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* * CDE will be closed on Monday, February 15 for the President's Day holiday. * *

CDE Update

Need Assistance?

Please get in touch with your CDE field service manager.

  • John Condie, field services manager for the Northwest, West Central and Pikes Peak regions, 303-866-6630
  • Jhon Penn, executive director of field services and field services manager for the Northeast, North Central and Metro regions, 303-866-6632
  • Tina Goar, field services manager for the Southeast and Southwest regions and the Rural Council, 303-866-6608

About the CDE Update

Colorado is implementing significant education improvements aimed at ensuring all students graduate college- and career-ready. While much research and discussion has gone into the policy development, we're now putting those policies into action. Here's a brief snapshot of our strategic priorities including implementation milestones, supports now available and a look of what to expect ahead.

February 2016

Select a Category:

Educator Effectiveness

Classroom teaching and school leadership are the strongest school-based factors impacting student achievement. CDE supports the state’s 178 school districts to attract, prepare and support great educators as a part of meeting the requirements of S.B.10-191, the Great Teachers and Leaders Act, now codified as C.R.S. 22-9-101 et. seq.

What's Happening Now

Educator Effectiveness Leaders Take On New Roles at CDE 

Two members of the EE unit, Katy Anthes and Toby King, have recently taken on some additional roles in the department. Katy and Toby are still engaged in the Educator Effectiveness Unit’s work while also helping with some additional needs at the Department. Katy Anthes is now the chief of staff while Toby King is serving as the interim executive director of the Exceptional Student Services Unit. An entire team at the Educator Effectiveness Unit is still available and excited to continue to support the improvement and implementation of educator evaluation.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Does Not Impact Educator Evaluations

While the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides flexibility for assessments and other areas of Colorado’s accountability system, it does not include requirements for educator evaluations. State law, C.R.S. 22-9-101 et. seq., will continue to govern Colorado’s educator evaluation system.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about the Educator Effectiveness unit or the law. The EE team stands ready to help! For questions, contact Katy Anthes at

Feature on Colorado Performance Management System Allows Bulk Emails

RANDA Tip: The Colorado Performance Management System (COPMS) allows emails to be sent in bulk based on the filtering charts on the Evaluations page. This can be helpful to “nudge” educators and/or evaluators to complete a specific step of the process. All users with an “Evaluations” tab will be able to use this feature. Instructions for using this tool are available at

Visit the Educator Effectiveness website or contact Dawn Pare, director of educator effectiveness, at or 303-866-5926.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

Visit or contact Toby King, director of educator effectiveness,, 303-866-6964 or Dawn Pare, director of educator effectiveness,, 303-866-5926. To sign up for the Educator Effectiveness newsletter, visit

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The 2015-16 school year provides an opportunity for educators across the state to refine their focus on the opportunity high quality standards and instruction provides for Colorado’s children. Student learning is at the heart of Colorado’s education reform initiatives. The Teaching and Learning Unit strives to offer schools and districts resources and supports to enhance student learning and achievement.

What's Happening Now


New PLC Bytes are available on the topics: Importance of Scientific Practices, Selecting Science Materials Aligned to CAS, and Developing Assessments Aligned to Learning Experiences in Science. PLC Bytes are five to seven minute segmented presentations in Prezi format designed to be used in professional learning communities (PLC) or faculty meetings. PLC Bytes can be found at For more information, contact Joanna Bruno, science content specialist, at or 303-866-6571.

Early Learning and School Readiness

Memorandum of Understanding with Teaching Strategies: Districts using the Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment as their kindergarten readiness assessment recently received information about a memorandum of understanding (MOU) entered into between the publisher and the Colorado Department of Education. Please note that this MOU applies only to kindergarten. For background about this agreement, please see the January 2016 CDE Update ( View the MOU by clicking here ( Questions about the MOU can be addressed to Daryl Trujillo, kindergarten readiness program manager at or 303-866-6971.

The READ Act Interim Assessment Required by July 2016

The READ Act requires use of a state board-approved interim reading assessment to determine whether a student has a significant reading deficiency in grades K through 3. Since its passage in 2013, districts have been able to use the interim assessments allowed under The Colorado Basic Literacy Act (CBLA) in addition to the READ Act approved assessments. However, because the READ Act repealed the CBLA, districts have until July 1, 2016 to transition to using only those interim assessments approved by the state board under the READ Act. Information about approved READ Act interim assessments can be found at Office of Literacy staff members are ready to support districts in making this transition if they have not already done so. For more information, please contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, at or 303-866-6016.

