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CDE Update

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About the CDE Update

Welcome to the new CDE Update! Each month, this snapshot will show you what is happening in key priority areas at CDE and include details on implementation, milestones, deadlines and resources. This new online format will allow you to view everything or filter by category and date and will be your go-to source for all Update information. The Update will also still be sent via email but in a condensed format.

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February 2017


In December 2015, former President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. States, including Colorado, are tasked with developing a state plan. 

Find more information on the continuing work of developing the state plan on CDE's ESSA webpage.

Subscribe to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) E-Newsletter - "ESSA in Colorado."

What's Happening Now

Public comment requested on Colorado’s ESSA draft plan in February

The Colorado Department of Education released the draft of its state plan for how it intends to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for public review and to collect feedback. The window for comment submissions will remain open until Friday, March 13. CDE also posted a draft of the state plan in Spanish and encourages members of the public to contact us at with any questions or requests related to accessibility. CDE invites you to read the letter from Commissioner Anthes on Colorado’s ESSA State Plan Development and release of the state plan draft prior to submitting your comments.

ESSA Hub Committee – February Meeting Review

The ESSA Hub Committee met Feb. 6 to consider recommendations from the Accountability and School Improvement Spoke Committees pertaining to those sections of the ESSA state plan. A description of the recommendations approved by the Hub in February can be found in the February 10 ESSA E-NewsletterPresentation and supporting materials can be found on the ESSA Hub Committee webpage.

 News from Washington, D.C.

On February 7, the Senate voted 51-50 to confirm Betsy DeVos as the new U.S. Secretary of Education. Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote. On the same day, the House of Representatives voted to do away with the Obama Administration’s proposed rules regarding ESSA accountability, reporting, and state plans. The Senate is expected to act on these rules soon.

As of now, the new administration has not given an indication of what they might do with the assessment and Accountability Assessment Demonstration Pilot rules created under Obama. In January, the Obama Administration withdrew proposed rules regarding supplement not supplant. In an email to Chief State School Officers on February 10, Secretary DeVos clarified that U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) would still accept state ESSA plan on April 3 and September 18, but that USDOE will review the existing state plan submission template to ensure that they require only descriptions, information, assurances, and other materials that are “absolutely necessary” for consideration of a consolidated State plan.  

For now, CDE and the ESSA committees will continue drafting Colorado’s plan based on what is in statute and what is good for Colorado with a goal of submitting the state plan in April.

What's on the Horizon

Hub Committee will meet in March

The Hub committee will meet 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday, March. 6, in the State Board of Education room, 201 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver. At its March meeting, the Hub committee will discuss the draft ESSA State Plan and comments received to date through the public comment process. Meetings are open to the public audio will be streamed live. Click on the "Listen Live!” button on the ESSA plan development webpage.

Plan to be submitted to feds in April

Colorado will submit an ESSA State Plan and Assurances document to the U.S. Department of Education in April.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

March 13 - Deadline to submit comments to ESSA draft

More Information

For more information, contact Patrick Chapman, executive director for federal programs, at 303-866-6780 or or visit

February 2017

Accountability, Performance and Support

What's Happening Now

School and District Performance Frameworks posted

The State Board of Education voted to approve the 2016 school plan types on Jan. 26. The 2016 District and School Performance Frameworks are now posted publicly on SchoolView

CDE's communications team has created a resource toolkit to help districts explain frameworks to parents and educators. Drop-in letters and a fact sheet can be found on CDE's website.

Alternative Education Campus status applications

Alternative Education Campuses (AECs) reapplying for the 2017-18 school year will receive their pre-populated renewal applications in February. Schools that would like to apply for an AEC designation for the first time should contact Melissa "B" Sanders at or 303-866-2865, accountability senior consultant, or call 303-866-2865, by Friday, Feb. 3. CDE's Accountability and Data Analysis Unit will create an AEC application template. Per HB16-1429, the high-risk percentage of students required for AEC status was lowered from 95 percent to 90 percent. Additionally, there were modifications to high-risk indicator definitions in that legislation. More details are available on the state accountability AEC webpage.

Unified Improvement Plan winter review process

CDE will complete its review of just over 200 Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs) throughout the winter for districts and schools required to submit. CDE uses the UIP Quality Criteria to guide the reviews. Feedback based on the UIP Quality Criteria (including program specific requirements) will be made available through the online UIP system as it becomes available.

