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CDE Update

CDE Update

About the CDE Update

Welcome to the CDE Update! Each month, this publication will show you what is happening in key priority areas at CDE and include details on implementation, milestones, deadlines and resources.

This online format allows you to view everything or filter by category and date and will be your go-to source for all Update information.

December 2018

Accountability, Performance and Support

Colorado’s education accountability system is based on the belief that every student should receive an excellent education and graduate ready to succeed. Successful schools and districts are recognized and serve as models, while those that are struggling receive support. As required by state and federal laws, schools and districts are identified as needing improvement and support if they have low graduation rates and/or low performance of historically underserved students, including as English learners and economically disadvantaged students. Thy also are identified if they have low overall performance of students based on state assessments and postsecondary workforce readiness indicators.

What's Happening Now

Public Reporting of School and District Performance Frameworks

The School Performance Frameworks will become public and will be posted on in conjunction with the December State Board of Education meeting. 

District Performance Frameworks were made public in November. For more information, visit the Performance Frameworks Results webpage.

School and District Performance Framework Requests to Reconsider

CDE is reviewing the Requests to Reconsider that were submitted to the department. District requests were reviewed first and determinations were shared with the board at the November board meeting. School level requests will receive a response before the December meeting.

For more information, visit the request to reconsider webpage. Contact Jessica Watson at or 303-866-6778 with questions.

Small Systems and Combined Unified Improvement Plans

Districts with fewer than 1,000 students
As a reminder, districts with fewer than 1,000 enrolled students have the option to write one combined plan that incorporates planning for the district and all schools within the district. Districts with fewer than 1,000 students do not need to request permission to write a combined plan but must incorporate all planning requirements for the district and member schools. For example, if a school within the district is assigned to a turnaround plan, the combined Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) must include the turnaround requirements for that school. All combined plans should be written using the district-level template with the pre-populated report (Section I) for each school attached to the plan.

Districts with fewer than 1,200 students
Districts with student enrollment between 1,000 and 1,200 students may request to write a combined plan for the district and schools. These districts must request permission from CDE each year to write a combined plan. Requests can be sent to Lisa Steffen at If district enrollment grows greater than 1,200 students, the district is no longer eligible to write and submit a combined UIP.

For questions about the UIP process, contact Lisa Steffen at or 303-866-6676.

What's on the Horizon

UIP Submissions Dates

Schools and districts with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type must submit a revised/updated UIP by Tuesday, Jan. 15. All other districts and schools must submit a revised/updated UIP by April 15. Districts and schools with a Performance plan type may be eligible for biennial submission. 

Parent Notification Requirements for Districts with Schools on the Accountability Clock

For districts with schools on the Accountability Clock (i.e., priority improvement, turnaround), CDE is collecting the notification sent to parents with information about the school’s plan type, UIP process and about the upcoming public hearing. The parent notifications can be emailed to or attached to the school’s UIP by Tuesday, Jan. 15.

 For more information, read the Parent Notification Fact Sheet (PDF) or contact Lisa Medler, or 303-866-6993, or Lisa Steffen, or 303-866-6676.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Dec. 12: District and School Performance Frameworks will be posted on

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

Jan. 15: Deadline for districts with schools on the Accountability Clock to send parent notification to CDE

Jan. 25: Deadline for districts to notify B Sanders ( of new schools they serve which intend to apply for Alternative Education Campus designation for the first time. Notification can be sent by email with the CDE school code included in the body of the email.  

More Information

For more information, contact Alan Dillon, associate commissioner, 303‐866‐6202,, or visit


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 (CMAS) are the state tests in English language arts, math, science and social studies. The PSAT and SAT are administered to high school students in grades 9-11.

What's Happening Now

CMAS and CoAlt High School Social Studies Assessment

Given the current status of the high school CMAS/CoAlt Social Studies assessment and the spring adoption of the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), CDE has determined that administering the high school social studies assessments in 11th grade for the first time this spring is not in the best interest of students or schools. Therefore, the high school social studies assessment will be deferred in 2018-19. Determinations about how to move forward with this assessment in subsequent years will be based on district approaches to implementing the 2020 CAS, as well as stakeholder priorities.

