As a dynamic service agency, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) provides leadership, resources, support and accountability to the state’s 178 school districts, 1,836 schools, close to 56,000 teachers and over 2,800 administrators to help them build capacity to meet the needs of the state’s approximately 889,000 public school students.
CDE also provides services and support to boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES), early learning centers, state correctional schools, facility schools, the state’s libraries, adult/family literacy centers, and General Education Development (GED) testing centers reaching learners of all ages. CDE operates the Colorado Talking Book Library which provides supports for people who have vision, print, and reading disabilities.
In addition, CDE provides structural and administrative support to the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind and the Charter School Institute.
As the administrative arm of the State Board of Education, CDE is responsible for implementing state and federal education laws, disbursing state and federal funds, holding schools and districts accountable for performance, licensing all educators, and providing public transparency of performance and financial data.
CDE serves students, parents, and the general public by protecting the public trust through ensuring adherence to laws, strong stewardship of public funds, and accountability for student performance.
All students graduate ready for college and careers, and are prepared to be productive citizens of Colorado.
The mission of the Colorado Department of Education is to ensure equity and opportunity for every student, every step of the way.
Fact Sheets and FAQs
These short documents provide a high level understanding on many hot topics around Colorado’s education system.
See also: A synopsis of commonly requested Colorado Education Facts and Figures (PDF)
Goals by 2022
The department has four overarching goals that are focused on supporting students through every step of their schooling. The goals are described in greater details in the strategic plan (PDF).
- 88% of students will be reading by the end of third grade.
- 80% of schools needing support and academic improvement will raise and maintain their performance.
- 66% of students will earn a postsecondary credential, degree or certificate after high school.
- 20% more historically underserved students will achieve academic expectations.
Support High Quality Early Learning and Literacy for All Students
Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning how to read to using reading skills to master the more complex subjects in fourth grade and beyond. In fact, students who cannot read by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. By focusing on support for our youngest students and their educators, the department can ensure more students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade and build a strong foundation for continued success in school.
All Means All
Expand Access and Opportunity for Historically Underserved Students
In Colorado, students from a number of historically underserved backgrounds ─ specifically those from economically challenged communities, racial minority groups and students with disabilities ─ continue to fall short of their academic potential and are missing the skill sets to compete with their middle-class peers. By concentrating on equity as a foundational construct of our work at CDE, we will empower schools and districts in their efforts to increase access and opportunity and ultimately reduce the pervasive influence that systemic inequities have on student outcomes.
Prioritize and Maximize Support for Schools and Districts Identified for Academic Improvements
Schools and districts that are identified for improvement through the state and federal accountability systems all have different needs, based on the context of their communities. By working with each district and schools to understand their needs and invest in strategies to be successful, we will help them progressively improve and maintain their improvement on the state performance frameworks.
Expand High School Options to Ensure All Students Are Ready for College and/or Living-Wage Jobs
Students who graduate and work in Colorado need in-demand skills that meet business, industry and higher education standards. By 2020, three out of four jobs in Colorado will require education or training beyond high school. That adds up to three million jobs.
By increasing options for high school students and fostering expansion of successful high school models, we can ensure that at least 66 percent of the class of 2022 go on to earn a postsecondary credential, certificate or degree within five years. When we achieve this goal, we will fuel Colorado’s economy with educated students who are prepared for a college education, good paying job or military service.
Develop a Strong Pipeline of High-Quality Teachers and Principals and Provide Deeper Support for School and District Leaders
Research shows that teachers have a bigger impact on student performance than any other school-based factor. And the number one reason teachers leave is lack of support by a high-quality principal. We can learn from the workforce development approaches of public and private industries that focus on growing talent in a strategic and intentional way by recruiting, developing and supporting their workforce. By developing, deploying and supporting talent management and human capital development strategies for districts and schools, we can ensure that every classroom has an effective educator and all students are prepared for college, career and life.
Underpinning our success with each of our key initiatives will be our commitment to excellence with each of our core programs and operations. By holding ourselves to the highest degree of excellence in customer service and performance, we will effectively implement our key initiatives and accomplish our goals.
Our Brand: The CDE Shield
The shield symbol concept for CDE was developed with consideration of the department's vision, mission, goals and input received from staff. The most prominent of these ideas were next generation symbols and the idea of growth and achievement.
- The star symbol was chosen because it signifies a high standard, achievement and aspiration. The star is a timeless symbol that inspires exploration and innovation.
- The upward lines add a dynamic quality that communicates forward movement and supports the idea that education is boundless. Education doesn’t end with a diploma; it creates a path for lifelong learning.
For additional information, email Jane Schold at email@example.com.