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Priority Improvement and Turnaround Support

Targeted Support


For districts assigned with Priority Improvement or Turnaround plans, CDE provides a variety of supports. The department focuses on a partnership approach to identifying the best solutions to strengthen school and district performance:

  • CDE assigns a dedicated Turnaround Support Manager to serve as the point person between the district and CDE. It is the goal of the office to establish and maintain partnerships with districts over a period of multiple years.
  • Technical assistance may include:
    • the analysis of performance data
    • the design of Unified Improvement Plans
    • academic-performance diagnostic reviews
    • training to districts with academic performance challenges in their schools, as well as to higher performing districts to ensure successful implementation of performance objectives toward improving academic growth, achievement, closing the achievement gaps and enhancing postsecondary/workforce readiness.
  • The Turnaround Support Manager will work through the Superintendent and may work with other district leaders, as well as identified school leaders.


For schools assigned with Priority Improvement or Turnaround plans, CDE seeks to prioritize and offer limited targeted support in conjunction with the school’s district, regardless of the accreditation rating of the district.

  • CDE seeks to support low performing schools through providing technical assistance to school leaders and through building capacity within districts to support their low performing schools.
  • For identified schools, the Turnaround Support Manager or Field Services Manager will work through the Superintendent in collaboration with the school leader.

CDE encourages the use of third-party diagnostic reviews for districts and schools, in order to identify challenges, prioritize, and plan for dramatic change. CDE will determine eligibility lists for funding for such reviews and will facilitate their implementation. CDE has revised the district and school standards and indicators for successful practices - these will be used in the diagnostic reviews.

Additional Resources

Turnarounds in Colorado: Partnering for Innovative Reform in a Local Control State  

This article discusses Colorado's ability to effectively implement successful schools and district turnarounds. The report was written by the Center for Education Policy Analysis at the Buechner Institute for Governance in the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver and in partnership with the Center of Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington.

Resource: Engaging External Service Providers (PDF)

CDE developed this resource guide to support schools and districts that engage external service providers as part of their school improvement process. Regardless of whether services are purchased with grant funds or per pupil revenue, spending public money requires the highest level of transparency and prudent decision-making when it comes to purchasing processes. This guide is designed to inform best practice when it comes to identifying potential providers, issuing a request for proposal based on identified needs, evaluating potential providers and their proposals, contracting with an external provider, and evaluating and monitoring the provider's ongoing performance.