Note: The deferral only applies to high school social studies. The sampled fourth and seventh grade CMAS/CoAlt Social Studies and the fifth, eighth and 11th grade CMAS/CoAlt Science assessments will be administered as scheduled.

Upcoming CMAS Deadlines

  • By Friday, Dec. 14, District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) must notify CDE’s Assessment Unit of the following Local Education Provider (districts and charter schools) administration decisions:
    • By content area and grade, district or school intent to use paper-based testing as main testing format for CMAS administration. CDE will use this information to indicate paper-based testing for the identified schools/grades/content areas in the initial spring testing registration file. Additional information will be provided to DACs during regional training.
    • District-selected CMAS and CoAlt administration window. Requests for extended computer-based assessment window for ELA and math, early 11th grade CMAS testing window, or regular state assessment window should be submitted. Additional information was provided to District Assessment Coordinators at CMAS training sessions. Dates corresponding to the extended and early windows are available on the Assessment Information section of the CDE website.
  • Also by Dec. 14, DACs must submit Unique Accommodation Requests (UARs) to the CDE Assessment Unit. UARs are required for accommodations that may change the construct being measured by the assessment (e.g., reading of the reading assessment through text-to-speech or oral script and using a calculator on the non-calculator section of the test).

Pre-ID Data Pulls

Pre-ID extract data for the CMAS, PSAT/SAT and Dynamic Learning Maps Consortia (DLM) assessments will be pulled from final approved October count files in December.

What's on the Horizon

ACCESS for ELLs Assessment Window

The ACCESS for English language learner assessment window opens on Monday, Jan. 14, and closes on Friday, Feb. 15.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Week of Dec. 10: ACCESS for ELLs materials arrive in districts

Dec. 14: Deadline for submitting CMAS paper testing mode for inclusion in initial registration file and CMAS and CoAlt early/extended administration window requests

Dec. 14: Unique Accommodations Requests due

Mid December: Pre-ID extract data pulled from finalized October count files for CMAS (including CSLA), CoAlt, and PSAT/SAT

Jan. 7-25: Confirm student registrations in PearsonAccessnext for initial CMAS (all content areas) and CoAlt (science and social studies) orders

Jan. 14: ACCESS for ELLs testing window opens

More Information

For more information on assessments, contact Joyce Zurkowski, Chief Assessment Officer, 303-866-6760,, or visit

Educator Talent

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 assist great educators.

What's Happening Now

Understanding the English Learner Professional Learning requirements for teachers with a professional license

The new English Learner Professional Learning requirements must be met only by teachers with professional licenses with an elementary, English language arts, math, science or social studies endorsement. In addition, teachers with licenses in all other endorsement areas may elect to also meet the requirements. The same holds true for special service providers, principals and administrators, too. Individuals with a culturally and linguistically diverse endorsement, or its linguistically diverse predecessor, automatically meet this requirement.

Educators who choose to meet the English Learner PD requirement but aren't required to can visit the Educator Talent News webpage for more information.

Detailed information about the English Learner PD requirement, the timeline for meeting it and how educators may document and demonstrate that they have done so can be found on at the English Learner PD Requirements - Information for Educators webpage.

Quality Teacher Recruitment Grant Program now available 

The 2019-21 Quality Teacher Recruitment Grant Program application window is now open. A total of $2.96 million is available, over the two year period, to organizations collaborating with school districts and BOCES to recruit, select, train and retain highly qualified teachers in areas that have historic difficulty in attracting and retaining quality teachers.

Since 2014, 694 teachers have been recruited and placed in high needs schools and subject areas around Colorado through the Quality Teacher Recruitment Program (QTRP) with positive outcomes in retaining these teachers over the last four years. The program also includes funding for the department to contract with a third-party evaluator to track and review the program’s outcomes. 

Grant letters of intent are due Friday, Dec. 14, with grant applications due April 11. For additional details about the grant, register for an informational webinar to be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6.

