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The Colorado Board of Education recently approved a more difficult, rigorous rating system for schools in the state, which many believe will prompt a ratings decline for hundreds of schools. However, the Centennial State’s five best school districts perform so well that it’s unlikely that the ratings adjustment will affect them in a significant way. Let’s take a closer look at these five high-performing school districts. 

Lewis-Palmer School District #38 is the best school system in Colorado. Consisting of five elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools in El Paso County, LPSD exemplifies a well-rounded school district where extracurricular programs are just as important as academics. LPSD schools brought home multiple state championships in sports and other competitive activities during the 2018-2019 school year, while over 85% of the district’s graduates went on to a post-secondary education. 

Colorado’s 2nd best school district is Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, comprising nine schools in southwest Colorado Springs with a total enrollment of around 5,100. D12 students excel in academics, earning test scores which are some of the highest in the state, and like #1 LPSD, 85% of graduates went on to attend university. 

Placing 3rd is Weld RE-4 School District, encompassing eleven schools in the towns of Windsor and Severance.  Weld RE-4 boasts a graduation rate well above state and national averages.

Steamboat Springs School District Re-2 earns the 4th spot in the ranking. The district holds “Accredited with Distinction” status with the Colorado Department of Education and a number of its schools have received the prestigious John Irwin and Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Awards

Filling out the list of Colorado’s top five school systems is Summit School District, which serves over 3,500 students hailing from several mountain resort communities in Summit County. SSD boasts a favorable student-to-teacher ratio and a high graduation rate of 95%.

Top School Districts in Colorado, 2020

RankSchool DistrictCity
1Lewis-Palmer Consolidated School District No. 38 In The CoMonument
2Cheyenne Mountain School District No. 12 In The County Of EColorado Springs
3Weld County Reorganized School District No. Re-4Windsor
4Steamboat Springs School District No. Re 2Steamboat Springs
5Summit School District No. Re 1Frisco
6Delta County Joint District No. 50Delta
7Roaring Fork School District No. Re-1Glenwood Springs
8Weld County School District No. Re-2Eaton
9Weld County School District No. Re-7Kersey
10Montrose County School District Re-1JMontrose
11Telluride School District No. R-1Telluride
12Platte Canyon School District No. 1 Of The County Of ParkBailey
13Gunnison Watershed School District Re1JGunnison
14Durango School District No. 9-RDurango
15Weld County School District No. Re-5JMilliken
16East Grand School District No. 2Granby
17Meeker School District Re1Meeker
18Limon School District No. Re 4JLimon
19Eagle County School District No. Re 50Eagle
20Garfield School District No. Re-2Rifle
21Lone Star School District No. 101Otis
22Bayfield School District No. 10Jt-RBayfield
23Estes Park School District R-3Estes Park
24School District No. Re-3 Fort MorganFort Morgan
25School District No. Re-50 WigginsWiggins
26Kiowa County School District No. Re-1Eads
27Manitou Springs School District No. 14 In The County Of ElManitou Springs
28School District N. 14 In The County Of Adams & State Of ColoCommerce City
29School District No. Re-1 ValleySterling
30Peyton School District No. 23 In The County Of El Paso AndPeyton
31Woodland Park School District No. Re-2Woodland Park
32Strasburg School District 31JStrasburg
33Elizabeth School DistrictElizabeth
34Salida School District No. R-32Salida
35Gilpin County School District No. Re-1Black Hawk
36Clear Creek School District No. Re-1Idaho Springs
37Bennett School District No. 29JBennett
38North Conejos School District No. Re1JLa Jara
39Fremont Re-1Canon City
40Ridgway School District No. R-2 Of The County Of Ouray ARidgway
41Edison Joint District No. 54 Of The Counties Of El Paso AndYoder
42School District No. Re-2 BrushBrush
43Swink School District No. 33 In The County Of Otero And StSwink
44Buena Vista School District No. R-31Buena Vista
45Rocky Ford School District No. R2Rocky Ford
46Moffat County School District Re: No. 1Craig
47Weld County Reorganized School District No. Re-1Gilcrest
48Sanford School District No. 6 In The County Of Conejos AndSanford
49Rangely School District Re4Rangely
50Big Sandy School District No. 100JSimla
51Mcclave School District No. Re-2Mc Clave
52Del Norte Consolidated School District No. C-7Del Norte
53Sargent School District No. Re-33JMonte Vista
54Park County School District No. Re-2Fairplay
55Weld County School District No. Re-9Ault
56Custer County School District Consolidate 1Westcliffe
57Alamosa School District No. Re-11JAlamosa
58Weld County School District Re-3JKeenesburg
59Archuleta County School District No. 50 JtPagosa Springs
60Wray Rd-2 School DistrictWray
61South Routt School District No. Re 3Oak Creek
62Norwood School District No. R-2JNorwood
63Holyoke School District No. Re-1JHolyoke
64Ellicott School District No. 22 In The County Of El Paso AEllicott
65East Otero School District No. R1La Junta
66Hoehne Reorganized School District No. 3Hoehne
67Mancos School District Re-6Mancos
68Hayden School District No. Re 1Hayden
69Fremont Re-2Florence
70Cheyenne County School District No. Re-5Cheyenne Wells
71Trinidad School District 1 In The County Of Las Animas AndTrinidad
72Crowley County School District No. Re-1-JOrdway
73Huerfano School District Re-1Walsenburg
74Haxtun School District No. Re-2JHaxtun
75Calhan District No. Rj1Calhan
76Weld County Reorganized School District No. Re-8Fort Lupton
77Yuma 1 School DistrictYuma
78West Grand School District No. 1Kremmling
79Sangre De Cristo School District No. Re-22JMosca
80School District No. Re-3 FrenchmanFleming
81Dolores School District No. Re-4ADolores
82Karval School District No. Re 23Karval
83Fowler School District No. R4JFowler
84Grand Valley School District No. 16 In The County Of GarfiParachute
85Akron School District No. R-1Akron
86Montezuma-Cortez School District No. Re-1Cortez
87Lamar School District No. Re-2Lamar
88Holly School District No. Re-3Holly
89Center Consolidated School District No. 26 Jt. Of The CountCenter
90Vilas School District Re-5Vilas
91School District No. C-2 In The County Of Elbert And State OfKiowa
92Manzanola Joint District No. 3J Of The Counties Of Otero AManzanola
93Wiley School District No. Re-13 JtWiley
94West End School District No. Re-2Nucla
95Sheridan School District No. 2Englewood
96School District No. Re-20 Weldon ValleyWeldona
97Monte Vista School District No. C-8Monte Vista
98Ignacio School District No. 11JtIgnacio
99Elbert School District No. 200Elbert
100Burlington Public School District No. Re-6JBurlington

Methodology

The following variables contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, school funding per student, student to teacher ratio, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Math test, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Reading and Language test. Data from a total of 10,247 public school districts were used to compute a score for each school district. The following states were omitted due to lack of sufficient data: Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia. Note that high schools in some states have their own independent districts.

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