April 14, 2011
State Board Of Education Maps Next Steps In CAP4K Implementation; Remands Charter School Appeal; Adopts Parental Notification Rules
The Colorado State Board of Education continued its oversight and implementation of the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids with an update by Assistant Commissioner for Standards and Assessment Jo O’Brien on components of the landmark P-20 education bill.
CAP4K, as the plan is known informally, was initiated by Senate Bill 08-212 and was approved with the aim of creating an aligned, seamless preschool to postsecondary educational system in Colorado.
The legislation calls for the state board to adopt high school completion policies that will establish high school diploma endorsement criteria and detail statewide graduation guidelines.
Under CAP4K, the board is required:
- To adopt, by Dec. 15, 2011, a comprehensive set of guidelines for the establishment of high school graduation guidelines to be used by each school district board of education in developing local high school graduation guidelines.
- To jointly adopt with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) on or before July 1, 2011, or as soon as fiscally practicable “high school diploma endorsement criteria indicating a student’s level of postsecondary and workforce readiness.”
Pointing out a seeming disconnect between the two guidelines and their deadlines, O’Brien sought and secured the board’s approval of a November 2011 deadline for approving these criteria, stating that CCHE has indicated similar support for the deadline. Staff from both departments are working in tandem to ensure that both the high school diploma PWR endorsement criteria and college-entrance guidelines align.
The two boards are tentatively scheduled to meet on Sept. 15 and again on Oct. 6 in preparation for their joint adoption of the endorsement criteria.
The proposed changes to Colorado’s high school completion policies will likely be implemented by local districts, O’Brien noted, in preparation for the 2012-13 school year.
O’Brien also provided an update on the ongoing development of formative assessments, emphasizing the need for a common and shared definition of “formative assessments” to avoid confusion in the field about their purpose and function. Even the label “formative assessments” might need re-thinking, she said, because many are not clear about its purpose in the assessment system.
Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement
The state board also received an update on a number of initiatives the department is implementing to help districts reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions and to engage students who have or are on the verge of dropping out.
Judith Martinez, director of CDE’s Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement, highlighted a notable, five-year trend of Colorado’s decreasing annual dropout rate. She also spoke to Colorado’s new “on time” graduation rate, which follows a cohort of students beginning in their freshman year. “The percentage of students in that cohort that graduate four years later equates to the ‘on time’ graduation rate,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that the rest have dropped out. We also identify those cohort students who are on track to graduate in five or even six years.”
The Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement Office is comprised of six programs and three initiatives, all of which are designed to engage or re-engage students, keep them in school and, thereby, increase the number of students who graduate high school prepared to enter college or the workforce.
For more information on dropout prevention and student engagement efforts, visit the office’s Web site at http://www.cde.state.co.us/dropoutprevention.
At the request of Board Member Debora Scheffel, the approval of teacher induction programs received special attention this month.
“I want to underscore how important induction programs are to the development of an educator,” she said. “They are a milestone in the map of the reform efforts underway in educator effectiveness.”
By state law, the state board is charged with the responsibility of approving and reviewing induction programs.
“If an educator can continue to grow under an exemplary mentor during the induction program,” Scheffel noted, “he or she is more likely to be successful in facilitating growth in student achievement.”
She added that successful induction programs also will result in more educators maintaining their commitment to the teaching profession.
Scheffel noted that each of the programs include some excellent points of focus including the importance of student engagement in learning, mastery of knowledge domains crucial to student achievement, differentiation of instruction, research- and evidence-based practices, and instructional clarity. The board unanimously approved the following induction programs:
- The teacher induction program submitted by ACE Community Challenge School.
- The teacher induction program submitted by Aspen Academy.
- The teacher/special services provider induction program submitted by NHA-Foundations Academy.
- The teacher induction program submitted by Skyview Academy Charter School.
- The teacher induction program submitted by West End School District.
Colorado Teacher of the Year Recognized
The state board took a few minutes to recognize 2011 Colorado Teacher of the Year Michelle Pearson, a seventh-grade teacher at Hulstrom Options K-8 School in Northglenn (Adams 12 Five Star School District).
Pearson is the Colorado nominee for National Teacher of the Year honors and serves as a teaching ambassador to communities and organizations around the state and nation.
During brief comments regarding Wednesday’s board discussion involving educator effectiveness (http://bit.ly/eFLlzK), Pearson complimented the state board on its work, emphasizing that its decisions have impact for years to come.
“We are really proud of you and what you do representing all teachers in Colorado,” said Chairman Schaffer. “In everything we do we are cognizant and fully aware that the real work of education takes place wherever you are.”
Imagine Charter School Appeal Upheld
The state board voted unanimously to remand the appeal filed by Imagine Charter School against Falcon School District 49, finding in favor of the charter school. Board chairman Bob Schaffer and board member Elaine Gantz Berman agreed to work together on recommendations that will be issued in the state board’s order to the district.
Support for Innovation
In a show of support for innovation in education, the state board unanimously approved two requests for waivers from certain statutes, one from Mesa County Valley School District 51 on behalf of Mesa Valley Vision Home and Community Program, and the other from Aurora Public Schools on behalf of the district’s Option Program.
Parental Notification Rules
The Colorado State Board of Education approved rules that require school districts to notify parents within 24 hours (business days only) when district employees are arrested or charged with an offense identified in the rules. The rules were approved unanimously following discussion of a few amendments.
Board Chairman Bob Schaffer, who proposed the rules to set a statewide expectation for how districts handle such information, said parents should not be “in the dark” when employees are arrested. The waiting time between arrest and formal charges, he added, is sometimes “too long a lapse.”
The Colorado Department of Education will send official notification of the rules to school districts prior their going into effect, anticipated for May 31, 2011.
For more information, contact the Colorado State Board of Education Relations Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Other Action:
In other action, the Colorado State Board of Education:
- Took action on disciplinary proceedings concerning a license, charge number 2010EC20.
- Took action on disciplinary proceedings concerning a license, charge number 2011EC01.
- Took action on disciplinary proceedings concerning a license and a license application, charge number 2011EC02.
- Approved initial emergency authorizations (monthly total, 2).
- Approved the five-year reauthorization of the teacher preparation program at Fort Lewis College.
- Approved the annual acknowledgement of the school districts regarding Exclusive Chartering Authority for the 2011-2012 school year.
- Approved a waiver request from certain statutes by Colorado Springs School District 11 on behalf of GLOBE Charter School.
- Approved appointments of members to the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee, the Facility Schools Board, the Alternative School Funding Models Advisory Council and the State Council for Parent Involvement in Education.
- Approved amendments to the rules for the Accountability of Alternative Campuses.