For more information, contact Jennifer Simons at or 303-866-6793.

Funding Available for Local Teacher Retention Strategies

The application for the Retaining Teachers Grant Program is now available. This grant program provides school districts, charter schools, and BOCES the opportunity to implement a wide variety of locally appropriate strategies to improve their ability to successfully retain teachers. A total of $2,742,557 is available for grants over three years (FY 2018-19 through FY 2020-21). Proposals are due to CDE by Jan. 11. The RFP, along with a link to register for an informational webinar, can be found on the Educator Talent Policy Updates page under ‘Educator Shortage Funding Opportunities’.

For more information, contact Jennifer Simons at 303-866-6794 or

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Dec. 14: Letter of Intent for Quality Teacher Recruitment Program (QTRP) grant deadline

Jan. 11: Proposals for Retaining Teachers Grant Program due

More Information

For more information, contact Colleen O'Neil, associate commissioner, 303-866-6945, or visit


During the 2018-19 school year, CDE will implement its State ESSA plan that was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in May 2018. Accordingly, schools have been identified for support and improvement under ESSA and districts have been notified of their identified schools. Several ESSA requirements go into effect this year, and the CDE Update will be used to inform superintendents of these requirements. This month’s issue will outline improvement planning, monitoring, and reporting requirements under ESSA. 

What's Happening Now

ESSA Requirements for Schools Identified for Support and Improvement in 2018-19

ESSA-identified schools must develop and implement improvement plans that address the reasons for the schools’ identification. Improvement plans for schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CS) must be reviewed and approved by the school, district, and CDE. In Colorado, the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) will be used as the CS improvement plan. Beginning with the 2019 UIP submission timeline and process, CDE will review UIPs from schools identified as CS to ensure they meet ESSA requirements. If any changes are necessary before CDE can approve the UIP in accordance with ESSA, the district will be notified and CDE will collaborate with the district to determine the timeline for changes.

Five ESSA requirements are tied to CS plans, three of which will be reviewed for approval in the 2019 UIP cycle: stakeholder engagement in plan development, basing improvement strategies on a school-level needs assessment, and relying on evidence-based interventions in the improvement plan. The remaining two indicators (monitoring and evaluation of plan implementation and identifying and addressing resource inequities) will not be reviewed for approval until the 2020 UIP cycle.

Districts are responsible for the development, approval, and oversight of improvement plans for schools identified for Targeted Support and Improvement (TS) under ESSA. Districts may decide to use the UIP to meet TS improvement plan requirements or they may choose to develop another process and format that better meets local needs.

For additional information about the improvement planning requirements for CS and TS schools, visit the ESSA Planning Requirements webpage. For questions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, at or 303-866-6205 or Laura Meushaw at or 303-866-6618.

2018-19 Consolidated Application     

Final comments and approvals are being sent to districts for the 2018-19 application funding year. After final approval is granted, districts can begin to request reimbursement of ESSA expenditures by submitting the CDE Request for Funds form. Visit the ESSA Allocations and Fiscal Files webpage for the Request for Funds form.

For questions about the Request for Funds form (XLS) or to request reimbursement, contact Robert Hawkins at or 303-866-6775.

The post-award revision process provides an opportunity for districts and BOCES to adjust or revise the activities and budgets that were approved in the initial consolidated application review process. The 2018-19 post award revision system opens soon. For questions about the post-award revision process, contact your ESEA Regional Contact.

ESSA Monitoring

Districts selected to participate in monitoring in 2018-19 have been notified. ESSA monitoring will begin in January.

A series of training webinars have been recorded and posted on the CDE website to help districts and BOCES prepare for monitoring in the 2018-19 school year. Additional webinars will be posted as they are developed. Training topics will include ESSA requirements and monitoring indicators as well as the monitoring process and protocols to be used for scheduling, conducting and following up on monitoring results.

November’s webinars were focused on stakeholder engagement requirements under ESSA and the focus of December’s webinar will be on fiscal requirements. For additional information, visit the ESSA monitoring webpage.