What's on the Horizon

Unified Improvement Planning submissions dates

Every district and school must submit a revised/updated UIP by April 17. Note: districts and schools with a Performance plan type may submit plans biennially. If a small district (i.e., less than 1,000 students enrolled or between 1,000 and 1,200 students with approval from CDE) is interested in submitting a single, combined plan for the district and schools, email the UIP office at to get set up in the online system. More information regarding submission is available on the UIP webpage.

For questions contact Lisa Steffen at or call 303-866-6676.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

April 17: All school and district UIPs must be submitted to CDE for posting on SchoolView

More Information

For more information on accountability and improvement, contact Alyssa Pearson, associate commissioner of accountability, performance and support, 303-866-6855,, or visit


Assessments administered by the unit include summative content assessments, English language proficiency assessments, college/career ready assessments and alternate content assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are the state tests in English language arts, math, science and social studies that will be given to Colorado students in the 2016-17 academic year. The science and social studies tests were developed by Colorado, while the math and English language arts tests were developed in collaboration with other states through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC).

In 2017, Colorado will administer the Colorado PSAT 10 to 10th-graders and the Colorado SAT to 11th-graders.

What's Happening Now

ACCESS for ELLs Testing Window

The ACCESS for English language learners (ELL) testing window will close on Friday, Feb. 10.  

February CMAS Preparation Activities for District Assessment Coordinators

  • Districts/schools may begin setting up online CMAS testing sessions in PearsonAccessnext.
  • The online PearsonAccessnext training site is available for securely administering practice tests and testing technology setup prior to the first day of testing. District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) should work with technology coordinators to ensure technology readiness for online test sessions, including setup and access to proctor cached assessment content.
  • Depending on a district’s selected CMAS/CoAlt window, assessment materials may begin to arrive in late February.

What's on the Horizon


  • The official state window for all CMAS and CoAlt testing is April 10-28 (districts with approved early testing windows may begin testing as early as Monday, March 13).
  • Districts will receive testing materials for all schools two weeks prior to the testing window. Initial shipments are based on district verified information in PearsonAccessnext as of Friday, Jan. 27.
  • The CMAS and CoAlt Verification of District Training form is to be returned to CDE Assessment prior to testing (requires superintendent’s signature). This form verifies that all individuals involved with assessment administration or handling secure materials have been trained and have signed a Colorado Security Agreement form for spring 2017. 

Student Biographical Data Review Training Opportunities

Together with Information Management Service Unit, the Assessment Unit at CDE will provide two Student Biographical Data (SBD) Review training webinars at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 8. The webinars will introduce new data respondents to the SBD review process and will provide a quick refresher for experienced data respondents who have completed SBD reviews in previous years.

The ACCESS for ELLs SBD window begins on Monday, March 13 and will close on Friday, March 24. The remaining SBD windows will be in May and June.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Feb. 1: Online test session setup begins

Now – Feb. 12:  Window for students to add optional essay to their SAT registration

Feb. 27 - Mar. 27: Proctor caching test content begins

Feb. 27 – March 27: Districts will receive testing materials depending on the district’s CMAS and CoAlt window selection.

March 7: SBD training webinar

March 8: SBD training webinar (repeat of Mar. 7 training)

March 13 - 24:  SBD review window for the ACCESS for ELLs assessment

March 13: CMAS: ELA and Math expanded window opens for some schools testing online

March 27: CMAS: High School Science early (not expanded) window opens for some districts  

More Information

For more information on assessment, contact Joyce Zurkowski, executive director of assessment, 303-866-6929,, or visit

Educator Effectiveness

Classroom teaching and school leadership are the strongest school-based factors impacting student achievement. CDE supports the state’s 178 school districts to attract, prepare and assist great educators as a part of meeting the requirements of S.B.10-191, the Great Teachers and Leaders Act.

What's Happening Now

Educator Effectiveness Metrics Toolkit

As required by statute and State Board of Education rules, CDE must collect teacher and principal performance evaluation data and provide aggregated reports back to districts and the public. These reports are referred to as the Educator Effectiveness Metrics (EE Metrics).

