Norwood Public School is ranked among the top of all public districts in Colorado. The state’s Department of Education recently released the accreditation ratings for all Colorado school districts for the 2018-19 school year. 

Based on a three-year average, Norwood is ranked No. 15 in the state; based on data from last year, Norwood is ranked fifth of 185 districts, scoring an 83 of 100 points in the state’s measurements.

Norwood Public Schools is also “Accredited with Distinction” for the second year in a row. This rating is the highest rating a district can receive and places NPS in the top 10 percent of all districts in the state of Colorado. 

The school’s board of education is no doubt happy about the most recent data. 

"The accomplishments of our school over the last four years have been phenomenal,” school board president Mike Morlang said. “The students, teachers, staff and administrators have done and continue to do an excellent job. I am confident that they will carry their success in to the future at Norwood Public Schools.”

Sara Rasmussen, the elementary principal, said she equated the district’s success to the use of local and state assessment data. That data was used to implement interventions to close learning gaps for students. 

In the elementary school, Norwood is also in its fourth year of an early literacy grant, which provides teachers with ongoing coaching and mentoring with regard to literacy.

“When we are intentional with our work students benefit,” Rasmussen said. “This is evidenced in our success under the early literacy grant.”  

And, Norwood is in its fourth year of another grant, the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) grant, which offers the school a framework for adopting initiatives and using implementation science. The grant aims to make sure staff are adequately supported when districts bring on new programs and initiatives.  

The school’s secondary principal, Perri Gipner, said the focus of the MTSS leadership team consists of various staff members and also one parent. She said the work has focused on improving school culture and climate, especially behavior. 

“We’ve done a lot of work around positive behavior interventions and supports for staff and students,” she said “We operate on the ideal that if we can predict it, we can prevent it by acknowledging the positive behavior we want students to exhibit.”

The school has also made social-emotional support for students a priority. Rick Williams, school guidance counselor, works with area service providers to ensure that students have access to mental health services, both on and off-campus. He has worked to establish partnerships with local non-profits, like the San Miguel Resource Center, to provide students with age-appropriate behavior support.

Norwood’s administration said they attribute the overall recent success of the school to the teaching and support staff. They said the Norwood team is willing to go above and beyond for every student. 

The administration also credits the school board for its support and willingness to prioritize the needs of Norwood students by funding the arts, providing access to everyday physical education in elementary, and maintaining the level of personnel needed to provide a high-quality education.