For questions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, at or 303-866-6205, DeLilah Collins at or 303-866-6850, or Joey Willett at or 303-866-6700.

ESSA Public Reporting Requirements

Schools and districts are required under ESSA, just as they were under the No Child Left Behind Act, to develop and publish a local report card that informs stakeholders of the performance of their schools in comparison to other schools in the district as well as the performance of the district when compared to other districts in the state. School and district reports cards for the 2017-18 school year should be made available by the end of January. As with past years, CDE will post data on its website that schools and districts can reference on their websites to meet this federal public reporting requirement. Once made available, the data will be posted on the ESSA Local Report Card webpage.

If the school or district is creating its own report cards and is not referring its community members to the CDE website, it must notify CDE of the website on which the local report card has been posted by sending the link to Tina Negley at

Visit the Changes to Federal Reporting Under ESSA webpage to view a recording of a webinar pertaining to ESSA school and district reporting requirements and support provided by CDE

For questions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, at or 303-866-6205, Tina Negley at or 303-866-5243, or Alexandra Tolentino at or 303-866-4571.

What's on the Horizon

Requirements for Schools Identified for ESSA Support and Improvement in 2018-19

Schools and districts are required to establish criteria and timelines for exiting schools identified for Targeted Support and Improvement (TS). CDE will be developing a process for collecting information from districts that are establishing their own criteria and timelines for exiting TS schools. If they do not wish to develop criteria and timelines at the local level, CDE will also be developing recommended criteria and timelines that can be used by districts.

For suggestions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson at or 303-866-6205, or Laura Meushaw at or 303-866-6618.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

More Information

For more information on Federal Programs, contact Patrick Chapman, executive director, at 303-866-6780 or or visit

Organizational Effectiveness

What's Happening Now

Non-public School Directory

Non-public schools must be entered into Data Pipeline by Monday, Dec. 3.


Newly elected school board members must be entered into Data Pipeline by Monday, Dec. 3.

Student End of Year

The 2017-18 End of Year Post Cross LEA validation, which verifies transfers and dropouts within Colorado, is almost complete. The final approval deadline is Thursday, Dec. 6, and districts should work to review their rates prior to that deadline.   

Student October

Student October signature pages are due Thursday, Dec. 6. This information is embargoed from public release until Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Kindergarten School Readiness

The Kindergarten School Readiness data collection will close Thursday, Dec. 6. Data reported to CDE comes from the initial fall assessment window, which is the first 60 calendar days of the school year as required by HB 15-1323.


Local education agencies will receive monthly notifications for direct certification of identified migrant students through Data Pipeline for SY 2018-19. Friday, Dec. 14, is the last day to enter all required data elements for all eligible migrant students recruited, counted and served by your program for SY 2017-18.

CMAS, CoAlt ELA/Math (DLM), CoAlt Sci/SS, CO PSAT, and CO SAT

The pre-ID extract for CMAS, CoAlt ELA/Math (DLM), CoAlt Sci/SS, CO PSAT, and CO SAT assessments will occur in December once Student October is finalized. Data will be pulled from approved Student October files so local education agencies do not need to alter Data Pipeline files on or near this date. 

December Finance

The 2017-18 December Finance snapshot is open and is due on the last day of the month.

Human Resources

Staff interchange files may be uploaded to the Data Pipeline and snapshots may be taken. The collection will close Thursday, Feb. 21.

Special Education December Count

IEP interchange files and staff interchange files may be uploaded.  Snapshots may be taken for the official December Count collection. Thursday, Dec. 20, is the date to have all Staff and IEP Interchange errors resolved.

Designated Agency

The 2018-19 Designated Agency collection is open. Designated agencies may enter 2018-19 candidates into the Data Pipeline until Aug. 31.


The 2018-19 Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL) is open and available for reporting data for districts with migrant students. All other districts are also able to report TSDL data, however it is not required. To clarify, all districts do not need to submit the course instructor file. 

For districts with migrant students:

  1. local courses codes must be mapped,
  2. course enrollment file must be uploaded for any eighth-12th grade migrant student receiving partial or full credit and;
  3. the snapshot must be created and finalized for migrant students. 

