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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.

November 2015

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.

What's Happening Now

It’s Time for Mid-Year Reviews of Educators using the State Model Evaluation System

During the mid-year review, prior to the beginning of the second semester, the educator and evaluator should review progress toward achieving professional goals and measures of student learning/outcomes. Barriers to completing goals and refining existing goals should be discussed as needed. As a result of this review, every educator should have a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve performance goals by the end of the year. Colorado Performance Management System users can view a video on this step in the process. For more information about the mid-year review, see the user’s guide.

Engagement Opportunity for Principals and Assistant Principals

The principal/assistant principal rubric is in its second year of statewide use. Since its rollout in the 2014-15 school year, CDE has received comments from a number of districts that using the same tool for principals and assistant principals causes a problem because the jobs are so different. CDE is establishing a committee to examine this issue and determine whether changes are required.

Principals, assistant principals and other administrators are needed to provide input regarding this important issue. To sign up for the committee, contact Jean Williams at or 303-866-4343.

Need help using the State Model Performance Management System?

Several videos are available to support educators during each step of the State Model Evaluation Process from training/orientation to Measures of Student Learning. Videos can be accessed here or in the help tab in the Colorado Performance Management System.

Each step in the evaluation process has an accompanying support video. See the list of videos available below:

As the system continues to be developed, more videos will be added.

Superintendents and Principals: Have you created, released and assigned MSL templates?

CDE’s guidance documents highlight possible approaches for districts and BOCES to consider when selecting measures of student learning for use in educator evaluations. CDE will collect feedback to improve these documents. Guidance will be revised annually with refined versions released each summer in order to reflect increased understanding and emerging best practices.

There are three versions of guidance available for download:

In addition, three video resources support districts in the creation of MSL templates. Reviewing these resources can help determine the best approach for your district’s implementation and management of the Measures of Student Learning portion of the State Model Evaluation System. The webinars outline the process of creating Measures of Student Learning/Outcomes within the Colorado Performance Management System, each outlining a different way to approach releasing MSL/MSO templates:

Measures of Student Learning -- Professional Learning Community

Interested in joining a Measures of Student Learning (MSL) Professional Learning Community? Collaborate with like-minded peers in developing your understanding of Measures of Student Learning for use in Educator Effectiveness Systems. Share expertise and best practices and collaborate with other educators to find solutions to problems of practice. Interested in learning more? Help CDE better meet your needs by filling out a short survey.

Inter-rater Agreement -- Professional Learning Community

The Educator Effectiveness Unit is offering an opportunity for educators to participate in an Inter-rater Agreement Professional Learning Community. Available to individuals, teams, schools or districts, this opportunity will help to deepen understanding of Teacher Quality Standards. To learn more about this opportunity, view a recorded webinar. Contact Dawn Paré at 303-866-5926 or for further information.

More Information

Visit the Educator Effectiveness website or contact Toby King, Educator Effectiveness Evaluation Systems and Support Director,, 303-866-6964.

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Now is a good time for educators to refocus on the opportunity high-quality standards provide for Colorado’s children. Student learning is at the heart of Colorado’s education improvement initiatives. The Teaching and Learning Unit offers schools and districts resources and supports to enhance student learning and achievement.

What's Happening Now

New Sample Curriculum Units Available this Month

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support will release additional Colorado teacher-authored instructional units based on the Colorado Academic Standards. These units include social studies, personal financial literacy, science, comprehensive health and reading, writing, and communicating. For the first time, one unit at each level (elementary, middle and high school) based on the extended evidence outcomes in reading, writing, and communicating will be available. Units will be available on CDE’s District Sample Curriculum Project webpage by the end of November. For more information, contact Karol Gates, interim director of standards and instructional support, at or 303-866-6576.

Kindergarten School Readiness Initiative Update

In a recent letter to superintendents, Interim Commissioner Elliott Asp provided guidance regarding a kindergarten school readiness assessment. Teaching Strategies introduced a new online platform which includes a version of the GOLD assessment that spans through third-grade. A significant number of Colorado districts have opted to use the platform and reported numerous issues with its functionality. CDE has been in close contact with Teaching Strategies to voice the challenges Colorado users are facing.

Despite these efforts, issues continue with the functionality of the platform. Kindergarten teachers are unable to effectively use the system to support their students and meet the implementation schedule with CAP4K. Because of this, CDE recommends that districts consider this school year as an extension of the phase-in process for the school readiness initiative. As a reminder, there is no state requirement to submit any compliance or outcome data in the 2015-16 school year. CDE encourages districts to use this extension year to continue learning to use the assessment tools and to work through implementation planning.

The department is working with Teaching Strategies to apply credits for subscription purchases for this year to next year’s subscriptions. View more information.

