May 9, 2019
State Board of Education approves MGT as external manager for Adams 14 School District
Board considers new measure in school and district ratings
DENVER – The State Board of Education at its monthly two-day meeting approved Adams 14 School District’s selection of MGT Consulting Group as the external manager tasked with improving student outcomes for the district.
MGT will be given authority to implement an instructional program, recruit and retain personnel, make changes to district policies, and recommend changes to the collective bargaining agreement as well as any other authority needed to make substantial improvements to student outcomes, according to the state board’s November 2018 order that required Adams 14 to turn over key management functions to an external entity.
Adams 14 and MGT have 30 days to enter into a contract. Per the state board’s order, the contract shall begin by July 1, 2019.
The state board also directed MGT to assess Adams 14’s Central Elementary School and report back by Sept. 1, 2019, with a proposed course of action for the school, which has received a priority improvement rating for six consecutive years.
Board considers addition of On-Track Growth in school and district ratings
Board members discussed how to add on-track growth to the annual school and district performance frameworks, according to state law. On-track growth measures whether students are making up enough growth on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success assessments to move toward grade-level expectations or are maintaining their grade-level expectations.
The Technical Advisory Panel, comprised of state and national academic growth experts, recommended using three years as the target for all students who are not yet proficient to increase one performance level on the CMAS tests. The board discussed shifting the timeline from three years to two years. A final decision is expected this summer on the on-track growth expectations as well as how the new measure will be weighted in comparison to existing achievement and growth indicators. These changes will not be officially included on the performance frameworks until 2020, at the earliest.
Gov. Polis addresses the board
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis thanked the board for supporting full-day kindergarten as well as legislation reworking the READ Act. Polis also discussed the importance of the partnership between his office and the State Board of Education, of which he was member from 2000 to January 2007. During his term, he served as both the board’s chairman and vice-chairman.
The board approved innovation applications from Westminster Public Schools for Metropolitan Arts Academy and from Denver Public Schools for Merrill Middle School. The innovation designations will provide the schools more control over educational programming, hiring and evaluation of personnel, calendar and budgeting.
Board recognizes outstanding educator and students
The board recognized Sarah Szymanski, the most recent Colorado recipient of the Milken Educator Award, which every year provides unrestricted financial awards of $25,000 to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists around the country. Szymanski, a second-grade teacher at Soaring Eagles Elementary School in Harrison School District 2, was awarded the title during a surprise ceremony in December.
The board also recognized two students as Colorado’s 2019 U.S. Senate Youth delegates: Anne Ackerman, a senior at Lewis-Palmer High School in the Lewis Palmer School District, and Ethan Wearner, a senior at Monarch High School in the Boulder Valley School District. They are among 104 student delegates from around the country who will attend the U.S. Senate Youth Program in Washington, D.C. Each student will receive a $10,000 scholarship funded by the Hearst Foundation.
New administrator PRAXIS assessments
As a result of approving changes to the Principal Quality Standards during its April meeting, the board approved new standard-aligned assessments required for administrators and principals. The board approved two new tests administered by ETS: the School Superintendent Assessment PRAXIS 6991 test for administrators and the Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision PRAXIS 5412 test for principals.
Retaining Teachers Grant Program
The board awarded $915,882 for the Retaining Teachers Grant Program to nine school districts for the 2019-20 school year. The grant was created by the legislature in 2018 to help address the teacher shortage across the state. School districts will use grant funds to help retain teachers by implementing targeted initiatives like job sharing, providing onsite child care services, creating robust induction programs for new teachers and more.
In other actions, the board:
Denied Hope Online Learning Academy’s request to automatically approve the standard agreement between the school and Aurora Public Schools. The board noted there is insufficient legal basis to grant the motion, and it will hear Hope Online Learning Academy’s full appeal at the June board meeting.
Approved six members to the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee (CSEAC), a panel that provides policy guidance around special education and related services for children with disabilities. CSEAC members serve two-year terms.
Approved the Rules for the Administration of the Waiver of Statute and Rule. Proposed changes will be technical and address errors found in the previous version.
Heard an update from CDE staff on the department’s proposed 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget. Department staff also presented the at-will employee salary recommendations for Fiscal Year 2019-20. The board will vote on both items at its June meeting.
The State Board of Education’s June 12-13 meeting will be in Salida, Colo.