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News Release - State Board Approves BEST Grants

June 13, 2013

News Release

State Board approves BEST grants
Board also holds study session to discuss educator preparation program

The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting June 12 & 13. Highlights from the meeting include:

Building Excellent Schools Today

The Colorado State Board of Education voted to approve the list of grants submitted by the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Board for 2013-14 Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) cash and lease-purchase grants. CDE’s Capital Construction Office received 63 qualifying grant applications for BEST funds from school districts and charter schools. Three of the applications were withdrawn by the applicants, leaving 60 applications for consideration by the Capital Construction Assistance Board. The total grant amounts requested were $227.7 million in state funds and $80.3 million in matching funds for a total of $308 million in total project costs. Of these, the Capital Construction Assistance Board recommended to the State Board of Education funding for 24 cash grants totaling $15.7 million, six lease-purchase grants totaling $94.7 million and two back-up lease-purchase grants totaling $47.7 million.

Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness Endorsed Diploma

Staff from CDE and the Colorado Department of Higher Education updated the board on the development process for the Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness endorsed diploma and reviewed and discussed the criteria for awarding an endorsed diploma.

The diploma identifies student excellence over and above a standard high school diploma. The endorsement recognizes high school graduates for meeting minimum academic qualifications for admission to all open, modified open, or moderately selective public institutions of higher education in Colorado, as well as priority consideration for admission into Colorado’s selective and highly selective institutions. The presentation is in preparation for a joint meeting in August with the state board and Colorado Commission on Higher Education to take action on the Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness endorsed diploma criteria. To view the PowerPoint presentation, click here. To view the criteria, click here.

Recognition of Outstanding Students

The board recognized John L. Brock (Arapahoe High School) and Amy Chen (Highlands Ranch High School) who were selected as 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars. This program was created in 1964 to honor top-performing students in each state. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based on academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Educator Licensure

The board approved cut scores for the PRAXIS II Mathematics #5161 and English Language Arts #5038 content exams. The cut scores set the minimum score an applicant must achieve in order to pass the exam. These exams will be available to candidates in Fall 2013, the next scheduled assessment date. To view the presentation, including the new cut scores, click here.

Educator Preparation

The board held a study session on its role in authorizing educator preparation programs. The session provided an overview of the current authorization/reauthorization process, focusing on the roles and responsibilities of the state board and Colorado Department of Higher Education. Representatives from educator preparation programs shared their perspectives on the process and responded to questions from the board. The board also discussed efforts underway to reimagine educator preparation. To view the presentation, click here.

Global Education Leaders’ Program

Staff provided the board with an update on Colorado's participation in the Global Education Leaders’ Program work to date, with a focus on the recent philanthropically-funded gathering in Sydney, Australia. To view the presentation, click here.

Early Literacy Grant Program

The state board voted to approve staff recommendations for grant recipients for the Early Literacy Grant Program. The $4 million competitive grant program, which is part of the READ Act, provides money to local education providers to implement literacy support and intervention instruction programs to assist students in kindergarten and first-, second-, and third-grades to achieve reading competency. To view the presentation, click here.


The board approved the addition of Terra Nova to the list of approved summative assessments for use under the READ Act. In March, the board approved a list of diagnostic and summative assessments. Following that meeting, there was an opportunity for the publishers of assessments that were not approved to appeal that action. CTB-McGraw Hill appealed to have Terra Nova be reconsidered as an approved summative assessment.

School Counselor Corps Grant Program

Staff updated the board on the 2013 Legislative Report regarding the Colorado School Counselor Corps Grant Program for 2011-2012 and approved recommendations for the 2013 grant recipients and grant awards amounts. To view the presentation, click here.

Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant Program

The board approved recommendations for the Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant Program. The program provides educational services to expelled students and prevents future suspensions and expulsions through a comprehensive range of strategies that are proven effective to help students who are at risk of suspension or expulsion. To view the presentation, click here.

Other Action

The board voted to approve the application for certification of a multi-district online school submitted by Colorado Digital BOCES on behalf of Colorado Prep Online Academy.

The Colorado State Board of Education will hold its next meeting in August at the Colorado Department of Education, 201 E. Colfax Ave., in Denver.

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