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CDE Update

CDE Update Special Edition

Special Editions of the CDE Update

Read the latest: March 1

CDE Update

About the CDE Update

Welcome to the CDE Update! This e-publication will show you what is happening in key priority areas at CDE and include details on implementation, milestones, deadlines and resources.

This online format allows you to view everything or filter by category and date and will be your go-to source for all Update information.

Vaccines, tests and masks for schools

Visit the links below for the most recent information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center.

March 2021

Accountability, Performance and Support

What's Happening Now

UIP Timeline Transition

The State Board of Education is considering making the April 2021 UIP submission optional in response to the COVID-19 Stakeholder Implications Policy Group’s recommendation. Through an expedited process, the state board is scheduled to make a final vote on the April submission flexibility by its March 10-11 meeting. If the window is made optional, the new READ Act programming requirements still must be submitted by all districts no later than April for all districts regardless of biennial flexibility.  

Alternative Education Campus (AECs) Status Applications

Pre-populated data will be uploaded to Data Pipeline automatically for AECs that reapplied for designation for the 2021-22 school year. Schools that applied for AEC designation for the first time will also see this data in the system as long as they notified CDE by Jan. 29 of their plans to apply.

The AEC Renewal/Application collection must be submitted through the Data Pipeline system. Data will be available in Data Pipeline on Wednesday, March 10. To gain access to this system, your district’s local area manager should grant you permissions for the AEC~LEAAPPROVER role. More details about the collection are available at Please reach out to B Sanders with questions.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

  • March 10: Alternative Education Campus Application/Renewal Collection opens.
  • April 15: For schools and districts that have not already submitted UIPs this school year, plans are due for posting on SchoolView.

More Information

For more information on accountability and improvement, contact Rhonda Haniford, Associate Commissioner, 303‐866‐6202.


What's Happening Now

Reminder about Colorado parental excusal provisions

An additional challenge for districts this year is how to address parent excusals. While local education providers are responsible for developing their parent excusal policies, keep in mind that statute prohibits school districts from asking parents or guardians to “opt in” their students for state assessment participation. Additionally, districts may not “encourage the student’s parent to excuse the student from taking the state assessment.”

Assessment compliance for in-person instruction

Districts/schools should be planning to assess their students who are receiving in-person instruction, within state and local health and safety protocols. Consistent with state statute requirements, the assumption is that in-person students will test, with the exception of students whose parents have notified the district/school that they are excusing their student(s) from testing. 

Assessment for students receiving remote instruction

Parents who have chosen remote learning for the year have already indicated to some extent that they do not want their children in school buildings. Districts may assume, based on their precise local circumstances, whether these parents have essentially indicated a desire to excuse their students from all in-person activities, including assessment. While some traditional in-person activities are provided remotely, state testing cannot be.

Districts should nonetheless offer parents of remote learners an opportunity for their students to take the assessments and they must provide a safe opportunity to do so. 

Spring 2021 Assessment Requirements

On Feb. 19, House Bill 21-1125 was introduced. This bill, which is called the Suspend State Assessments in 2020-21 School Year, seeks to  suspend the spring 2021 CMAS assessments and their associated CoAlt assessments if allowed by federal law or by a waiver of federal law. It directs CDE to apply for a waiver from corresponding federal law requirements. This bill does not address PSAT/SAT or their corresponding CoAlt assessments. This bill is still in the early stages of consideration during the legislative process.

On Feb. 23, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) provided an update on assessment, accountability, and reporting requirements for the 2020-21 school year. Some of the main points are provided below:

  • The USDE invited accountability and school identification waivers. This stance on accountability appears to be consistent with many Coloradans’ perspectives, including educators, the State Board of Education and the legislature.
  • The USDE reiterated its position that parents, educators and the public must have access to data on student learning; therefore, all state and local report card requirements are being maintained, including those addressing disaggregation by student subgroup. Given the invited waivers previously mentioned, accountability reporting, including school ratings, are excluded from the requirements.
  • The USDE is not inviting “blanket” assessment waivers. The federal government indicated a willingness to work with states to address individual needs and conditions while “ensuring the maximum available statewide data to inform the targeting of resources and supports.” Flexibility options were again shared regarding shortened tests, remote administration, and lengthening of the testing window, potentially even into the fall. CDE explored the first two flexibilities with both state and national technical advisors and its vendors. In addition, those possibilities were raised by the COVID-19 Policy Implications Stakeholder Group last fall. Neither were determined to be feasible for Colorado. Taking into consideration district closing dates for SY21, CDE has already extended the testing window into May. While extending the window into summer or into the fall poses a number of challenges and burdens for students, parents, and educators and creates technical and logistical issues that are prohibitive, we will provide information to district assessment coordinators about how districts may request additional time for testing this school year should it be determined to be helpful.

