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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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August 2016

Accountability, Performance and Support

CDE supports schools and districts in the continuous improvement process through its focus on implementing quality school and district support systems, accountability measures, improvement plans, federal programs and data analysis.

What's Happening Now

Resuming School and District Accountability and Request to Reconsider in 2016-17

While the state legislature directed an accountability hold in 2015, in 2016 the accountability clock will resume, district accreditation ratings and school plan types will be assigned, and the request to reconsider process will occur again. CDE staff will be available to assist schools and districts with the request to reconsider process this summer and fall. Exact dates have not yet been finalized for the request to reconsider process. However, if a district would like assistance reviewing any local data in the meantime, please contact Jessica Knevals at or 303-866-6778.

ACCESS Student Growth Percentiles - Update

The Accountability & Data Analysis unit is examining the first year administration of ACCESS 2.0's impact on ACCESS student growth percentiles. The results of these analyses, along with feedback from the Technical Advisory Panel for Longitudinal Growth (TAP), are currently being analyzed to determine the appropriateness of releasing and using the obtained growth percentiles. If the ACCESS growth percentiles are determined appropriate for use they will be included within the performance frameworks this year. Our goal is to ensure valid and meaningful growth percentiles for use in accountability determinations. CDE will provide additional information and updates to superintendents and accountability contacts, as available.

Accountability and Family Partnership Contacts Reminder

An email request was sent to superintendents with a link to update Accountability and Family Partnership Contacts by July 20. We know that with transitions of staff, there may still be district contacts that need to be updated. If so, superintendents should submit updated contact information as soon as possible. Contact Kelly Stritzinger at or 303-866-6108 for any questions.

Preliminary Pre‐Populated Unified Improvement Plans

Beginning in 2016-17, all districts and schools will be expected to use the online Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) system -- the MS Word template will no longer be available. Please contact the improvement planning office right away if the transition to the online system will create issues.

UIPs can be accessed through the Identity Management System once the district Local Access Manager (LAM) has assigned the appropriate user role. More information is available on CDE's UIP page. For questions, contact Lisa Steffen at or 303-866-6676.

What's on the Horizon

Preliminary Framework Release

The preliminary school and district performance frameworks are expected to be available to districts by the end of September. Timelines for the request to reconsider process and final framework release will be adjusted accordingly.

Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) Fall Trainings

With the expectation that UIP’s are to be completed in the online system, CDE is offering training sessions on the online system. For additional details on sessions and dates, visit the web page. For questions, contact Erin Loften at or 303-866-6642.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information, contact Alyssa Pearson, interim associate commissioner for Accountability, Performance and Support at 303-866-6855 or


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 state tests in English language arts, math, science and social studies. 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 2016, Colorado administered the PSAT to 10th-graders and the ACT to 11th-graders. In 2017, the SAT will replace the ACT as the state provided college entrance exam.  

What's Happening Now

Public Release of Assessment Results 

Statewide assessment and participation results are scheduled to be made publicly available during the State Board of Education meeting on August 11 in Grand Junction.  All CMAS and CoAlt results (including science, social studies, English language arts and mathematics) are embargoed and must not be publicly disseminated, distributed or published by any means prior to that time; however, districts and schools may use aggregated and individual student level results internally for informational and planning purposes.  CMAS: PARCC ELA and mathematics school and district level results will NOT be part of the public release and will remain embargoed until later in August. Additional information will be provided when available.

The following assessment results will be released publicly on Aug. 11:

  • State-level overall and subgroup CMAS and CoAlt results (including science, social studies, English language arts and mathematics)
  • District- and school-level overall CMAS and CoAlt science results
  • Colorado ACT state-, district- and school-level summary results
  • Colorado PSAT state-, district- and school-level summary results

CMAS and CoAlt Results Timeline

CMAS and CoAlt: Science and Social Studies

All CMAS and CoAlt science and social studies data files and electronic reports have been posted to PearsonAccessnext.  Paper student performance reports have been distributed to districts. 