Apply for an Early Literacy Grant

Through the READ Act, CDE is able to support a $4 million grant program to distribute funds to local education providers, including school districts, BOCES, and district charter schools or Institute Charter Schools, to support a comprehensive, school-wide literacy model for K - 3. The new round of the Early Literacy Grant application process opened in January. All school districts are eligible to apply, and districts may apply on behalf of one or more of their elementary sites. Letters of Intent to Submit are due Feb. 5, 2016. Completed applications are due March 15, 2016. The application for the Early Literacy Grant is available at A training webinar is scheduled for Feb. 3, 2016 at 1 p.m. Register for this webinar at The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing through the CDE website. For more information about this grant program, contact Rachel Anderberg at or 303-866-6150.

Applications Available for the Early Literacy Assessment Tool Project

The Office of Literacy has initiated an application process for the Early Literacy Assessment Tool (ELAT) project. Colorado’s ELAT project provides no-cost reading assessment subscriptions for the DIBELS Next system and Burst diagnostic reading assessments. The tools allow teachers to engage in real-time assessment of the reading skill levels of students in kindergarten through third-grade that provides immediate results and recommended activities based on those results. The project covers the cost of the online software license and training. Hardware is not included. Districts currently participating in the project as well as districts interested in participating for the 2016-17 school year must submit an application for the licenses. For districts wishing to continue their participation, applications are due March 3, 2016. For districts applying for first time, participation applications are due April 15, 2016. Applications and an informational webinar supporting the application process are posted on the READ Act website: For more information, contact Donna Bright at or 303-866-6002.

READ Act Rules to be Re-Noticed by State Board of Education 

At the January State Board of Education meeting, the board voted to re-notice the rulemaking process for the Colorado READ Act. The originally proposed rules are necessary to bring the READ Act into alignment with HB 15-1323. The board indicated that further discussion of the rules beyond the proposed changes are needed and will address additional considerations at the Feb. meeting. The recommended rule revisions are posted on the READ Act webpage: Written comments are currently being accepted. A public hearing is scheduled at the next State Board of Education meeting on Feb. 10, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. For more information, please contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, at or 303-866-6016.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

Visit the Standards and Instruction website or contact Melissa Colsman, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning,, 303-866-6737.

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Assessments administered by CDE include summative content assessments, English language proficiency assessments, college/career ready assessments and alternate content assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are the state tests in English language arts, math, science and social studies that will be given to Colorado students in the 2016-17 academic year. The science and social studies tests were developed for Colorado students, while the math and English language arts tests were developed in collaboration with other states through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC).

In 2016, Colorado will also administer the PSAT to 10th-graders and the ACT to 11th-graders.

What's Happening Now

ACCESS for ELLs 2016 Administration

The ACCESS for ELLs testing window closes on Feb. 12, 2016.

CDE and College Board Provide Support for Transition to PSAT 

To help 10th-grade students prepare to take the PSAT 10 this April, CDE is working with the College Board to provide information and resources to support educators, students and families. Next year, these students will take the SAT as 11th-grade students. Remember, this year’s 11th-grade students will take the ACT as part of the department’s plan for a one-year transition to the SAT. These changes were precipitated by legislation passed last spring and the required competitive selection process for Colorado’s 10th-grade and 11th-grade exams.

As required by the new law, the PSAT is aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards. The assessment focuses on what students are already learning in classrooms across the state.

During the transition to the new assessment, CDE will be working with the College Board to make available information, resources and practice materials to prepare educators and students for the PSAT 10 this spring and the SAT next year. In the coming weeks, the College Board will launch a website dedicated to the Colorado partnership that will contain key information and link to detailed information about the PSAT 10 ( Additional information on SAT will be added later this spring.

CDE and the College Board want students to benefit from the opportunities connected with these assessments, including the free, interactive test practice through Khan Academy, college application fee waivers, and expanded scholarships.

Colorado PSAT and Colorado ACT 

In January, District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) received initial information about the spring 2016 administration of the Colorado PSAT for 10th-graders and the Colorado ACT for 11th-graders. As districts prepare for the transition to the Colorado SAT in spring 2017, the following information about concordance tables and higher education acceptance of scores may be helpful.

Concordance Tables to be Developed:
CDE is aware of the historical college entrance assessment data that districts have and their desire to continue using that trend data. CDE will work with the vendors to explore updating concordance tables to facilitate that process. (ACT and SAT collaboratively developed concordance tables for the old SAT and ACT. This summer, College Board will be developing similar tables for the old SAT and revised SAT.)

