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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

On February 9 the PACE Center hosted Portfolio Day for students like Sladovnik. It was an opportunity for critiques from working professional artists, and workshops. It culminates in the "Bright Futures" art exhibit - a showcase of selected work on display February 16-27.

Last month, the Board of Education passed a resolution tasking the Superintendent to convene a task force inclusive of members of the general public and staff members. This task force will develop a survey for parents of students eligible for special education services and a survey for staff members who serve students eligible for special education services.

Board members sitting at the dais

CASTLE ROCK - On February 6, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education confirmed its commitment to begin the process of seeking approval from voters for additional local funding.

“Our children need a bond and mill levy override (MLO) to be passed in 2018, beyond any doubt,” said DCSD Board of Education President David Ray. “We want to move forward immediately with the necessary processes and collaboration with our community in order to finalize a formal funding package.”