Early Learning and School Readiness staff is available to work with districts on implementation planning and training for teachers. For more information, contact Daryl Gagliano, kindergarten readiness program manager at or 303-866-6971.

READ Act Instructional Programming Review

The READ Act requires the department to periodically review diagnostic and interim assessments for state board approval and to review instructional programs and professional development providers for the department’s advisory list. This fall, CDE is initiating this process for diagnostic assessments.

The department is soliciting evidence- or scientifically based instructional programming for K-3 literacy, including comprehensive, supplemental, intervention and English language development. The review process is expected to be completed by January 2016. Programs meeting the criteria will be added to the Advisory List of Instructional Programming and will be posted online. For questions, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, at or 303-866-6016.

READ Act Professional Development Provider Review

The department is soliciting professional development providers who support evidence- or scientifically based reading research. The review process is expected to be completed by January 2016. Providers meeting the criteria will be added to the Advisory List of Professional Development Providers and posted online. For questions, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, at or 303-866-6016.

READ Act Spanish Interim Reading Assessment Review

In May, the state board voted to accept proposed changes to the READ Act rules related to students who receive literacy instruction in Spanish and English. The rulemaking process was conducted in response to an opinion by the Attorney General’s Office to allow the use of Spanish assessments in the determining a significant reading deficiency for students who receive literacy instruction in Spanish and English. The department is soliciting Spanish interim reading assessments for the purpose of identifying significant reading deficiencies for students who receive their reading instruction in Spanish and English. The review process is expected to be completed by January 2016. Assessments that successfully meet the criteria for Spanish interim assessments will be presented to the state board for approval.

For questions, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, at or 303-866-6016.

READ Act Diagnostic Assessment Review

The department is soliciting diagnostic assessments for use with students who have identified reading deficiencies for which additional assessment information is needed to support instructional plans, including READ plans. The review process is expected to be completed by January 2016. Assessments that meet the criteria for diagnostic assessments will be presented to the state board for approval. For questions, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, at or 303-866-6016.

READ Act Rulemaking Notice

In October, the state board voted to notice the rulemaking process for the Colorado READ Act. Changes to the rules are necessary to bring the READ Act into alignment with H.B. 15-1323. Recommended rule revisions will be posted on the READ Act webpage when the state board meeting agenda is posted. For more information, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, at or 303-866-6016.

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 the unit 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 are the new state tests in English language arts, math, science and social studies that will be administered in one window from April 11 to 29 in the 2015-16 school year. CDE will allow districts to begin testing one to three weeks early if they cannot complete testing within the window due to limitations on the number of computers or other devices needed for testing. The science and social studies tests were developed just 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). View a quick at-a-glance reminder of what tests students will take and when the tests will be given for the 2015-16 school year.

What's Happening Now

CMAS English Language Arts and Mathematics (PARCC) Results To Be Announced Nov. 12

State-level CMAS English language arts and math (PARCC) results will be shared with the Colorado State Board of Education on Nov. 12. Districts are scheduled to have access to electronic student reports and summary reports/files by the end of November on PearsonAccessnext.

Join CDE for a Webinar on the State-Level Release of PARCC Results on Nov. 6

To answer questions you may have about the release, CDE staff will hold a webinar for COSPRA members and superintendents on Friday, Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. The webinar will cover the following:

  • Background on the new tests
  • Release schedule for state-level data and subsequent school- and district-level data
  • Data to be included in each release
  • Sample student reports
  • Resources for parents

Join the webinar on Nov. 6. To access audio, call 1-877-820-7831 and use participant code 375633.

CDE has created a number of resources to help superintendents, principals and teachers communicate effectively with parents about the PARCC results. Visit the Communication Tools page to view a parent’s guide to understanding the scores, a sample presentation for parents, drop-in articles, key messages and other resources.

Assessment Administration Trainings

CDE hosted multiple in-person 2016 assessment administration trainings for district assessment coordinators (DACs) this fall. Specific information about training dates, times and locations was sent to DACs. CoAlt trainings concluded in October, the final ACCESS for ELL trainings will be held Nov. 5 and 10 and CMAS trainings will be held during the first two weeks of November. Recorded webinars are available for those unable to attend in-person.

State Assessment Educator Meetings

The Assessment Unit is often asked how educators who administer state assessments can influence test development. The best way to directly influence assessment content is through participation in the variety of educator meetings held throughout the development cycle. The following educator meetings will be held over the next few months:

  • Nov. 9-10: CMAS Alignment Study
  • Nov. 12: CoAlt Alignment Study
  • Dec. 10: CSLA Grade 4 Data Review

Please share the following information with educators in your district:

Science and Social Studies Educator Meetings: To be added to the educator pool, interested educators should submit information here. Contact Katie Schmidt at or 303-866-6808 for more information about science and social studies educator meetings.

English Language Arts and Mathematics Educator Meetings (PARCC): Interested educators should email Stephanie Boyd at or 303-866-6849 to be added to the educator pool.

