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News Release - State board asks legislature to repeal the statute that requires the state to participate in PARCC

April 10, 2014

State board asks legislature to repeal the statute that requires the state to participate in PARCC 

The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on April 9 & 10. Highlights from the meeting include:

The Future of PARCC in Colorado: Panel Discussion and Board Action

A diverse panel including Susana Cordova, chief academic officer, Denver Public Schools; Bruce Hoyt, St. Charles Capital and board member, Colorado Succeeds; Dr. Steve Jordan, president, Metro State University; Cindee Will, principal, James Irwin Charter School; Ted Bauman, former superintendent, Lewis Palmer School District 38; and Senator Keith King presented supporting and opposing views on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Pursuant to state law, Colorado is a governing member of PARCC, a multi-state assessment consortium developing English language arts and mathematics assessments.  Schools across the state are currently field-testing the PARCC assessments, which are scheduled for implementation in the spring of 2015.

Following the panel presentation and board discussion, the state board voted to request that the General Assembly “restore the authority to the State Board of Education over statewide assessments by repealing during this legislative session, 22-7-1006 (1.5); in so doing, allow Colorado to withdraw as a governing member of PARCC, with the Colorado signatories to the MOU rescinding that agreement with PARCC, thereby allowing the board to direct the commissioner to develop an assessment aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards, for implementation in Spring 2015.”

Outstanding Students and Educators 

The board recognized Chinmay Pandit, a senior at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins and Tessa Slagle, a senior at Rangley High School in Rangely as the Colorado delegates to the 52nd annual U.S. Senate Youth Program. The mission of the program is to help instill within each class of student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. For more on this program, click here

The board also recognized this year’s Presidential Awardees for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  The Presidential Awardees are Joan Standefer from Heatherwood Elementary School in the Boulder Valley School District for mathematics and Beth Vinson Grabois from Carson Elementary School in the Denver Public School District for science. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S. 

In addition, the board recognized a counselor and two teachers for 2013-14 Online & Blended Educator Recognition Awards. Casey Burton (online/blended counselor), Denver Online High School; Gilberto Palomino (online/blended teacher), Denver Online High School and Karla Durmas (online/blended teacher), Grande River Virtual are the recipients of these awards. These educators demonstrate strong evidence of their positive impact on student performance and academic growth as online educators.

The board recognized 22 schools for their highly effective school library programs. These libraries are places where collaboration, active learning and inquiry are encouraged and practiced.  They make a positive impact on the lives of their staffs, communities, and most importantly, their students.  Those are hallmarks of the 22 Highly Effective School Library honorees. Prior to applying, each teacher-librarian, along with his/her respective principal, assessed his/her library program using the “Highly Effective School Library Program Evaluation Rubric.” This assessment tool outlines what a quality school library program should look like in areas such as student and teacher collaboration, differentiated instruction, curriculum development and leadership both within and outside the school community. Applicants provided concrete evidence that they not only meet or exceed the criteria for being considered, but also show how they are instructional leaders who help improve student learning. For a listing of the schools and school librarians, click here. For more on the program, visit

Turnaround/Priority Improvement District Presentations

In March, April, May and June, the state board will hear from school districts with accreditation ratings of either Accredited with Priority Improvement or Accredited with Turnaround Plan. The board will hear an overview of successes, challenges, major improvement strategies, vision for how the district or school(s) will show significant and sufficient improvement to get off of the accountability clock and an explanation for how the district is supporting its lowest performing schools. Here’s a schedule for future presentations:

• May 15 (at the board meeting in Grand Junction), Sheridan School District 2, Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 and Ignacio School District 11 JT

• June 12, Julesburg School District RE-1, Aguilar Reorganized School District 6 and Rocky Ford School District R-2

This month, the board heard from Adams County School District 14, Karval School District RE-23 and Pueblo City School District 60.  Adams 14 is located in the north Metro area of Colorado and serves 8,000 students in Commerce City, with 82 percent qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Adams 14 is currently accredited with a Priority Improvement plan and will enter Year 4 on the state accountability clock on July 1, 2014. Adams 14 has made some significant improvement efforts in the past two years. The district has developed and implemented a standards-based interim assessment system. They are building capacity to utilize the resulting data to drive instructional planning at all levels. They are also focusing on equity issues to ensure that all Adams 14 staff act on the highest expectations for every student in the district. Adams 14 has seven schools with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type.

Karval School District RE-23 is a small rural community located in Lincoln County, in the east-central region of Colorado. The school district serves approximately 33 students in one K-12 building in Karval and another 67 students through their K-12 online school. Karval School District is accredited with a Turnaround Plan and is entering Year 5 on the accountability clock in July 2014. The district is focusing on three areas: data-driven instruction and formative assessment; organizational structure and management systems effectiveness; and a standards-based curriculum and instructional model. 

Pueblo City School District 60 is located south of Colorado Springs and is surrounded by the Pueblo County 70 School District. The total student population in 2013 was 18,013 students. Pueblo 60 is accredited with a Priority Improvement rating and will be entering Year 4 in July 2014. The district identified a number of initiatives which will continue into 2014-2015, including standards alignment; curriculum maps and units of study; balanced assessments; professional learning communities; the Responsive Classroom; and non-fiction writing across the curriculum. Pueblo 60 has 13 schools with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type.

Other Action

Memorandum of Understanding Appeal

After hearing an appeal and following deliberation, the state board determined that Eaton’s decision to decline to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Hope Online Academy was contrary to the best interests of the pupils, parents, community or school district and directed Eaton School District to enter into an MOU with Hope Online within 30 days. 

The Colorado State Board of Education will hold its next meeting on May 14 at 9 a.m. at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. 

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