CMAS: PARCC English Language Arts and Mathematics - tentative

  • Early July: Preliminary student-level data files with scores for students who took online assessments were made available to districts.
  • End of July/Beginning of August: Final student-level data files will be made available to districts in PearsonAccessnext.
  • Mid-August: Consortium-produced electronic district and school reports, as well as Student Performance Reports will be available in PearsonAccessnext.
  • By end of August: Hard copy Student Performance Reports will arrive in districts.

Colorado Spanish Language Arts (CSLA) Results Timeline– tentative

  • End of July/Beginning of August: Student-level data files will be made available to districts in PearsonAccessnext.
  • Mid-August: Electronic district and school reports, as well as Student Performance Reports, will be made available in PearsonAccessnext.
  • By end of August: Hard copy Student Performance Reports will arrive in districts.

CoAlt: DLM English Language Arts and Mathematics – tentative

  • End of July/Beginning of August: Final student-level data files will be made available to districts.
  • By end of August: Electronic Student Performance Reports will be made available to districts.


Back-to-School Toolkit

To help districts and schools communicate with parents about the CMAS test results, CDE’s communications division has created a Back-to-School Toolkit with materials on what to expect for state tests this year, understanding the CMAS: PARCC scores, how the scores are used and how to use scores to support your student. These materials are designed to be flexible – you can use them as is or copy and paste the pieces that are most useful to you into your own branded materials. Additional template materials will be added as we get closer to the score release. View the materials here


Educator Meetings for CMAS Assessment Development and Review

The assessment office is often asked how educators who administer the assessments can influence test development. The best way to directly influence the content of the assessments is through participation in the variety of educator meetings that are held throughout the development cycle.

The next upcoming Educator meetings are included below:

  • Aug. 10-12:  CMAS: Science and Social Studies Data Review
  • Sep. 27: CSLA Data Review

For more information on educator meetings, contact the following individuals:

What's on the Horizon

Tentative 2017 Spring Assessment Testing Windows

Colorado's state testing window for all spring 2017 CMAS and alternate assessments will be April 10-28. Paper-based testing in all content areas, as well as online testing of social studies and science, must be scheduled and completed during this window. Districts testing online that will need more time to complete testing due to limited device availability may begin administering English language arts and mathematics tests earlier. The maximum test window for these tests will be six weeks.

The 2017 test window for ACCESS for ELLs will be Jan. 9 - Feb. 10.

The 2017 initial test date for the SAT will be April 11.

Districts will have a choice of either April 11 or April 12 as the initial test date for the PSAT 10.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Aug. 11: Embargo lifted on state level CMAS results (including science, social studies, English language arts and mathematics)

Aug. 11: Embargo lifted on district and school level CMAS science and social studies results (district- and school-level English language arts and mathematics results will remain embargoed until a later date in August)

Aug. 25: DAC Kick-Off Webinar

More Information

For more information on assessment, contact Joyce Zurkowski, executive director of Assessment, 303-866-6760,, 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 support great educators as a part of meeting the requirements of S.B.10-191, the Great Teachers and Leaders Act.

What's Happening Now

2016-17 School Year Educator Effectiveness Orientation Training Materials

  • The 2016 Orientation PowerPoint will provide schools and districts with all the information needed to share with staff about the changes to the Colorado State Model Evaluation System for the 2016-17 school year. 
  • 2016 Orientation Webinar is an additional support for your use in reviewing the PowerPoint provided above.

For a full list of training resources and tools, click here

Opportunities for differentiation in the State Model Evaluation System: Guiding questions and district examples

As implementation of the Great Teachers and Leaders Act or Senate Bill 10‐191 continues, the Educator Effectiveness Unit, in response to feedback from the field, created a document to highlight the given flexibilities within the legislation and State Board of Education rules. This document outlines legislative requirement language, guiding questions for districts to ask and reflect on their current evaluation system and implementation examples from districts across the state.

To provide feedback on this document, please email Courtney Cabrera at or call 303-866-2332.

