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Cougar Run Elementary recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School

HIGHLANDS RANCH – This week, Douglas County’s Cougar Run Elementary was one of 337 schools selected nationally as a 2014 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The award is recognition of overall academic excellence.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the announcement via livestream on September 30.


Cougar Run was named a Blue Ribbon School in the department’s Exemplary High Performing Schools category. The school was one of four Colorado schools to be honored this year and the only one in the Douglas County School District.

 Principal John Gutierrez says the award recognizes the collaborative efforts of the school’s staff, students and parents. 

“This is a huge honor for our school and for Douglas County Schools,” Gutierrez said. “It is a big celebration, acknowledging the collaboration within our school community and our focus on student achievement and growth. We are focused on continuous improvement at Cougar Run.”

“We care about what our students learn and who they become,” Gutierrez added.

“We want them to be quality contributors to our society and the Cougar Run community.”

Cougar Run will be among the 287 public and 50 private schools to be recognized by the Department of Education during a ceremony on Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C. 

About the Blue Ribbon Schools Program
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students either achieve very high learning standards or are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

LEARN MORE: 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools

The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 420 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The U.S. Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.

"These great schools are fulfilling the promise of American education—that all students, no matter their name or zip code, can flourish when schools provide safe, creative, and challenging learning environments," Secretary Duncan said. "National Blue Ribbon Schools are models of consistent excellence and a resource for other schools and districts. We celebrate them for their tireless effort and boundless creativity in reaching and teaching every student."

All schools are recognized in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state's highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school's subgroups and all students over the past five years. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are at high levels.

For the 2013-2014 award year, the Department focused specifically on strengthening the performance criteria of both categories around subgroups within a school and improving graduation rates for all students.

LEARN MORE: Watch the video about Cougar Run Elementary

October 1, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Elementary Education, Schools

District News

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DCSD is requesting parent input on the health and wellness of our students. Last year, DCSD received a large planning grant from Colorado Health Foundation in an effort to assess how the district supports students through the lens of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC). The mission of this grant is to review the current state of DCSD's student health and wellness program, and then formulate a three to five-year plan based on stakeholders’ needs, the latest research, and best practices. As part of this process, we would like your input.

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glowing purple lights hover over trays of seedlings in a dark room

It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.