As shared previously, testing should only occur when health and safety conditions allow. Parental decisions to excuse children from testing must be respected. This is consistent with messaging from the USDE stating that if there are places where students are unable to attend school safely in person because of the pandemic, it is not expected that students should be brought into school buildings solely to test.

While we understand the federal department’s communication is not what districts may have been hoping for, we encourage districts to continue to prepare for CMAS testing this spring. CDE will continue to monitor the status of state legislation and explore the invitation to submit an accountability waiver from the USDE.

CMAS Extended and Expanded Testing Windows

To provide schools and districts with additional scheduling flexibility, the CMAS and corresponding CoAlt official testing windows have been extended through May 14. Districts that requested a CMAS ELA and math extended window may begin testing as soon as Monday, March 22. Districts that requested an early high school science window may begin testing as early as Monday, March 29. Window start dates depend on the dates requested by districts. Verification of special test form assignments (e.g., text-to-speech) and online test session setup must be completed by assessment coordinators prior to testing.

Verification of CMAS and CoAlt Training in Districts

To confirm that all schools have completed spring assessment administration training, the CMAS and CoAlt Verification of District Training form is to be returned to the CDE Assessment Division prior to testing. The form requires a superintendent's signature and confirms that all individuals involved with assessment administration or handling secure materials have been trained and have signed a Colorado Security Agreement form for spring 2021.

CO School Day PSAT and SAT

District assessment coordinators should check with test coordinators to make sure they have scheduled their PSAT and SAT administration training with school staff. Test administration training for both the PSAT and the SAT are available to schools via pre-recorded training modules posted to the College Board’s online learning system. Test coordinators, back-up coordinators and SSD coordinators must complete online training by Wednesday, March 24. Test coordinators can train proctors by sharing the online proctor-specific online training module or by providing in-person training at their school. Regardless of training mode, proctors must complete the quiz available in the online module by April 7. 

For additional testing staff, including room and hall monitors, schools have the option of having them complete the online proctor training, or training them locally using the hall and room monitoring training slides available on the College Board’s Colorado website. Monitors must also have completed training by Wednesday, April 7.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Starting March 1: Districts finalize CMAS computer-based test preparation activities before testing

Through March 5: ACCESS for ELLs additional materials order window open

March 8: Districts may begin proctor caching CMAS math, ELA, and high school science content for computer-based testing

March 9: - Wave 1 - CMAS and CoAlt materials from initial orders scheduled to arrive in districts (materials for early and extended testing, assessment coordinator kits; test administrator manuals)

March 12: ACCESS for ELLs testing window closes

March 29: Districts may begin proctor caching CMAS elementary and middle school science content for computer-based testing

March 30: Wave 2 - CMAS and CoAlt materials from initial orders scheduled to arrive in districts (materials for regular window)

April 12– May 14: CMAS and CoAlt testing window (extended to offer flexibility)

April 13: CO SAT administration date

April 13-16: CO PSAT administration window (district selects test date within this window)

April 27: CO SAT makeup administration date

April 27-30: CO PSAT makeup administration window

May 18: Additional CO SAT makeup administration date

More Information

For more information, contact Joyce Zurkowski, chief assessment officer,, or visit

Educator Talent

What's Happening Now

New Fingerprint/Background Check Policy

In June 2020, Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) auditors informed CDE's Educator Licensing Unit that it was out of compliance with background history retention requirements, specifically when individuals submit fingerprints under the Educator Licensing Act but then do not submit a qualifying application in a timely manner.  As a result of the audit, CBI stipulated that effective Jan.1, Educator Licensing may retain background histories for a maximum of 30 days when no qualifying application or valid credential exists. If CDE does not receive an application within 30 days of receiving background history from an individual, that history will effectively "expire" and that individual will be required to pay for and submit another set of fingerprints for licensure purposes. 

Those who submit fingerprints for field experience/student teaching are excepted from this policy until they graduate, at which point the 30-day window opens. If an application is not submitted within 30 days of completion of their preparation program, (or if they do not already hold a valid substitute authorization, for example), they will be required to pay for and submit another set of fingerprints for licensure purposes.

Visit the Educator Licensing Fingerprint Requirements webpage for additional information. Specific inquiries can be sent to

District/BOCES teams invited to apply for free equity training

School districts and BOCES teams are invited to apply for a professional learning series, Equity for Teachers and Students: Investigating Systemic Racism to Act for Equity in Our Schools. This free, virtual training consists of three four-hour sessions intended for district/BOCES teams to dive deeper into issues of equity through the lens of race with the goal of helping school leaders create equity policies for all teachers and students. Applications are due Friday, March 19.

Visit the CDE Educator Talent news section for details including the application guidance and form.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information, contact Colleen O'Neil, associate commissioner of Educator Talent, 303-866-6945, or visit


What's Happening Now

Review U.S. Census Data

The U.S. Census Bureau has shared the results of the 2019 Census data with states and CDE has conducted a preliminary review of the data for the state and local educational agencies. The data from and an explanation of how to address any concerns in the data with the Census Bureau have been shared with each LEA’s federal programs contact listed on the ESEA Consolidated Application.

