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News Release - State Board of Education reauthorizes remaining areas of University of Northern Colorado educator preparation program

May 13, 2021                    

State Board of Education reauthorizes remaining areas of University of Northern Colorado educator preparation program

DENVER -- The State Board of Education at its meeting on Wednesday and Thursday approved the reauthorization of University of Northern Colorado’s traditional teacher preparation program in the areas of early childhood and elementary education.

UNC initially applied for reauthorization of its educator preparation program in fall 2018. In February 2019, the state board conditionally reauthorized the program after five areas were identified for improvement. The university addressed these areas, and a second site visit was conducted in February 2020. After that second review, CDE found that UNC’s elementary and early childhood education program areas needed further improvement in teaching reading and conditionally reauthorized them again in June 2020. This conditional approval was for the 2020-21 academic year only and allowed the university to continue improving its scientifically based reading instruction. Another review, including a state site visit, was conducted in March 2021, when CDE staff and stakeholders found the areas identified for improvement have been met.

Board considers possible options during school and district accountability pause

The board considered potential next steps for schools and districts with multiple years of priority improvement or turnaround ratings following the passage of House Bill 21-1161, which paused state accountability for schools and districts for a second year. CDE staff recommended the board continue to engage with schools and districts that would have come before the board for a hearing before the pause. Many of these schools have had to adjust or adapt their plans in response to COVID-19, and CDE staff recommend the board hear from these schools and districts beginning next fall.

Staff also presented options for a process of allowing schools and districts with priority improvement and turnaround ratings to ask for reconsideration of their ratings based on state and  local assessments, as allowed for in HB21-1161. The board will continue considering the options and may initiate a rulemaking process in June to establish a process for reconsidering ratings which have been carried over since 2019.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies Recommendations

CDE staff presented recommendations from the Holocaust and genocide studies standards committee on how to incorporate this content into the Colorado Academic Standards. Colorado legislation requires the board to adopt standards related to Holocaust and genocide studies by July 1, 2021. Once approved, these new standards will be included in the social studies standards. 

In other actions, the board:

  • Approved the written order following up on its decision in May to deny the appeal filed by Community Leadership Academy for relief from several requirements in the Charter School Institute’s renewal resolution for the school’s charter. The board’s order means CSI’s requirements must be implemented by the charter organization. 

  • The board approved the application for a multi-district online school submitted by the Education reEnvisioned BOCES on behalf of Colorado Summit Connections Academy.