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ESSA Statewide Listening Tour

By Patrick Chapman, Executive Director, Federal Programs
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - 3:22pm

Colorado Department of Education staff will travel to six sites in May to discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and solicit feedback from the community regarding key provisions of the law. This is the beginning of a year-long effort to engage Coloradans in the writing of the state’s ESSA plan.

Two teams will present a general overview of ESSA and then facilitate a community discussion. Sessions will include discussion about standards and assessments, accountability, supports for students and parent and community engagement.  Feedback also will be collected about how Colorado can become one of the seven states in a pilot program to develop more instructionally connected approaches to state assessments.

Two sessions will be held at each location, one in the early afternoon and another after work for parents, teachers and community members. Feedback from the ESSA listening events will be compiled and used by ESSA working group committees to inform development of the state’s ESSA plan.  The goal is to develop a Colorado ESSA plan that is clearly understood and can be supported by all.  


ESSA Listening Tour Schedule

Pueblo -- Wednesday, May 4, El Pueblo History Museum, 301 N. Union Ave.

Grand Junction -- Wednesday, May 4, Grand Junction Central Library Community Rooms,443 N. Sixth St.

Durango -- Thursday, May 12, Durango School District Board Room, 201 E. 12th St.

Greeley -- Monday, May 16, UNC Greeley, University Center, 2045 10th Ave.

Buena Vista -- Wednesday, May 18, Best Western Vista Inn, 733 US Highway 24 N.

Thornton -- Monday, May 23, Adams 12 Facility Operations, Conference Center,1500 E. 128th Ave.


To register for the sessions or for more information about the ESSA Listening Tour, visit


 Next steps:

  • Additional ESSA Listening Events – In addition to the listening tour, CDE will be reaching out to specific constituency groups to provide ESSA information.
  • ESSA webinar – CDE will conduct a webinar for those unable to attend in person.
  • June 17 event – This event will be hosted by several of our partners from across the state as a chance for further discussion about the ESSA plan.
  • Following the listening tour, ESSA committees will work to develop a first draft of the state plan.
  • A September “back-to-school” summit will kick off the vetting process before the plan will be submitted to the State Board of Education and governor for approval before being delivered to the U.S. Department of Education.


Why isn't the tour coming to big cities with large populations like Colorado Springs or Denver?

We encourage interested parties in the Denver metro area to attend our Metro Denver event in Thornton on May 23rd. CDE is also investigating Denver Metro locations for additional ESSA listening tour events in June.

Information about additional events, including an upcoming webinar on June 1, will be posted on our ESSA blog and ESSA webpage, and will also be sent out in CDE’s weekly newsletter, The Scoop.

CDE finished its initial listening events and shifted its focus to developing a draft of our ESSA state plan and the committee, vetting, and continued stakeholder engagement work that will support it. You can view a recording of the Virtual Listening Tour webinar here:

CDE encourages you to subscribe to our ESSA E-Newsletter to receive updates on any upcoming stakeholder events and feedback opportunities:

I attended the 1-4PM listening tour in Pueblo May 4th. I am a parent of an adult with a disability, former teacher, and now parent advisor for PEAK Parent Center. My son has a hearing loss, and was a good student in high school. As an adult, he is a professional in the geographic information field, and computer programmer. His college degree is in Natural Resources. I tell you this because in high school he was encourages to NOT take physics (a major interest of his) because the qualified, state licenced, special education teacher said "I can't make any modifications if he needs them because physics is too hard." What if he had been denied the opportunity to rich science? It scares me to think of the many students who are denied the opportunity to participate in REGULAR education because it's too hard for the special ed teacher. Doing away with HQT for special ed students can be very discriminating against them because of the lack of understanding in schools of LRE and the trend of high schools to push students with IEPs into centers.

Also, having small districts compete against large districts is unfair. Big districts have grant writers, small districts do not. To expect a small rural poor district to compete just does not make sense. The money needs to go to the districts with the most need.

Thank you for taking the time to attend the listening tour and for submitting your comments. Your comments are very helpful to us in understanding the impact of changes in the new law.

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