LEAs are urged to review the data in the Colorado Census 2019 file as soon as possible to determine if there are concerns or issues with the data for your LEA. Questions or concerns about the data for your LEA must be submitted to the U.S. Census Bureau by Monday, March 8. Information about the data sources and the methodology used to prepare these data is available on the U.S. Census website.

$3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was established in the recent consolidated appropriations and COVID-19 relief legislation to provide discounts of $50 per month on broadband service to eligible households, or $75 per month for households on tribal lands. The FCC is looking for stakeholders to help promote the outreach program. Stakeholders can sign up at and learn more about the EBBP.

Contact DeLilah Collins at with questions.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information, contact Mark Kirkemier, executive director of Federal Programs, at

Organizational Effectiveness

What's Happening Now

Report Card March  

The Report Card March collection is open from March 1 until April 10.

Alternative Education Campus (AEC) Application/Renewal and Planned Measures Collections   

The AEC renewal collection deadline is Friday, April 30. The Alternative Education Campus (AEC) Planned Measures Collections is due Wednesday, June 30.


  • The four-day school week application for 2021-22 is open. These applications must be submitted by Monday, May 10. 
  • Districts may also request school code changes for the 2021-22 school year. These requests must be made by Wednesday, June 30.

Teacher Student Data Link  

The teacher student data link (TSDL) interchange file is open as well as the teacher student data link (TSDL) snapshot. There is only one interchange file to be uploaded as the collection has been re-designed. The statewide standard course code (SSCC) system is no longer being used, instead all data will be uploaded as part of the one interchange file. For the 2020-21 school year, all districts are required to report TSDL data for students in grades six through 12 only.  With this school year being a reportable Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) year, it is advised to also report all computer science courses as well for the sixth through12th grade students as this subject is required for the CRDC file.  Additionally, all courses are required to be reported for eighth through 12th grade migrant students. The TSDL snapshot is open and is due Friday, Aug. 13

Designated Agency  

The 2020-21 Designated Agency data collection is now open in the Data Pipeline to enter 2020-21 candidates until Tuesday, Aug. 31


Districts can access their Migrant Student List through Data Pipeline. Monthly, LEAs can access a Cognos Report in Data Pipeline entitled “Migrant Student List,” which can be pulled by school year and district and is located under the “Student Profile” under the COGNOS reports tab. The district must have the STD LEAUSER or STD LEAVIEWER role to see the Student Profile folder in Cognos. The COGNOS Migrant List/Report has the following columns: SASID, Last Name, First Name, Birth Date, School Code, Migrant Arrival Date and Migrant End Date. The report can be downloaded into Excel and imported into the district’s Student Information System (SIS). Please ensure your district has uploaded a current Student School Association file (SSA) to receive the most up-to-date Migrant List. Should you have questions regarding your Migrant List, please reach out to your local Migrant Education Programs which can coordinate and deliver services to migrant students by accessing this link:

Student End of Year 

The 2020-21 End of Year snapshot is in a soft open phase. Business rules and documentation will continue to be updated through the spring.

What's on the Horizon

  • The READ (Reading to Ensure Academic Development) collection and budget submission process will open in April. 
  • Due to the extension of the ACCESS for ELLs test window, the ACCESS SBD review window, which was tentatively planned for mid- to late-March, will most likely occur in April instead.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

April 10: Report Card March due

More Information

For more information on data pipeline, contact Jan Petro, director of data services, 303-866-6838, or visit

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now

Standards and Instructional Support

Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Education Committee Seeks Feedback on Recommendations

The Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Education Committee seeks public feedback on recommendations to revisions to the social studies standards. Constituents interested in providing feedback can offer input in the survey, linked here.  The survey will close on Friday, March 5, at 11:59 p.m. For more information on the committee, view the committee webpage.

For more information, contact Stephanie Hartman

Preschool through Third Grade

READ Act Data Dashboard Update

The READ Act data dashboard has been updated with the most recently available data, including funding information and disaggregated results of students identified as having an SRD. The dashboard can be accessed at the following link. For more information about this dashboard, contact the Whitney Hutton at

2021-22 READ Budget Revisions and Data Collection

The window for the 2021-22 READ budget submissions and data collection opens on Thursday, April 1. Local education providers (LEPs) will be able to submit budget information until Wednesday, June 30, and information required in the data collection until Thursday, July 1.

As a reminder, the budget submission process requires a budget and narrative explanation of the LEP proposed uses of per-pupil intervention money in accordance with the described allowable uses. Additional information regarding READ budgets, and READ Act data collection can be found on their respective webpages: READ Act budget collection , READ Act Data Collection

For more information, contact Whitney Hutton at

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information contact, Floyd Cobb, executive director of Teaching and Learning,