Feb. 14, 2019
State Board of Education upholds Boulder Valley's denial of a charter school application
Pueblo City Schools receives extension to secure external management
DENVER - The State Board of Education at its February meeting denied a second appeal by Ascent Classical Academy to establish a charter school in the Boulder Valley District.
Ascent Classical Academy Flatirons, seeking to open a charter school in the district, had appealed Boulder Valley’s first denial of its application in fall 2018 to the state board. The state board in November agreed with the charter school and remanded the decision back to Boulder’s school board for reconsideration.
However, when Ascent returned to the district last month, the BVSD board again denied the application, resulting in the final appeal to the state board. The state board’s decision Thursday means the Boulder Valley School Board’s Jan. 25 denial of the charter application stands.
Pueblo external management process
The board approved a 60-day extension for Pueblo City Schools to select an external partner to run Risley International Academy of Innovation and Heroes K-8 Academy -- an action the board directed in November due to chronic low performance by both schools. The district had researched external management organizations and invited five that indicated interest and capacity to apply, but only one submitted a proposal. A stakeholder committee reviewed the single application and determined the organization didn’t meet the requirements of the state board’s order and CDE staff agreed.
The state board is expected to consider the external manager selected for the schools at its April meeting. The specific timeline Pueblo proposed was shared at the meeting as well.
Action taken on legislation
The board voted to support these bills:
- House Bill 19-1134 that would create a diverse working group, including parents, district staff, teachers and literacy experts to make recommendations on enhancing support for students with dyslexia. The bill would also create a pilot program to better identify and support students with dyslexia.
- Senate Bill 19-069 that would clarify that private schools may operate teacher development programs.
- House Bill 19-1032 that would require districts that choose to offer human sexuality education to provide comprehensive content. The board also directed staff to review the content requirements in the bill and may vote again on the bill if conflicts with current health standards are identified.
$1.9 million in School Transformation Grants awarded
The board approved $1.9 million in state School Transformation Grants for 20 districts. The grants are designed to support leaders in low-performing schools and implement activities designed to improve student outcomes. Only districts with Priority Improvement or Turnaround ratings are eligible for the grants.
University of Northern Colorado’s Educator Preparation Program reauthorized
The board reauthorized University of Northern Colorado's Traditional Educator Preparation Program with a number of conditions to be verified during a state review of the program in February 2020. The conditions are designed to ensure that research-based reading instruction is included in preparation programs for elementary, special education and early childhood teachers.
Recognition of outstanding educators
The board recognized both the 2018 and 2019 Colorado Teachers of the Year. The 2018 awardee was Christina Randle, a first-grade teacher at Soaring Eagles Elementary in Harrison School District 2. The 2019 Teacher of the Year, Meg Cypress, is a fifth-grade teacher from Bradley International School in Denver Public Schools.
Notices of rulemaking:
The board approved notices of rulemaking for the following items:
- Rules for the Colorado Educator Licensing Act of 1991. The educator licensing rules would be amended to include updates to the principal and special service provider quality standards, rules for the Grow Your Own Educator program and technical changes to the educator enforcement rules.
- Rules for the administration of educator license endorsements. Changes would be technical in nature and edit language to reflect the correct terminology for a bachelor’s of science in nursing.
- Rules for the administration of a statewide system to evaluate the effectiveness of licensed personnel employed by school districts and Boards of Cooperative Services. CDE has collected feedback from teachers, principals and district leadership to update the Principal and Special Services Provider Quality Standards based on several years of full implementation of the Colorado Educator Effectiveness System. Rule revisions would reflect the recommendations by those stakeholders.
- Rules for the review of early college designations. These new rules define early college high schools as those that require students to enroll and complete an associate’s degree, another postsecondary credential or at least 60 postsecondary credits while also earning a high school diploma within a four year curriculum. Currently, 20 early college high schools exist across Colorado. The rulemaking hearing will be held in April.
In addition, the board heard a presentation from CDE staff regarding upcoming rulemaking on accountability required by House Bill 18-1355 and possible changes to school and district frameworks. Details on the timing of the upcoming discussions, including a state board work session on March 1, are available on the website.
In other actions, the board:
- Certified $367,849,715 in state share monthly entitlements to local school districts for January through June 2019.
- Approved $765,857 in Early Literacy Grant Program funds awarded to 30 schools. The grant funds will be used to establish reading instructional systems in these 30 schools for all students in kindergarten through third grade to help reduce the number of students reading below grade level and those identified as having a significant reading deficiency.
- Reviewed a resolution in support of the State Land Board efforts to improve financial outcomes for beneficiaries from School Trust assets. The board anticipates a vote on the resolution next month.
- Granted Roaring Fork RE-1 School District exclusive authority to authorize charter schools within the geographic boundaries of the district.