Colorado Spanish Language Arts (CSLA) Educator Meetings: Interested bilingual educators should email Heather Villalobos-Pavia at or 303-866-6118 to be added to the educator pool.

What's on the Horizon

Pre-ID Assessment Data Snapshot

Districts should update Student Interchange data by Dec. 18 (end of day) for Assessment Pre-ID extracts. The data snapshot will be used to generate pre-identification labels for paper tests and student registration information for CMAS (science/social studies and PARCC English language arts and math) and CoAlt (science/social studies and DLM English language arts and math).

Preparation for Spring Assessment Administrations

Districts should be identifying the assessments they intend to administer via paper by grades and subjects and by school, if applicable. For CMAS, district assessment coordinators will be told how to provide this high level information to the vendor at their trainings.

During November and December, districts should gather accommodations information for students in preparation for spring assessments. For CMAS, in January, districts will have the opportunity to update assessment administration mode (online or paper) at the student level, confirm student registration information, and make initial material orders in PearsonAccessnext.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

  • Nov. 2: Southwest Region CMAS Training – Alamosa
  • Nov. 3: Southeast Region CMAS Training – La Junta
  • Nov. 4: Pikes Peak Region CMAS Training – Colorado Springs
  • Nov. 5: ACCESS Training – Limon
  • Nov. 6: Metro Region CMAS Training – Aurora
  • Nov. 9: West Central Region CMAS Training – Grand Junction
  • Nov. 10: Northwest Region CMAS Training – Glenwood Springs
  • Nov. 10: Live Webinar ACCESS Training
  • Nov 12: Northeast Region CMAS Training – Limon
  • Nov. 13: North Central Region CMAS Training – Brush
  • Nov. 13: ACCESS for ELLs order window closes (kindergarten, paper, alternate ACCESS, braille, large print, etc.)
  • Dec. 15: Unique Accommodations Requests due to CDE
  • Dec. 18: Deadline for updating student information in data pipeline (This data will be used for generating the registration files and pre-ID labels for CMAS and CoAlt.)
  • December: PARCC test administration manuals are available.
  • January: Initial material order window opens in PearsonAccessnext for CMAS: English language arts/literacy, Colorado Spanish language arts, math, science and social studies. CoAlt science and social studies initial material order updates should also be made.

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 and Improvement Resources

The Priority Improvement and Turnaround Supplement to the Accountability Handbook is available. The department developed this supplement to the Accountability Handbook to detail the critical information for a Priority Improvement or Turnaround district or school. This includes listing state statutory and regulatory consequences, timelines for actions on each year of Priority Improvement or Turnaround, implications for improvement planning and federal programs and available supports. View the supplement.

Additional resources are also available:

  • Accountability Handbook - Provides districts and schools with a description of the state accountability process, stakeholder roles (e.g., local boards, districts, accountability committees), coordination with ESEA requirements, improvement planning expectations, timelines and related resources.
  • School and District Data Dashboards - Visualizations of demographic, performance and accountability data, have been updated. Data that is typically shared through the frameworks are available this year through the state data resource report embedded within the dashboard.
  • Fact Sheet – Summarizing the state datasets and data tools during 2015-16.
  • State Assessment Transition Guidance Document to inform improvement planning
  • Guide to Accessing Pre-Populated UIPs

Accountability and Data Analysis Office Hours

Districts may register for office hours with Accountability and Data Analysis Unit staff. Office hours are for districts/schools to ask individual questions about state performance data, DISH reports or local data. Fifteen minute blocks are scheduled for call-ins, but districts/schools may sign-up for consecutive sessions if more time is needed. Office hours are available Wednesdays from 2 - 4 p.m. Sign up here.

Accountability Work Group

The Accountability Work Group has been sharing recommendations for the next iteration of School and District Performance Frameworks (to be released in fall 2016) and asking for feedback around the state at superintendent and other stakeholder meetings. If you would like a member of the Accountability Work Group to share draft recommendations and collect input at a specific convening, contact Alyssa Pearson at or 303-866-6855.

At the Nov. 16 meeting, the work group will reflect on feedback and make recommendations for the spring informational reports. View more information.

Accountability for Alternative Education Campuses

The Alternative Education Campus Accountability Work Group is charged with looking at revisions to the AEC School Performance Frameworks and related accountability. The fifth and final meeting is Nov. 11. View more information. A final report with recommendations will be available in December.

UIP Fall Trainings

The UIP team is offering regional action planning sessions in November. The trainings focus on designing and implementing a UIP action plan that effectively supports performance management. Participants can reflect on their current action plan, identify areas to strengthen, learn about new infrastructure and tools to effectively monitor the plan and gather actionable data and practice writing actionable implementation benchmarks. View more information. If you’d like a customized UIP training, please let your field manager know or contact Erin Loften at or 303-866-6642.

