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State board agrees to resubmit ESSA plan with changes to meet federal requirements

Oct. 12, 2017

State board agrees to resubmit ESSA plan with changes to meet federal requirements

Parental excusals won't impact schools and districts in state accountability system

DENVER - The Colorado State Board of Education in its two-day October board meeting agreed to follow differing state assessment reporting rules outlined in state and federal policy - a solution that will still allow federal funds for school improvement to be directed to schools that need it the most.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to identify schools for improvement and distributes about $10.5 million a year to Colorado for support.  However, the U.S. Department of Education flagged the state’s plan for implementing ESSA because it didn’t follow the new federal rules. Current state policy holds districts and schools harmless for parental excusals from statewide assessments. But the federal law requires states to count any non-participants on statewide assessments as being non-proficient when they exceed 5 percent of total test-takers.

State law does not allow districts to impose negative consequences on families excusing their children from taking tests.  The law also does not allow districts to either discourage students from taking tests or encourage parents to opt their children out of the tests. Concerns have been raised that if non-participating students were counted as non-proficient, the state would misidentify the schools most in need of support.

The state board approved re-submitting the ESSA state plan to meet the federal requirements for achievement calculations, but to differentiate schools identified. CDE can give preference to schools for support based on the performance of students that participated in the assessments.

Board allows districts to choose English or Spanish READ Act tests

The board approved amended rules for the administration of the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act to align to House Bill 17-1160, allowing districts to choose whether to administer READ Act tests in English or Spanish for English Learners whose native language is Spanish.

Graduation Guidelines considerations

The board approved updates to Colorado graduation requirements, which included eliminating the ACT Compass test that was discontinued by ACT, adding sentence skills to the ACCUPLACER assessment and updating required SAT English and Math scores to reflect 2016 College Board changes to the test.

Charter waivers approved for new and renewing schools

The board approved waiver requests for two new charter schools - Ascent Classical Academy and Monarch Classical School of the Arts - and one renewing charter school, Parker Performing Arts. For Ascent, the board reviewed feedback from the state and heard testimony from the school on nine of their non-automatic waiver requests that were subsequently voted on and approved.  

2017 Online and Blended Educator Award winners recognized

The state board honored 2017 Online and Blended Educator Award winners: counselor Scott Bergamo, from St. Vrain Global Academy and teachers Chad Greiner from Peak Virtual Academy and Jessica Glynn from Denver Online High School. They were recognized for their positive impact on student performance and academic growth.

2017 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Distinguished Administrator recognized

Erica Garcia, director of language, culture, and equity at Sheridan School District, was recognized by the  board as the 2017 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE) Distinguished Administrator. Each year, the CLDE office selects an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled administrator to represent the entire profession in Colorado. Garcia was selected for her active engagement in the English Language Development program at her district, contribution to increasing achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse learners, and displaying distinguished leadership and service to the profession and community.

"Celebrating Diversity" art contest winners honored

Three students were honored as winners of the 2017 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Academy Art Contest: Celebrating Diversity.  Rowan Raetz, who was a fifth-grader at Trail Elementary during the 2016-17 school year; Isabella Bravo Versteeg, sixth-grader at Charles Hay World School, and Jessica Perez, 10th-grader from Pinnacle Charter School were recognized. Each year, the CLDE Office at CDE holds an art competition to highlight students’ artistic talents through the fine arts.

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