NewsCovering Colorado


New innovation plan to help Mitchell High School improve academic performance

D11 Mitchell High School
Posted at 5:51 PM, Apr 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-16 10:52:59-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — After four years of not meeting academic standards, Colorado's State Board of Education is giving Mitchell High School staff and students another chance to improve.

The State Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve an Innovation Plan that would help improve student outcomes.

"What the Innovation Plan does is align our practices at the site level and allow us flexibility, autonomy on making decisions about curriculum and programming, and how we're going to use the budget to not only attract talent with the student population, but professional talent," said George Smith, Principal of Mitchell High School.

Smith was brought in last year to help turnaround the school. He says the Innovation Plan is a key component to making that happen.

"We want to extend opportunities for non-traditional pathways such as career and technical education and have our traditional academic pathways as well. We are implementing a PRE-AP curriculum that's already been in place, we're going to continue that but also extend those non-traditional pathways for students interested in vocational maybe two year degrees rather than traditional four year university pathways," said Smith.

Smith says they've already seen progress in benchmark assessments and data. The Innovation Plan allows them until 2024 to continue.

"Keep the control in the district and site level," said Smith.

Low performing schools and districts typically have five years to improve ratings. Mitchell now has two additional years on the state's Accountability Clock to improve academic performance to prevent the State Board of Education from closing the school, conversion into a charter school, or an outside management agency taking it over.

"I've just seen a lot of focus and alignment for one mission, and I believe that if there wasn't a sense of urgency because of the Accountability clock. I don't think that would be present," said Smith.