KUSA - Within districts across the state, parents are trying to figure out where to send their kids to school next year. It's a tough decision. So, 9News has partnered with a free website to help parents find out how each school stacks up.
"People can go to the site and look at what a great school looks like," Kristina Saccone, spokesperson for ColoradoSchoolGrades.com, said. "Assess the school's performance."
ColoradoSchoolGrades.com has assigned a letter grade to every public school in the state to help parents see how each program performs academically.
"We're not doing something different than the state. We're just translating it into a letter a grade," Saccone said. "So, instead of saying that a school is on 'turnaround' or 'priority improvement'. We're saying that a school has an actual letter grade which we believe is much easier for parents to understand."
In Boulder, Horizons K-8 is a charter school that is one of eight schools tied with a ranking of number one out of 1009 elementary schools in Colorado.
"Our teachers are really dedicated," Sally Warren, Horizons K-8 teacher, said.
Warren teaches 4th and 5th graders together in a multi-age room.
"The older ones can really help us set up the community and the tone in the classroom. The respect for each other," Warren said.
Horizons is a program that doesn't use grades. Instead, teachers focus on thinking strategies and the idea of creating self-directed learning with students.
"So that they really know what they're learning, why they're learning it and where they are in that process," Warren said.
Principal John McCluskey says these ideals along with small classroom sizes really work for his program. He's is thankful the school received a top ranking.
"It really helps us refine. Get clear about our pedagogy and how we articulate that so that parents can really determine what's a good fit for my child," McCluskey said.
Saccone says these examples of great school listed on ColoradoSchoolGrades.com can help parents find good choices near where they live.
"Although, there are a few common aspects to great schools, there are also things that make these schools really unique," Saccone said.
She says ColoradoSchoolGrades.com can also help parents at struggling schools find ways to take action.
If you want to see which schools make the grade and which schools are not, click here: www.ColoradoSchoolGrades.com.
"To me, that's the hope of school choice is that we're deepening and expanding the conversation of what really works for young people," McCluskey said.
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