On Monday, Feb. 6, CDE will release a limited number of EE Metrics, reflecting performance evaluation ratings from the 2014-15 school year (the time lag in reporting is due to the time it takes districts to complete and submit evaluation data to CDE). Superintendents have had access to all EE Metrics since December 2015.  The department will report on only four metrics for teachers and four for principals. The publicly reported metrics will show how teachers and principals are doing as a group at the school, district and state level. Protections are in place to maintain the privacy of individual teachers and principals.

To support districts in communicating with teachers and communities about the public release of the metrics and local results, CDE has created an Educator Effectiveness Metrics communications toolkit

The toolkit includes:

  • Template letter to educators
  • Template letter to parents/community
  • Instructions for how to access Educator Effectiveness Metrics for local districts and schools
  • Educator Effectiveness fact sheets
  • Educator Effectiveness Timeline

For questions about the Educator Effectiveness Metrics release or toolkit, contact Britt Wilkenfeld at or 303-866-6054.

Educator Effectiveness Leaders’ Retreat-Preparing for the End-of-Year Review

The next Educator Effectiveness Leaders’ Retreat will be from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Adams 12 Conference Center, 1500 E 128th Ave, Thornton. Optional one-on-one technical support is available from 2 - 3:30 p.m. Registration will close at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13. Register early as seating is limited.

Tentative Retreat Agenda
Preparing for the end-of-year review - ensuring quality supports for all educators with a special focus on Assessment Literacy

  • What makes a quality end-of-year review?
  • How can we learn from the past while planning for the future?
  • How can principals and/or evaluators establish a culture that embraces assessment literacy?
  • Exploration of CDE Assessment Literacy modules.
  • How can we use this to increase the effectiveness of our educators and evaluators?
  • District alike and role-alike round table discussions/problems of practice
    • Applying what we know: How can we apply our new learning and collaborate?
    • Exploring problems of practice
  • Optional Office Hours for one-on-one targeted support

Rubric Revision Process Update

What we’ve learned so far

Educator Effectiveness (EE) staff have begun to gather feedback on the proposed teacher rubric revisions. Feedback was first collected in rural communities in the east central part of the state, then the northwest region and the metro area. As the rubric revision process continues, focus group sessions will also be available in the west and south. View upcoming focus group sessions.

Provide feedback to revised draft Colorado teacher rubric

The Educator Effectiveness team has created an online revised Colorado teacher rubric feedback form to collect specific feedback on proposed changes to the rubric. The feedback form is intended for those that attended a focus group session and would like to provide feedback and for those that can't attend a focus group and would like to provide input. Provide feedback to revised draft Colorado teacher rubric.

What's on the Horizon

RANDA Data Patching-Service down Tuesday, Feb. 28

Human resources report: Many districts are in the process of finalizing their Human Resources Snapshot in Data Pipeline. The Colorado Performance Management System (COPMS) automatically calculates all of the educators ratings and puts them in a pre-formatted Excel file.

To access the report, one must have administrative privileges. Click on the purple reports tab, select exports, then select HR collection template. All educators, including teachers, principals and specialized service professionals (SSPs), will be included in this report.

For help on this feature or for more information regarding innovative ways to use charting and reporting features, please contact Sed Keller at or 720-666-2307.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information on Educator Effectiveness, contact Mary Bivens, director of educator development, 303-866-5926, or visit


In December 2015, former President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. States, including Colorado, are tasked with developing a state plan. 

Find more information on the continuing work of developing the state plan on CDE's ESSA webpage.

Subscribe to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) E-Newsletter - "ESSA in Colorado."

What's Happening Now

Public comment requested on Colorado’s ESSA draft plan in February

The draft plan, along with information on submitting feedback and notice for public comment, will be posted on the CDE ESSA Feedback webpage. The projected window for comment submissions is Friday, Feb. 10, until Friday, March 10.

Colorado will submit an ESSA state plan and assurances document to the U.S. Department of Education in April.

ESSA Hub Committee

January meetings review

The ESSA Hub Committee met Jan. 9 and heard presentations from the Title Programs and Assurances and Effective Instruction and Leadership Spoke committees. The Hub voted unanimously to approve and move forward with spoke recommendations to:

  • Continue to use existing definition for “inexperienced” (<3 years);
  • Distribute the 3 percent of Title I funds to school districts rather than retain at CDE to create Direct Student Services grants;
  • Maintain existing pre-designation and exit procedures (with applicable changes to redesignation/exit criteria based on ACCESS 2.0 and WIDA standard setting, when available);
  • Maintain existing entrance and identification procedures for English language learners (with applicable changes to identification criteria based on WIDA Screener when available);
  • Provide required ESSA Assurances (General, Title I and Title III);
  • Continue to satisfy the requirement for a plan to address equitable access to teachers by including it in the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP); and
  • Continue to use all schools when calculating teacher equity.

