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Highly Effective School Library Program

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The focus of the Highly Effective School Library Program is two-fold:

  1. To provide leadership and guidance for K-12 educators as they strive to improve student achievement and prepare students for 21st century success by using the Highly Effective rubric as a guide and,
  2. To recognize outstanding school library programs and librarians.

Our overarching goal is that all schools will have highly-qualified teacher librarians and communities (parents, students, administrators, and fellow educators) who advocate for and understand that high levels of student achievement and 21st century success require an exemplary librarian and library program.


The program has an exciting new look and feel. To earn highly effective status principals and teacher librarians will need to complete five credentials, using the rubric as a guide. Upon completion, the school will be eligible to apply for the newly developed Distinguished School Library Program of the Year Award.





Teacher librarians collaborate with their principal to earn up to five credentials in the areas listed below. These forms are designed as a guide for principals and/or evaluators to determine when the teacher-librarian earns the credential.


Planning for the future is an essential role for a successful teacher librarian and library program. Annual review of school focus goals, library data and collaborative input from the school community is part of developing a plan of action for continuous quality improvement. Planning Credential Application

Instructional Specialist

The teacher librarians designs and implements lessons and assessments that meaningfully integrate 21st Century Learning Standards, Colorado Academic Standards, and digital literacy skills through direct instruction and collaboration with content teachers. Instructional Specialist Credential Application


As a leader the teacher librarian creates an environment in which collaboration and creative problem solving thrive. The teacher librarian influences staff and students to embrace a growth mindset by demonstrating lifelong learning in practice. Leadership Credential Application

Library Environment

The teacher librarian establishes a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.The school library space is open, warm welcoming, and flexibly designed to meet a wide variety of needs. It is a place for all that fosters learning and curiosity. Library Environment Credential Application

Library Management

The school library program is guided by thoughtful, professionally-driven policies that are adopted at the district level along with school-level procedures and practices to assure consistent operations, fair access to information, and open exchange of ideas in an appealing environment. Library Management Credential Application


Teacher librarians who earn all five credentials and highly effective status are eligible to apply for a new award. Only one school library program will earn this honor each year, to be recognized at a CDE State Board meeting. 



Highly Effective School Library Past Recipients



Contact Information

For more information about the Highly Effective School Library Program, contact:

Becky Russell, School Library / 21st Century Skills Instructional Specialist
Office: 303.866.6772

Casey Veatch, Digital Literacy Instructional Specialist
Office: 303.866.6922

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Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See also: Licensing Hours

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