Evaluation Cycle 2.0

To support districts and BOCES as they begin planning for the next school year, the Educator Effectiveness Unit created a graphic that organizes the steps of the evaluation process to clarify when key connections should be made between the educator and evaluator. Most importantly, this tool outlines ongoing activities during the evaluation process to ensure continuous improvement.

Measures of Student Learning: Local Examples and Analysis from the Field

The purpose of this document is to highlight examples of specific measures used by districts/BOCES for the Measures of Student Learning (MSL) portion of educator evaluations. These examples were gathered from participants and utilized in a gallery walk activity during the January 2016 EE Leaders’ Retreat. The Educator Effectiveness Unit has compiled these examples, and the corresponding analysis, in response to feedback from the field that example of  measures of student learning would be beneficial as districts/BOCES continue to revisit and modify their MSL systems.

Specialized Service Professional Practical Ideas Guide

A set of practical ideas guides were developed by practitioners for practitioners to provide additional guidance when using the Colorado State Model Specialized Service Professional Rubrics for the following professional groups:

  • School Counselors
  • School Nurses
  • School Psychologists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists

These guides are intended to help specialized service professionals and their evaluators understand the varying roles of each professional group while maximizing the flexibility options built into the system to ensure that they receive a rigorous, fair and valid evaluation. To view all of the guides, click here.

The Educator Effectiveness unit will be collecting on-going feedback to improve these guides. To submit feedback on any of the Specialized Service Professional Practical Ideas Guides, contact Courtney Cabrera at or 303-866-2332.

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 on Educator Effectiveness, contact Dawn Pare, director of Educator Effectiveness, 303-866-5926, or visit


In December of 2015, President Obama signed into law the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The title of the reauthorized legislation, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). States, including Colorado, are tasked with developing a state plan.  As the first stage of the state's ESSA listening tour winds down, the Colorado Department of Education is shifting its focus to developing a draft of the state's ESSA plan and the committee, vetting, and continued stakeholder engagement work that will support it. 

For more information on the continuing work of developing Colorado's ESSA State Plan, click here.

What's Happening Now

ESSA Hub Committee membership finalized

Under the guidance of the State Board of Education, the Colorado Department of Education has been working to finalize membership for the ESSA Hub Committee, which will have an oversight role in the development of a draft of the state's ESSA plan to be submitted to the State Board of Education in early 2017. The goal of the committee is to review and revise the drafts of the ESSA plans to reflect a final consensus of the ESSA committees and constituency groups in alignment with the vision of the state board.

As of August 1, the ESSA Hub Committee membership consists of:

  • Steve Durham and Angelika Schroeder (State Board of Education)
  • Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Rep. Jim Wilson (State Legislature)
  • Evy Valencia (Governor's Office)
  • Ken DeLay (Colorado Association of School Boards)
  • Lisa Escarcega (Colorado Association of School Executives)
  • Linda Barker (Colorado Education Association)
  • Don Anderson (Colorado BOCES Association)
  • Diane Duffy (Colorado Department of Higher Education)
  • Jesus Escarcega (Colorado ESEA Committee of Practitioners)
  • Jim Earley (Parent)
  • Ross Izard (Independence Institute)
  • Luke Ragland (Colorado Succeeds)
  • Jeani Frickey Saito (Stand for Children)
  • Kirk Banghart (Moffat School District, President of Rural Alliance)
  • Dan Schaller (League of Charter Schools)
  • Ernest House, Jr. (Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs)
  • Sean Bradley (Urban League of Metropolitan Denver)
  • Carolyn Gray (Goal Academy)

The schedule of ESSA Hub Committee meetings for 2016 is as follows (subject to change):

  • Aug. 8
  • Sept. 12
  • Oct. 10
  • Nov. 14
  • Dec. 12

Each meeting will begin at noon and end at 4 p.m. The first meeting will take place at 1560 Broadway, Suite 1900. All other meetings are expected to take place in the State Board of Education meeting room at the Colorado Department of Education, 201 E. Colfax Ave., Denver.