In addition, the Hub Committee majority adopted the recommendation to use the existing options for demonstrating subject matter competency under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for purposes of defining “out of field.”

January 19 meeting review

The ESSA Hub Committee met on Jan. 19 and heard presentations from the Accountability and School Improvement Spoke committees. The Hub voted unanimously to approve and move forward with spoke recommendations. A list of recommendations and supporting materials can be found on the Hub committee webpage.

Presentation and supporting materials can be found on the ESSA Hub Committee webpage.

Hub Committee adds March meeting and will meet once this month

The Hub committee will meet 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6, in the State Board of Education room, 201 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver.

At the Jan. 19 meeting, the Hub Committee agreed to meet again on Monday, March 6.

Meetings are open to the public audio will be streamed live. Click on the "Listen Live!” button on the ESSA plan development webpage.

ESSA Guidance and Regulations from the U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education recently released guidance on:

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

March 10 - Deadline to submit comments to ESSA draft

More Information

For more information, contact Patrick Chapman, executive director for federal programs, at 303-866-6780 or or visit

Organizational Effectiveness

There are important due dates for the December Count and Human Resources collections this month. The deadline of Wednesday, March 1, has been set for local education agencies to post FY 2015-16 financial data files on their website to be used in the financial transparency public website view. 

What's Happening Now

Special Education December Count

Thursday, Feb. 9, is the date by which administrative units must resolve all duplicates and recreate a snapshot that reflects these duplicate data changes. The deadline is Thursday, Feb. 16, and all final reports must be signed and submitted.

Human Resources

There is a recommended Thursday, Feb. 2,  deadline to have a complete (error-free) Human Resources snapshot. The final due date is Thursday, Feb. 16.

Districts, BOCES required to input financial data

All school districts and BOCES are required to post their Fiscal Year 2015-16 financial data on their website no later than Wednesday, March 1. This data will be used by the contracted company, BrightBytes, to create a public website view that will contain charts and graphics and will be understandable to laypeople. The website, which will go live on July 1, also will allow for comparisons between schools and districts.

Starting Wednesday, Feb. 1, districts and BOCES that have posted their data will be able to access a data approval tool, allowing them to verify data as accurate, view how their data will be displayed and compose a narrative around their data. BrightBytes has begun to reach out to business officials in districts and BOCES to ensure that the FY 2015-16 data is posted and to provide information about upcoming webinars specific to the BrightBytes data approval process.  

View a fact sheet about the financial transparency requirements.

For more information, contact Adam Williams, financial data coordinator, at or 303-866-6843.


Teacher Student Data Link /Statewide Standard Course Codes

The 2016-17 Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL) interchange files are now open for submission. Districts are being encouraged to submit their statewide standard course codes (SSCC) as soon as possible since the TSDL snapshot opens Wednesday, Feb. 1.

End of Year

2016-17 End of Year snapshots may be taken beginning in mid-February.

What's on the Horizon

The Access for English language learners' student biographical data will be conducted in March. Report Card March will open early next month as well.

Upcoming webinar on financial transparency website scheduled

The financial transparency public website view will go live on July 1. Starting in March, appropriate district and BOCES staff are encouraged to attend a webinar focusing on: 

  • Better understanding how FY2015-16 financial data will be presented on the website view
  • Strategies and tips for how to craft a data narrative
  • Help developing communication strategies in preparation for the launch

Register for a webinar.

For a guide on basic considerations, including requirements, view this fact sheet.

For more information, contact executive director of school finance and operations Jennifer Okes at 303-866-2996 or or visit the financial transparency webpage.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Feb. 16:  Special Education December Count deadline

Feb. 16:  Human Resources due date

March 1:  Date local education agencies must post FY 2015-16 financial data on their financial transparency webpage

More Information

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

Postsecondary Readiness

What's Happening Now

P-TECH Training Webinar Recording

A Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) training webinar recording has been posted to the CDE website. Local education agencies, community colleges and local high-growth industry employers interested in learning more about applying to operate a P-TECH school are invited to view the webinar recording.

