who show exceptionally high rates of learning on the CSAP. In this way DPS is able to recognize schools that are getting great results with the students they serve.