What's on the Horizon

Unified Improvement Planning Submission Dates

Every district and school must submit a revised/updated UIP by April 15 (small, rural districts and schools with a Performance plan type may submit plans biennially). Schools and districts with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type (2014) must submit by Jan. 15. View more information.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

  • Jan. 15 – Deadline for schools and districts with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type (2014) to submit UIPs through the online UIP system or the Tracker system for winter UIP review from CDE.

More Information

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

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Postsecondary Readiness

CDE supports the various ways students can enter postsecondary education by working with districts and schools in thinking through the personalization of a pathway through high school and on to college and career for every student.

What's Happening Now

Graduation Guidelines Resources

Visit the Graduation Guidelines page for a copy of the graduation guidelines menu of options, suggested timeline, implementation strategies, resources and promising practices. For information about hosting a conversation about graduation guidelines in your district or region, contact Robin Russel,, 303.866.2908.

Confirm/Update Your ICAP Coordinator

In October, CDE emailed district ICAP (Individual Career and Academic Plan) coordinators to confirm their contact information. If you have a new ICAP coordinator in your district, please email Robin Russel with the most up-to-date information: name, title, email and phone number:

Complete an ICAP Survey

CDE is interested in learning more about how district ICAP implementation has changed since last December’s ICAP Summit, and what kinds of resources districts would like to access this year. A survey was mailed to ICAP coordinators in October. CDE welcomes feedback from other district administrators. The survey closes Nov. 20.

Submit a Nomination for an ICAP Award

CDE is looking for nominations for the ICAP awards. The awards honor those who best demonstrate a meaningful ICAP process within a building, school or district. Educators have the opportunity to nominate administrators, school counselors and teachers for awards in each of three categories. Nominations are due Nov. 20 and winners will be honored at the Colorado State Board of Education meeting in January.

For more information about ICAP coordinators, the ICAP survey or the ICAP Awards, contact Robin Russel,, 303-866-2908.

More Information

Visit the Schools of Choice website or contact Gretchen Morgan, Interim Associate Commissioner of Innovation, Choice and Engagement,, 303-866-6740.

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Organizational Effectiveness

This month’s Organizational Effectiveness update focuses on Data Pipeline.Student October has November due dates. The Access for ELLs label pull occurs Nov. 12. Migrant regions have deadlines to address this month. The Human Resources and December Count snapshots open in November. The 2015- 16 Teacher Student Data Link interchange opens this month.

What's Happening Now

End of Year

The post cross LEA validation phase, verifying transfers and dropouts within Colorado occurs until Dec. 3. Please contact Duncan Anderson,, to have your district unlocked to make these adjustments. Superintendent signatures may be sent once the post cross LEA validation issues are addressed. The collection will be finalized on Dec. 10.

Migrant Data

The last day to enter all required data elements into the New Generation System for eligible migrant students recruited, counted and served by programs for the 2014-15 school year is Nov. 27. Regions are required to complete the 2014-15 FTE Staff Tables by Nov. 30.

2014-15 Finance

Local education agencies should continue to submit files. The due date is Dec. 31.

Student October

Local education agencies must submit by the Nov. 10 legislated deadline. Duplicate documents must be submitted to the Field Analyst Support Team (FAST) by Nov.13. Decisions will be made and districts notified by Nov. 18. Collection finalization occurs Nov. 20.

Access for ELLs

Data will be pulled from untagged student files for this collection on Nov. 12.


Continue to collect non-public school information by Dec. 1. Districts may update school board membership from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1.

Human Resources

Snapshot opens Nov. 2. The deadlines for this collection have been aligned with the Special Education staff component of the December Count.

December Count

Administrative units should continue submitting files. Snapshots may be taken beginning Nov. 2.

Teacher Student Data Link

The TSDL interchange opens this month.

What's on the Horizon

There are upcoming December due dates for 2014-15 Student End of Year and Finance. Local education agencies will send in non-public school membership and update school board membership, if applicable, by early December. Both the CMAS/CoAlt science and social Studies and CMAS: PARCC English language arts and math label pulls occur in mid-December.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

  • Nov. 10 Initial legislated Student October deadline
  • Nov. 12 – Access for ELLs label pull
  • Nov. 12 – Duplicate Student October documentation due to FAST
  • Nov. 20 Student October finalization
  • Nov. 27 Deadline for migrant regions to enter NGS required data elements
  • Nov. 30 Migrant regions must complete the 2014-15 FTE Staff Tables
  • Dec. 1 – Date by which districts send non-public school information to the department
  • Dec. 1 – School board membership directory updates due
  • Dec. 3 – End of Year post cross LEA validation (verifying transfers and dropouts within Colorado) due
  • Dec. 10 – End of Year deadline

More Information

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

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