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Academic Development


When students engage in Academic Development, they develop and master essential skills and standards.  


Colorado Academic Standards

- are broad goals that articulate what students should know, understand, and be able to do over a given time period; they are the foundation of teaching and learning.

icons for Colorado academic standards


Essential Skills *

- are embedded in Colorado Academic Standards and are necessary to enter the workforce or continue education beyond high school.

Colorado graduates have the necessary skills and knowledge that can be applied in an interdependent, interdisciplinary way, and leveraged in a variety of situations both locally and globally.  Colorado graduates are:

Communicators who demonstrate: Media Literacy, Digital Literacy, Data Literacy, Interpersonal Communications

Problem Solvers who demonstrate: Critical Thinking and Analysis, Collaboration and Teamwork, Creativity and Innovation, Adaptability and Flexibility

Community Members who demonstrate: Civic Engagement, Global and Cultural Awareness, Social Awareness

Empowered Individuals who demonstrate: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Perseverance and Resilience, Self Advocacy and Initiative, Career Awareness


*The Essential Skills document is in the process of refinement. This iteration - which is reorganized and recategorized and includes two additional skills, digital literacy and data literacy - is informed by the 2020 Talent Pipeline Report.  CDE seeks feedback from the public and other statewide participants in business and industry, education, non-profit organizations and government sectors. Feedback will be accepted until January 1, 2022.  




PWR Initiatives and Programs

- provide opportunities for students/learners to demonstrate Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) through Graduation Guidelines measures


ICAP is a foundational tool for Graduation Guidelines

Here are a few examples of district graduation policies that are aligned with Graduation Guidelines



  • "Social Emotional Learning (SEL), when integrated alongside academic learning, helps deepen and expedite learning, supports students in developing the skills to succeed in school and life, and enables educators to create safe and inclusive learning environments." Listen to Sheldon Berman, Lead Superintendent for Social-Emotional Learning at the Schools Superintendents Association, and Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, explore this issue in their Blog:  Communicating the "Learning" in Social Emotional Learning.

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