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News Release - Educator Licensure and Sample Curriculum Project

Sept. 12, 2012

State Board Discusses Educator Licensure and Sample Curriculum Project

The Colorado State Board of Education met for a regularly scheduled meeting. Highlights from the meeting include:

Research Presentation from The New Teacher Project

Berrick Abramson with The New Teacher Project presented highlights from a research report titled, “Making Licensure Matter.” This study was prompted by the need to develop recommendations for educator licensing that move the state toward its vision to have an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school. The project was funded by a grant from the Rose Community Foundation and represented a partnership of The New Teacher Project, Colorado Department of Education, and Colorado Department of Higher Education.

This study stems from analysis of other state models, reviews of other licensed professionals, and discussions with educators through more than 50 meetings across the state. The report centers on the concept that licensure should affirm the basic preparedness of new entrants and the competence of current practitioners.

Board members engaged in discussion and thought-provoking questions on the study which can be viewed at

Next steps include sharing the research report with educators to garner more input, gathering data on cost and capacity implications, and examining recommendations that might be accomplished through rule, policy or legislation.

Standards Implementation & Sample Curriculum Project

Staff provided an implementation update on the Colorado Academic Standards, focusing on the district sample curriculum project. Staff explained that grass-roots requests from rural superintendents and the Colorado Association of School Superintendents and Senior Administrators supplied the initial foundation and support for CDE to begin working with district leaders and curriculum experts to help them create sample district year-at-a-glance and unit overview templates that districts can use as optional tools when developing their standards-based curriculum. CDE plans to convene educators from across the state to develop a range of samples for each grade level in each of the content areas included in the Colorado Academic Standards. To date, 80 out of 178 districts have applied to participate in this work and 46 of 64 counties are represented. Districts with less than 6,000 students account for 37 percent of applicants.

The board discussed the project. Questions were raised about the appropriate role of the department regarding this work. Cautions were also provided regarding the investment of time and resources in this work given the significant implementation efforts underway across the state. Commissioner Hammond noted that these concerns would be taken into consideration as the department structures this work. Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.

Turnaround School and District Performance

Staff provided an overview of the three year history of districts falling into Turnaround and Priority Improvement accreditation categories. Three patterns of performance emerge when looking at the data:

  • Districts show a steady increase in the percentage of points earned on the performance frameworks over the past three years.
  • Districts show a steady decline or stable performance over the past three years.
  • Districts show inconsistent performance over the past three years.

The department discussed the various supports that will be provided to districts in these different categories, including in-field support, grants, cross unit alignment and internal support teams. The 2012 accreditation ratings will be final and released to the public in November. To view the presentation, click here.

Graduation Guidelines and Endorsed Diploma

Staff provided an update on the department’s efforts to develop graduation guidelines for the board’s review and consideration at the December state board meeting. Law requires the board to adopt a set of guidelines for high school graduation by May 2013. Currently still in draft form, three guiding principles provide the foundation for the state’s guidelines: 1) creation of a meaningful high school diploma; 2) student ownership – students should have early access to information about their education, be encouraged to take rigorous coursework, and understand how the coursework and experiences they select to participate in have implications for their career goals; and 3) flexibility –students should have multiple, equally rigorous pathways to meaningful post secondary education and careers. View more information.

In addition to developing graduation guidelines, statutory requirements call for the state board and Colorado Commission on Higher Education to jointly adopt high school diploma endorsement criteria indicating a student’s level of postsecondary and workforce readiness. View more information.

Reinventing Special Education

Staff presented data showing a higher than expected number of students with disabilities in the lower proficiency categories regardless of disability. CDE is taking a much closer look at why the gaps in performance are at this level and get to the root cause. There is a focus on how the state can really look at student outcomes as opposed to inputs. CDE is also using information from the strategic reforms to apply to this unique population. To do this work, CDE has developed a grant for districts to help students with disabilities accelerate skills in literacy and provide professional development to improve the capacity of special educators teaching reading. Ongoing work continues with special education experts to examine the achievement growth data, build on the sharing happening with schools and districts and connecting the work with federal officials to make improvements at the national level. View the presentation.

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