CDE provides feedback on proposed ESSA rules

Colorado Department of Education recently submitted comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Accountability and State Plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  In a July 27 letter sent to U.S. Education Secretary John King, Colorado’s interim education Commissioner Katy Anthes said that while the state appreciates the flexibility afforded to states in the ESSA statute, there is concern that some of the proposed rules could impede Colorado’s “ability to develop and implement a plan that is in the best interest of Colorado students, families, schools and LEAs.”

Anthes’ letter can be viewed here. And CDE’s comments on the proposed accountability and state plans can be viewed here.

For more information, please contact Pat Chapman at Federal Programs at 303-866-6780 or


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 Jessica Hollingshead, executive director of support for Federal Programs, at 303-866-5061 or or visit

Organizational Effectiveness

Data Pipeline is a streamlined approach to efficiently move required education information from school districts to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). Data Pipeline reduces data redundancy, captures closer to real-time data, streamlines the data collection process and allows districts to exchange information on transferred students. 

What's Happening Now

Record Integration Tracking System (RITS)

In anticipation of the 2016-17 school year, please continue to submit newly enrolled student information to the Record Integration Tracking System (RITS) so State Assigned Student ID Numbers (SASIDS) may be generated expeditiously. Mark students as non-attending over the summer and then change their status to attending once the school year begins. Early submissions help the October student count process to be more efficient.

Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL)

The Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL) snapshot is open. Statewide standard course codes must be completed prior to any TSDL interchange submissions, or errors may result. The official collection close is August 26.

Special Education Discipline

The Special Education Discipline snapshot is open and final data file approval and report submission will occur August 24.  There are multiple interim deadlines throughout August as well.

End of Year

The Student End of Year snapshot for 2015-16 is open. Districts are recommended to have a snapshot with no errors by the beginning of August. Submission of regular process End of Year snapshots is required for all districts by September 15.

Special Education End of Year

The Special Education End of Year snapshot is open and final data file approval and report submission will occur October 6.  

2015-16 December Finance

The 2015-16 December finance collection will open in August and the due date is December 31.

What's on the Horizon

The Student October snapshot will open in September. Please note that the 2016-17 Student October Count date will be Wednesday, October 5. This rare instance has occurred because the first of the month falls on a Saturday and the following Monday and Tuesday are a part of Rosh Hashanah, a religious holiday. There are multiple September interim deadlines for the Special Education End of Year collection as well.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Aug. 24:  Special Education Discipline file approval and report submissions due

Aug. 26:  Teacher Student Data Link due date

Sept. 15:  Deadline for the initial approval of Student End of Year

More Information

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

Postsecondary Readiness

CDE supports the various ways students can enter postsecondary education by working with districts and schools in thinking through the personalization of a pathway through high school and on to college and career for every student.

What's Happening Now

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

What's on the Horizon

Advanced Placement Incentives Program

Apply for the Advanced Placement (AP) Incentives Program for the 2016-17 school year. Applications will be posted on the Colorado Department of Education AP Incentives website in September 2016.

The intent of the AP Incentives is to expand and implement AP programming in rural and small rural schools. CDE has chosen to give priority to schools with a Free and Reduced Lunch percentage above state average.

For more information, contact Marina Kokotovic at 303-866-6267 or or visit the AP webpage.


Graduation Guidelines Showcase

The class of 2021 – the first class to graduate under Colorado’s Graduation Guidelines – will be entering ninth grade in the fall of 2017. CDE would like to support districts and BOCES in planning and implementing graduation guidelines with a Graduation Guidelines Showcase, tailored in a format and with information that makes sense for your district or BOCES.

This customizable showcase could discuss such topics as how to align graduation guidelines to conform with local board policies, how to initiate conversations with the community and how to collaborate with local businesses. Districts can also choose the best time and format for the showcase.

To discuss interest in hosting a showcase meeting, contact Robin Russel at or 303-866-2908.

Visit the Graduation Guidelines website for history and background, menu of options, timeline, implementation strategies, promising practices and resources.


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

CDE continuously improves Colorado’s education system to provide students with the future skills and essential knowledge needed for success in a globally competitive world.