Higher Education Acceptance of SAT Scores:
H.B. 15-1323 requires the selected college entrance exam be “administered throughout the United States and relied upon by institutions of higher education” (C.R.S. 22-7-1006.3). The SAT meets this requirement. Colorado public colleges and universities accept both the ACT and the SAT for admission and scholarship consideration.

February/March Preparation Activities for Spring 2016 CMAS Administration

Technology Preparation:
District technology coordinators should engage in technology preparation activities with local technology coordinators and district assessment coordinators to ensure that technology environments are ready for testing.

Administration Preparation:
District and school personnel can begin to set up CMAS test sessions in PearsonAccessnext on Feb. 1, 2016. This activity should be completed before students begin testing. Districts and schools can also complete the following activities in Feb.:

  • Assign computer-based special forms (e.g., accommodations and accessibility features)
    • After indicating all computer-based special form assignments, begin creating test sessions in PearsonAccessnext
  • Register new students and remove registrations or approve transfer work requests for students who have withdrawn from the district
  • Train district and school staff who will be involved in spring assessment administration. Security Agreement forms and the Verification of District Training form should be signed and collected after training

What's on the Horizon

ACCESS for ELLs Student Biographical Data

The ACCESS for ELLs Student Biographical Data Review (SBD) window is March 14-25, 2016. During the SBD window, districts will have the opportunity to download, review, and update demographic information associated with the 2016 ACCESS administration. Local Access Managers (LAMS) must use the “ACC” collection identifier to assign district access for this collection. This is not a mandatory data collection.

 CMAS ELA Field Test

For schools selected to participate in the ELA field test, the ELA test will include four rather than three units at participating grade levels. For selected grade levels, schools participating in the field test should schedule an additional 90 minutes (grades 3-5) or an additional 110 minutes (grades 6-9) beyond the time scheduled for non-field test schools. CDE realizes that adding any amount of testing time will be challenging for some schools; however, Colorado’s participation in the field test is incredibly important. When talking with staff and parents about the importance of participating in field testing, please consider the following:

  • Field testing is critical to the assessment process. It allows new items to be added to the assessment each year and contributes to the rich item bank that supports the ongoing release of publically available items each year.
  • Constructed response items can be scored more quickly, efficiently, and reliably after test administration because field testing allows scorer training and the establishment of score ranges and response expectations for each item to occur in advance of testing.
  • Field testing allows item performance to be examined before an item can be used operationally. Specifically, field test data is used to determine whether or not an item is suitable for future use. Colorado’s participation in the field test is an important way of including Colorado student responses in item performance analyses, and that the newly developed items work well for Colorado students.

Keep in mind that schools selected to participate in the ELA field test were not selected to participate in social studies testing. Participation in either social studies testing or ELA field testing, but not both, should help to balance testing time and burden across schools.

Spring 2016 State Assessment Schedule

SPRING 2016 State Assessment Schedule1


Grades K – 12

Jan. 11 – Feb. 12

CMAS: PARCC English language arts (ELA)2

Grades 3 – 9

April 11 – 293

CMAS: PARCC Mathematics

Grades 3 – 9

April 11 – 293

CMAS: Science

Grades 5, 8 and 11

April 11 – 29

CMAS: Social Studies (sampled schools)

Grades 4 and 7

April 11 – 29

PSAT (pending contract execution)


Grade 10


April 19 or April 20: District choice for initial testing date


April 19 – 22: Accommodations testing window


April 20 – 29: Makeup testing window

ACT (pending contract award execution)


Grade 11


April 19: Initial testing date

April 19 – May 3: Accommodations testing window

May 3: Make-up testing date


1CoAlt is the alternate assessment for all content assessments in grades 3-11 and should be given during the corresponding general assessment windows to the extent practicable. All CoAlt DLM English language arts and math testing (grades 3-11) must be completed by April 29, 2016.

