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Best, First Instruction Summer Institute

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has the opportunity to elevate and expand its level of support provided to districts by specifically targeting those with the highest needs through the use of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title II, Part A and Title IV, Part A funds.  Title IV is unique, in that, it specifically emphasizes all students and a well-rounded education using social emotional learning and technology as anchors. The comprehensive emphasis in Title IV offers schools an opportunity to enact integrated learning as an effective strategy for engaging students through Best, First Instruction in all subjects.

To increase the capacity of educators around high impact instructional strategies for Best, First Instruction for all students, CDE will host a Summer Institute, which is designed to create a cadre of educators within participating schools to support/coach other educators throughout the year. CDE will capitalize on the expertise of the established educator cadre to assist CDE in re-visioning the Teaching and Learning Guide.

About the Institute

The Summer Institute will be held June 4-6, 2018, at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colorado. To assure a well-rounded approach to instruction, attendance is required by a staff member from each content area and at least one leader from each school. The content areas that will be focused on during the institute and coaching sessions are, reading, writing, and communicating; mathematics; science; social studies; physical education; music and visual arts. In addition, there will be a leadership strand for school leaders and administrative staff; these participants will be given observation protocols to observe model lessons throughout the institute as well as coaching on setting an implementation plan for all staff for the upcoming year. All participants selected must be able to attend the full institute. CDE will use this first institute as a pilot to determine the feasibility and interest in offering additional summer institutes and coaching sessions for the 2019-2020 school year and 2020-2021 school year. If it is determined that additional opportunities will occur, year one participants will be invited to continue for two additional years as the first cohort to expand upon their needs.

Eligibility and Funding

CDE will provide funding for attendance to the Institute through the Best First Instruction Summer Institute competitive grant application. This funding opportunity is available to all schools.

LEAs with schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement, Targeted or Additional Targeted Support and Improvement under ESSA or schools that have a 2017 final rating of Priority Improvement or Turnaround OR are identified for Targeted Support for more than one group of students will be given priority.

The Summer Institute targets Best First Instruction for all students. Educators will consider the most effective instructional strategies for student needs for the first time they teach a lesson. This process includes considerations for possible differentiation needs; however, once a lesson is given, the reflection process may highlight additional differentiation needs to consider in subsequent lessons. Throughout the training at the institute along with the online coaching sessions throughout the year, differentiation strategies will be shared on an ‘as needed’ basis. The ongoing coaching sessions may offer opportunities for additional data collection around the results of the schools identification for CS, TS or ATS and Improvement.  

Approximately $300,000 of funding is available for the 2017-18 school year. Up to 20 individual grants will be awarded at up to $10,000 or the amount needed for each school team. School teams may consist of up to 10 participants (at least 8 content area teachers and 1 school leader).

Funds must be used to for the following activities:

  • Travel expenses including mileage, airfare or train;
  • Lodging;
  • Meals; and
  • Substitutes (for follow up meetings, or to attend the institute).

Sleeping rooms are pricing at $109 per night. Applicants may charge $.49 per mile and are allotted a daily per diem rate of $59 per person. Budgets should reflect these calculations and a detailed explanation would be needed if costs exceed the amounts listed.

Note: Through this process, CDE requests approval to retain 10% of the Best First Instruction Summer Institute funds to support teacher leaders that will assist participants in building sample curricular and instructional resources. This additional funding will be provided to the teacher leaders in the form of stipends to their district.

Application Submission Process and Deadline

How to Submit

Complete applications for the Best, First Instruction Summer Institute Grant must be submitted online by Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 11:59 pm.

Within the online application, applicants must upload the signed assurances page before the online application can be submitted.

In addition, the electronic Excel budget must be submitted to by Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 11:59 pm.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. If you do not receive an email confirmation of receipt of your application within 24 hours of the deadline, please email 

Log in to the Summer Institute Application



Program Questions:

DeLilah Collins
Send an email to DeLilah

Lourdes (Lulu) Buck
Send an email to Lulu

Budget Questions:

Marti Rodriguez
Send an email to Marti

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