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Alternative Education Campus Accountability


Alternate Education Campuses (AECs) are schools with specialized missions designed to serve high-risk student populations. The Education Accountability Act of 2009 (SB 09-163) authorizes the Department to conduct a distinct performance review for those schools that meet the definition of an AEC. The state's performance framework for AECs takes into account the unique purposes of the campuses and the unique circumstances of the challenges posed by the students enrolled in the campuses.


Which students are considered high risk students?

AECs have specialized missions, nontraditional methods of instruction delivery, serve students with severe limitations, and have student populations that are comprised of at least 90% high risk students.

High risk students are those who meet one or more of 15 conditions:

  1. Juvenile delinquent

  2. Dropped out of school

  3. Expelled from school

  4. History of personal drug or alcohol use

  5. History of personal street gang involvement

  1. History of child abuse or neglect/foster care
  2. Has a parent or guardian in prison

  3. Has an IEP

  4. Family history of domestic violence

  5. Repeated school suspensions

  1. Pregnant or parenting

  2. Migrant child

  3. Homeless child

  4. History of serious psychiatric or behavioral disorder

  5. Over-age/ under-credited

Which schools are desginated as AECs?

Below is the list of current AECs as approved by the State Board of Education.

ADA Archive Icon  For past AEC designations, please visit the AEC Archive.

How is performance assessed for AECs?

In addition to Academic Achievement, Academic Growth, and Postsecondary & Workforce Readiness, AECs have an additional required measure of Student Engagement, and weightings of measures are slightly different from traditional schools to account for the high-risk population of students served.

AEC vs Traditional Performance Assessment Pie Chart

What overall ratings are assigned for AECs?

AECs are assigned one of four ratings based on the percentage of points earned across the four performance indicators shown in the pie chart above. Insufficient state data is assigned if there is not enough outcome data to assign a rating.

AEC Plan Types

AEC Performance Plan - AECs with a Performance Plan are meeting expectations on the majority of performance metrics.

AEC Improvement Plan - These AECs are identified as lower performing. They may be meeting expectations on some performance metrics, but they are not meeting or are only approaching expectations on many.

AEC Priority Improvement Plan - These AECs are identified as low performing. They are not meeting or are only approaching expectations on most performance metrics. The state will provide support and oversight to these schools until they improve.

AEC Turnaround Plan - These AECs are identified as among the lowest performing schools in the state. They are not meeting or are only approaching expectations on most performance metrics. The state will provide support and oversight to these schools until they improve.

AEC Insufficient State Data - Historically, the Insufficient State Data plan type has not been assigned to AECs. In 2022, given the lack of required data available, a portion of AECs did not have enough data to meaningfully determine their performance. Insufficient State Data plan types were assigned to AECs using the same criteria used to assign this plan type to non-AEC schools. 


  Introductory Resources

  Legislative Resources

  • HB15-1350: Alternative Education Campus (AEC) Accountability Workgroup Report (PDF) - December 1, 2015
    Per HB15-1350, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) was required to form a group of stakeholders from the Alternative Education Campus (AEC) community to gather feedback on the next iteration of Alternative Education Campus accountability, specifically the School Performance Framework to form the Alternative Education Campus Accountability Work Group (AEC AWG). On December 1, 2015, the AEC AWG submitted five written recommendations to the CDE Commissioner, the Education Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the State Board of Education.

  • 1 CCR 301-57, The Administration of Accountability for Alternative Campuses (PDF) - December 15, 2016
    On April 13, 2011, the State Board of Education voted to amend rules concerning accountability for Alternative Education Campuses.

ADA Expert Resource IconPolicy and Guidance Documents for AECs


ADA Archive Icon  For past AEC resources, please visit the AEC Archive.

Helpful Links

  • For information on the AEC collections for school and district staff, please visit our AEC Collections page.

Contact Us 

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