2Colorado Spanish Language Arts (CSLA) in grades three and four should be given during the same window as CMAS: PARCC ELA

3Districts needing more time to complete their ELA and math testing due to device numbers (i.e., the number of computers available will require multiple groups for each test unit) may begin testing ELA and math earlier. The maximum testing window will be six weeks.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

  • Feb. 1 through Start of Testing: Online CMAS test sessions can be set-up
  • Feb. 16 – April 6: Late consideration for ACT-approved accommodations for new students
  • Feb. 25: ACT Live Q & A webinar
  • Feb. 26: ACT off-site testing proposals due
  • Feb. 29 – Apr. 28: CMAS: PARCC additional orders window for secure materials
  • Feb. 29 – May 4: CMAS: PARCC additional orders window for non-secure materials
  • March 4: ACT online student voucher registration deadline for April 9 national ACT testing date
  • March 14 – 25: ACCESS for ELLs Student Biographical Data Review
  • March 21 – April 1: ACT non-college reportable accommodations materials ordering
  • March 29 – April 28: CMAS Science and Social Studies additional orders window for secure materials
  • March 29 – May 4: CMAS: Science and Social Studies additional orders window for non-secure materials
  • Week of April 4: ACT non-secure and secure materials in school
  • Prior to CMAS Testing: District assessment coordinators should send the Verification of District Training form to CDE prior to testing (signed by Superintendent)

More Information

Visit the Assessment website or contact Joyce Zurkowski, Executive Director of Assessment,, 303-866-6760.

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Accountability, Performance and Support

CDE supports schools and districts in the continuous improvement process through its focus on implementing quality school and district support systems, accountability measures, improvement plans, federal programs and data analysis.

What's Happening Now

Accountability Work Group

The Accountability Work Group will meet on Feb. 22. Information about the work group can be found here:

UIP Winter Review Process

In February, CDE will complete its review of the over 200 Unified Improvement Plans from the districts and schools required to submit their plans. This includes any school or district with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type on the 2014 School or District Performance Frameworks (SPF or DPF). CDE reviews the plans using the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) Quality Criteria, posted here: Feedback based on the UIP Quality Criteria (including program specific requirements) will be provided to districts and schools upon the completion of the reviews. The Quality Criteria are posted online in Word format for the convenience of planning teams that may wish to use them for their own internal reviews.

What's on the Horizon

Unified Improvement Planning Submission Dates

Every district and school must submit a revised/updated UIP by April 15, 2016 (note: small, rural districts and schools with a Performance plan type may submit plans biennially). For more information, visit the CDE website here:

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • April 15 – school and district UIPs must be submitted for public posting on SchoolView
  • April 18 – Accountability Work Group Meeting

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

Contact Alyssa Pearson, Interim Associate Commissioner of Accountability, Performance and Support,, 303-866-6855.

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Postsecondary Readiness

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Organizational Effectiveness

This month’s Organizational Effectiveness update focuses on Data Pipeline.

Data Pipeline is a streamlined approach to efficiently move required education information from school districts to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). Data Pipeline reduces data redundancy, captures closer to real-time data, streamlines the data collection process and allows districts to exchange information on transferred students.

What's Happening Now

Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM)

Local education agencies may make changes up until March 7. Any changes after this date will need to be handled through DLM directly.

Human Resources

By Feb. 11, all local education agencies are required to have their snapshot error free and finalized. Human Resources will close and the final report must be signed and submitted.

December Count

Administrative Units must resolve duplicates in the Special Education December Count Snapshot submission by Feb. 9. The Special Education December Count will be closed and all final reports must be signed and submitted by Feb. 11.


The 2016-17 four-day school week collection will remain open until May 13.

Local education agencies (LEAs) that will have school code changes in the 2016-17 school year may submit requests. These include new and closing schools, school name changes as well as grade range changes. Schools that change LEAs should utilize the new school code request.

Statewide Standard Course Codes 

Webinar trainings will be conducted Feb. 10, 16 and 18. Course codes must be entered by March 24.

Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL)

The TSDL interchange is open. The target dates are to have one TSDL interchange file submitted by March 11, 2016 and both interchange files submitted by March 25, 2016. As a reminder, the Statewide Standard Course Codes must be up-to-date prior to submitting an interchange file.

End of Year

At the request of districts, 2015-16 snapshots may be taken beginning Feb. 1, 2016; however, all edits will not be updated and finalized until May 5.

What's on the Horizon

  • Statewide standard course codes must be updated by March 24
  • ACCESS for ELLs Student Biographical Data (SBD) will be conducted March 14 through 25, 2016
  • Teacher Student Data Link snapshot will open February 29, 2016
  • Report Card March will open March 1, 2016

Important Upcoming Deadlines

  • Feb. 9 – December Count snapshots error free and finalized
  • Feb. 11 – December Count deadline
  • Feb. 11 – Human Resources deadline

More Information

Contact Jan Rose Petro, Director of Data Services,, 303-866-6838. Submit questions and suggestions to

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Contact Us

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
Contact CDE

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Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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