For more information, contact Mary Anne Hunter, Postsecondary Pathways coordinator at 303-866-6596 or

ASCENT requests for participation

Wednesday, Feb. 1, is the deadline for local education providers to submit to CDE an estimate of the number of students in their district or charter school who seek to participate in the Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment Program (ASCENT) during the 2017-18 school year. Fill out the ASCENT request form.

Final student participation numbers along with other required documents will be due to CDE by May 1. ASCENT information and materials are now available on the ASCENT webpage.

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 Misti Ruthven, director of postsecondary readiness, 303-866-6206, or visit

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now


Participation in CDE’s Online Standards Review System encouraged

As CDE continues to prepare for the upcoming standards review and revision process, the department is seeking feedback on the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS). The feedback will be provided to the committees that will recommend revisions for State Board of Education consideration. Please encourage participation in the review system from staff and community. Access the online standards feedback system.

The standards review and revision process is required by Senate Bill 08-212, known as Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K). The law requires a review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards on or before July 1, 2018, and every six years thereafter. 

Standards perception survey results available:

The results from the Standards Perception Survey that CDE conducted in the fall are now available for public review. There were 2,833 participants in the survey. Access the survey results on the CAS Review webpage.

Participate in Colorado English Language Proficiency standards survey

To augment the standards perception survey, CDE is administering a survey specific to the Colorado English Language Proficiency (CELP) Standards. The survey is now open and available for responses through Tuesday, Feb. 28.

A link to the CELP survey can also be found on the standards review and revision webpage.

Stay Informed on the Standards Review and Revision Process

Starting in February, CDE will host a monthly information webinar to keep educators and other stakeholders informed of the standards review and revision process. For a list of topics and information about how to participate, visit the news section of the CAS Review and Revision Process webpage

For more information about the standards revision process, contact Karol Gates, director of standards and instructional support, at 303-866-6576, or visit CDE's Colorado Academic Standards webpage.

Early Learning and School Readiness

Kindergarten school readiness data reporting

CAP4K requires the annual reporting of the kindergarten levels of school readiness. The first data collection is anticipated in the fall of the 2017-18 school year.   

Over the past few months, CDE has worked with a representative sample of districts to pilot a data collection and reporting process that districts will use. In late February, the department will present more details on the data collection process through its distributions of The Scoop and the CDE Update as well as Data Pipeline town hall meetings and an informational webinar. A kindergarten school readiness data reporting fact sheet (PDF) is available for districts to review on the School Readiness webpage.

For more information about the School Readiness Initiative, contact Emily Kielmeyer, kindergarten school readiness program manager, at 720-822-0640 or

The Reading To Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act

Encourage submissions of reading programs for review

Previously, CDE has conducted three reviews of instructional programming pursuant to the READ Act. CDE's Office of Literacy is soliciting requests for information from publishers of instructional programming in reading (core, supplemental and intervention) for inclusion on its advisory list. Districts are encouraged to let CDE know of publishers they use so lists can be updated this March.  

For more information on the READ Advisory Lists, contact Marisa Calzadillas, literacy project coordinator, at, 303-866-6189 or visit CDE's advisory lists webpage.

Learn about changes to the READ Act data collection

In the spring, CDE will implement a budget planning and reporting requirement from the READ Act. The READ Act requires districts to provide the department with a plan for how they intend to use funds prior to receiving any (section 22-7-1210(5)(c) C.R.S.). For districts intending to use READ funds for summer school or intervention services, information related to how the programs are based on scientific or evidenced-based research is necessary. The Office of Literacy will host an informational webinar at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, to support school districts preparing for the implementation of new budget planning and reporting requirements for the 2017 READ collection. District leads are encouraged to attend. Participate in the webinar via Adobe Connect at the scheduled time and date.

For more information on the READ budget reporting requirements, contact Whitney Westgaard, literacy data analyst, at or 303-866-6421, or visit the READ data collection webpage.

For more general information about the READ Act, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, 303-866-6016, or visit the Colorado READ Act webpage . 

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 about Teaching and Learning, contact Melissa Colsman, associate commissioner of student learning, 303-866-6737, or visit

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