For districts without migrant students:

  1. local courses codes do not need to be mapped,
  2. no TSDL data file is required to be uploaded and;
  3. the snapshot does not need to be created or finalized. 

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Dec. 3: 

  • Non-public schools directory deadline
  • Newly elected school board members must be entered into directory

Dec. 6: 

  • Student End of Year final approval deadline
  • Student October signature pages due
  • Kindergarten School Readiness closes

Dec. 14:  Migrant regions should enter data for all eligible migrant students recruited, counted and served in SY 2017-18

Dec. 31:  December Finance due date

Jan. 8:  2018-19 Student October release

Jan. 17: 2017-18 Student End of Year release

More Information

For more information on data pipeline, contact Jan Petro, director of data services, 303-866-6838, or visit

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now

Early Learning and School Readiness

Kindergarten School Readiness data reporting

Senate Bill 08-212, Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K), requires the annual reporting of the kindergarten levels of school readiness. The data collection is open for the 2017-18 school year and will close on Thursday, Dec. 6. Online training and virtual support is available. Information about the kindergarten school readiness data collection and training can be found on the school readiness webpage.

For more information about the School Readiness data collection, contact Tara Rhodes, Early Learning business analyst, at 303-866-6243 or

Application submissions for Early Literacy Grant Program

The Early Literacy Grant Program assists local education providers in embedding the essential components of reading instruction into their K-3 teaching structures. The grant focuses on universal, targeted and intensive instructional interventions to assist all students in achieving reading competency. Approximately $1.2 million is available for the current school year. Download the application (DOC)

The READ Act

READ Act Rules updated

The State Board of Education voted in October to revise the Colorado READ Act rules, bringing the rules into alignment with Senate Bill 18-1393 relating to the Early Literacy Grant. The changes to the rules create modifications to the grant fund distribution and create a simplified grant application process for rural and small rural school districts as well as charter schools that are located within the boundaries of rural or small rural districts.

For more information about early literacy support, contact Anji Gallanos, director of the Preschool through 3rd Grade office, at 720-527-0497 or


Access introductory materials for the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards

Introductory materials for the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards are available. Materials include information about the review and revision process, previous drafts, committee meeting summaries and public feedback for each content area. The Office of Standards & Instructional Support (SIS) encourages educators to use these alongside the Standards Online to create customized views and take a deeper dive into the updated standards.

Districts will have two years to review and revise their local standards as needed with implementation scheduled for the 2020-21 school year, which is the first year the Colorado Measures of Academic Success assessments will reflect the content of the 2020 standards.

For more information, visit the Office of Standards and Instructional Support homepage. For questions, contact Floyd Cobb, executive director, Teaching & Learning Unit, at or 303-866-6868.

Science Implementation Feedback

CDE is soliciting feedback on the implementation timeline for the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards for Science. The legislated timeline for districts to transition to the revised standards allows for two years, with full implementation to occur during the 2020-21 school year. Some considerations for the content area of science only include:

  • Keep science on the same implementation timeline as the other standards, OR
  • Delay implementation to allow districts time to prepare for adjustments in the state assessment system.

The survey for feedback will be open until Friday, Dec. 14. Take the survey via Survey Monkey.

Colorado expands Computer Science Education

The first week of December is Computer Science Education Week, a time dedicated to inspiring K-12 students and teachers in the area of computer science. With demand for computer science degree holders far outpacing current supply in Colorado, state policymakers have invested in providing more training for K-12 teachers in order to expand opportunities to students.

Over the last two years, the state legislature and the State Board of Education have taken several steps to support K-12 teachers as they continue to help students who strive towards good-paying jobs or higher education programs in computer science. Professional development grants of nearly $1 million along with new academic standards in computer science and a bank of online resources are some of the investments the state has made.

For more information about opportunities and resources visit the CDE Computer Science webpage

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

For more information, contact Melissa Colsman, associate commissioner of Student Learning, 303-866-6737, or visit

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