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District and School Support


CDE wants districts and schools to be successful, which is why they are held accountable for performance. The state annually evaluates the performance of districts and schools on a set of consistent, objective measures. In addition, the state has various program accountability requirements, including those under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

While CDE values accountability, we also value support to help struggling districts and schools.

The District and School Performance Unit operates within the Colorado Department of Education to support districts and schools, to be able to demonstrate continual improvement in student achievement. The unit provides both universal and targeted support for districts in the state, depending on the level of support needed. Targeted technical assistance is provided to the lowest-performing districts and schools that receive performance ratings of Priority Improvement and Turnaround.

Theory of Action

If we...

  • foster key conditions and research-based turnaround principles...
  • diagnose and structure focused improvement planning...
  • align and differentiate, and leverage the allocation of all funds to ensure equity and maximize impact...
  • use select data and indicators to track and monitor progress...
  • actively support new and growing turnaround talent development programs...
  • pursue bold and urgent interventions and actions with schools and districts...


  • our lowest-performing districts and schools will become the highest-performing districts and schools as measured by the State Performance Frameworks.


CDE is committed to offering a range of supports to low-performing districts and schools.  Below you will find an overview of some different options that are available to schools identified through the emerging federal ESSA system [i.e., Comprehensive Schools (CS) or Targeted Schools (TS)] and/or through the existing state accountability system [i.e., Priority Improvement (PI) or Turnaround (T)].


New! Request for Information - School Redesign

Results from CDE’s 2018 School Redesign Request for Information (RFI)

In early 2018, CDE invited partners to join the state’s effort to transform low-performing schools and ensure that all students – regardless of where they live – have access to schools that prepare them for college and career. CDE requested information from providers willing and able to engage deeply with schools and districts across the state as partners of various scope and design. The following three types of partner organizations were encouraged to respond to the request for information (RFI):

  • Charter Networks, Charter Management Organizations and/or Individual Charter Schools that have a track record of success and are interested in operating additional schools in Colorado.
  • Turnaround Leadership Providers that operate leadership development programs specifically targeted for schools and districts in need of support.
  • Management partners or non-profit networks that have a track record of success and can engage with districts and schools in one or more of the 4 Domains for Rapid Improvement.

To view the results, please visit our Accountability Clock page.


Conditions for successful district and school improvement

School Conditions Rubric

  • Culture of Performance
  • Academic Systems
  • Talent Management
  • Operations

District Conditions Rubric

  • Culture of Performance
  • Academic Systems
  • Talent Management
  • Differentiation for Low-Performing Schools
  • Board and Community Relationships

More Information