What's Happening Now

Early Learning and School Readiness

Kindergarten Parent Video and Picture Opt-In Information for Teaching Strategies GOLD

In December 2015, the Colorado State Board of Education approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Teaching Strategies® regarding the use of the GOLD assessment for kindergarten school readiness. As part of the MOU, additional privacy safeguards when implementing the assessment tool are in place to ensure even greater levels of student data privacy. 

Also, beginning in SY 2016-17, parents are required to actively opt in to use of videos and/or pictures within the online system. Please note that this provision does NOT apply to preschool. The MOU applies only to kindergarten based on the Board’s concerns about data privacy for the required kindergarten school readiness assessment. It does not apply to preschool because it was not part of the MOU.

Finally, the MOU streamlines the assessment process for kindergarten teachers by reducing the number of required assessment items within the first 60 calendar days. To learn more about the MOU and what that means for districts, please click on the following link and read the News Box on the School Readiness webpage.

If you have questions, please contact Emily Kielmeyer, kindergarten school readiness specialist at or 720-822-0640.

Kindergarten School Readiness Training Available

Customized training and support is available for kindergarten teachers and elementary principals for the kindergarten school readiness initiative from CDE staff. The Kindergarten School Readiness team at CDE consists of experienced early childhood and early elementary educators who are available to provide support to teachers across the state through the duration of the state’s Early Learning Challenge grant. 

For more information about the School Readiness Initiative, contact Nancie Linville, Early Learning and School Readiness Director, at or 303-866-6239, or visit the CDE school readiness web page

The Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act 

READ Collection and Fund Distribution 

In July, districts received information about the READ Act per pupil fund distribution for the 2016-17 school year. CDE anticipates distributing these funds the week of August 8. The district should code the distribution with source code 3000 and grant code 3206. The allowable uses for the per-pupil intervention moneys for students with significant reading deficiencies include: (1) providing full-day kindergarten; (2) purchasing tutoring services in reading; (3) providing other targeted, scientifically- or evidence-based intervention services; or (4) operating a summer school literacy program. HB14-1204, the Rural Flexibility bill, created an additional allowable use of READ funds for small rural districts to purchase the services of a literacy specialist from a BOCES to provide professional development in literacy or other supports for implementation of the READ Act. 

For more information about identification of a significant reading deficiency or allowable uses of per pupil funds, contact Alisa Dorman at 303-866-6016 or

READing Foundations Academy 

For the 2016-17 school year, the Office of Literacy will again offer no-cost professional development through READing Foundations Academies. The Academies are focused on research-based K-3 reading instruction with an emphasis on foundational reading skills found in the Colorado Academic Standards. Any district or schools interested in hosting a session should contact Donna Bright at or 303-866-6002.

Regional READ Act Meetings 

This fall, the Office of Literacy will be hosting a series of regional meetings to support districts and schools with continuous improvement for implementation of the Colorado READ Act. These meetings are intended to provide participants with updates on statewide efforts to reduce reading deficiencies, lessons learned from early implementation efforts and information about statutory reporting requirements. The target audience for these trainings includes individuals responsible for READ Act implementation including curriculum and assessment directors, READ Respondents, elementary principals and superintendents and/or their designee(s). 

For more information about regional READ meetings, contact Alisa Dorman at 303-866-6016 or

2016 READing Conference 

The CDE Office of Literacy in partnership with the Exceptional Student Services Unit is hosting the second annual READing Conference on September 13-14 at the Renaissance Stapleton Denver Hotel. This two-day conference is designed to support educators in using scientifically-based reading research and assessment practices to guide early literacy instruction for all students in kindergarten through third grade. Presenters will share best practices in teaching the foundational skills of early reading including differentiating instruction for students with disabilities and English learners within a response to intervention framework. Register here.

For more information about the READing Conference, contact Marisa Calzadillas at 303-866-6189 or

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 READ, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, 303-866-6016, or visit: For more information about data collection, contact Whitney Westgaard, Data Analyst, 303-866-6421, or visit

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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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