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A Resource Guide for Deepening the Understanding of Teachers' Professional Practices

Resource Guide Overview

To support fair and consistent evaluations, CDE is developing tools to promote common interpretations of teacher quality. One tool is The Resource Guide for Deepening the Understanding of Teacher's Professional Practices. The resource guide is meant to support Colorado school district employees, administrators and teachers in developing an understanding of the Colorado State Model Evaluation System Teacher Rubric.

As individuals apply the rubric to their own teaching and to that of others, the resource guide can support observers and coaches in accurately identifying evidence for the professional practices. The research, examples provided and the glossary can be used to support the development of a common language for Colorado school district employees to analyze, reflect and plan instruction.

We want to encourage your feedback and submission of examples and resources for the continued development of this resource. Please contact Educator_Effectiveness@cde.state.co.us with your feedback, questions or additional resources.

View the entire Resource Guide here (PDF), or access an interactive version below.


About the Standards and Elements

Teacher Quality Standards and Elements sections:

Also included are the following sections:

  • External resources for additional information
  • Internal resources for additional information
  • Classroom examples
  • Planning/coaching questions

For the elements within each standard, you will find explanations of the professional practices under three rating levels: Basic, Partially Proficient, and Proficient.

The content at the practice or element level presents research related to the practice and ideas for implementing it. Related research provides a rationale for the professional practices in the rubric and can be useful to principals, assistant principals, or others who provide training on an element or who provide feedback to a teacher.

Using research to illustrate a specific practice increases understanding of why that practice is considered a best practice. Ideas for implementation are suggestions for teachers to consider when planning for instruction. Additionally, evaluators can refer to them when providing feedback or ongoing support to teachers.


Quality Standard I

Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach. The elementary Teacher is an expert in literacy and mathematics and is knowledgeable in all other content that he or she teaches (e.g., science, social studies, arts, physical education, or world languages). The secondary Teacher has knowledge of literacy and mathematics and is an expert in his or her content endorsement area(s).

Element 1A

Teachers provide instruction that is aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards; their District's organized plan of instruction; and the individual needs of their students.

Element 1B

Teachers demonstrate knowledge of student literacy development in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

ELA Educators (K-12)

Element 1C

Teachers demonstrate knowledge of mathematics and understand how to promote student development in numbers and operations, algebra, geometry and measurement, and data analysis and probability.

Math Educators (K-12)

Element 1D

Teachers demonstrate knowledge of the content, central concepts, tools of inquiry, appropriate evidence-based instructional practices and specialized character of the disciplines being taught.

Element 1E

Teachers develop lessons that reflect the interconnectedness of content areas/disciplines.

Element 1F

Teachers make instruction and content relevant to students and take actions to connect students’ background and contextual knowledge with new information being taught.


Quality Standard II:

Teachers establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.

Element 2A

Teachers foster a predictable learning environment in the classroom in which each student has a positive, nurturing relationship with caring adults and peers.

Element 2B

Teachers demonstrate a commitment to and respect for diversity, while working toward common goals as a community and as a country.

Element 2C

Teachers engage students as individuals with unique interests and strengths.

Element 2D

Teachers adapt their teaching for the benefit of all students, including those with special needs across a range of ability levels.

Element 2E

Teachers provide proactive, clear and constructive feedback to families about student progress and work collaboratively with the families and significant adults in the lives of their students.

Element 2F

Teachers create a learning environment characterized by acceptable student behavior, efficient use of time and appropriate intervention strategies.


Quality Standard III:

Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.

Element 3A

Teachers demonstrate knowledge of current developmental science, the ways in which learning takes place and the appropriate levels of intellectual, social and emotional development of their students.

Element 3B

Teachers plan and consistently deliver instruction that draws on results of student assessments, is aligned to academic standards and advances students’ level of content knowledge and skills.

Element 3C

Teachers demonstrate a rich knowledge of current research on effective instructional practices to meet the developmental and academic needs of their students.

Element 3D

Element 3E

Teachers establish and communicate high expectations for all students and plan instruction that helps students develop critical-thinking and problem solving skills.

Element 3F

Teachers provide students with opportunities to work in teams and develop leadership qualities.

Element 3G

Teachers communicate effectively, making learning objectives clear and providing appropriate models of language.

Element 3H

Teachers use appropriate methods to assess what each student has learned, including formal and informal assessments, and use results to plan further instruction.

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