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News Release - State Board of Education orders independent evaluation of Adams 14 School District

Jan. 12, 2022

State Board of Education orders independent evaluation of Adams 14 School District

DENVER -- The State Board of Education at its monthly meeting on Wednesday unanimously voted to immediately send a State Review Panel to review the status of student learning at Adams 14 School District. The independent panel’s report will help the state board determine what action, including potentially reorganizing the district or converting one or more schools to charters, is necessary to support students.

The state board’s action followed a decision on Jan. 11 by the  Adams 14 school board to terminate their contract with their state board directed external manager.

Adams 14 has received priority improvement or turnaround ratings – the lowest ratings on the state’s accountability system – since 2010. 

“We are deeply concerned about the lack of focus on students and their needs by the district’s leaders,” said State Board of Education Chairwoman Angelika Schroeder. “The adults have been investigating and fighting each other, and our students, families, district staff and teachers have been left with inconsistent information, staff who are pulled away from their core work, and a focus on other things besides providing support and strong learning environments for students. Clearly a different direction is needed in the district. I look forward to the State Review Panel helping us determine if we need to take more drastic action in order to support students.”

The board requested an update from staff in February and the State Review Panel’s report before the March 2022 regular board meeting.

Regis University's educator preparation programs approved

The state board unanimously voted to reauthorize Regis University’s elementary and special education teacher prep programs. In January 2021 the board conditionally approved these two programs, requesting the university improve its instruction on the scientific methodology of teaching reading.  

Following a review of adjustments Regis implemented, CDE staff found the educator preparation team at Regis demonstrated a model response in ensuring preservice educators have the knowledge and skill to use evidence-based strategies to teach children to read.

Board approves requests to reconsider accountability ratings 

The board approved recommendations for the 2021 accountability plan types, or ratings, for 14 schools requesting reconsideration of the plan type assigned in 2019. The accountability system has been paused since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so new plan types have not been assigned. 

As required by House Bill 21-1161, the reconsideration of plan types was available this year only to schools and districts with Priority Improvement or Turnaround ratings. Recommendations for raising the plan types were based on state and local assessments and input from the State Review Panel. The plan types for the 14 approved schools were raised, but the schools’ years on the clock did not change. Two consecutive years at Improvement  or higher are still needed to fully exit the accountability clock. 

2021 Blue Ribbon Schools recognized

Five Colorado public schools earned the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Award, a recognition from the U.S. Department of Education for schools with high achievement or that have effectively closed achievement gaps among their students. Principals from each of the following schools were in virtual attendance:

  • Carson Elementary, Denver Public Schools
  • High Peaks Elementary, Boulder Valley Re 2
  • McKinley-Thatcher Elementary, Denver Public Schools
  • North Valley Middle, Weld County RE-1
  • Bill Roberts ECE-8, Denver Public Schools

Rulemaking Hearings

  • The board approved Rules for the Administration of the Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant Program, 1 CCR 301-43. Amendments to the rules include additional application requirements, grant criteria considerations, and reporting requirements. These changes reflect updates made to the grant program by Senate Bill 21-268.

  • The board approved Rules for the Administration of Medications; 1 CCR 301-68. Amendments to these rules reflect changes made by SB 21-056, including the requirement that school boards must adopt policies allowing for the storage, possession and administration of medical marijuana on school grounds by school personnel. These rules also specify that school personnel are not required to administer medical marijuana and cannot be retaliated against for refusing to participate.

  • The board approved Rules for Standards of Charter Schools and Charter School Authorizers; 1 CCR 301-88. The revised rules require charter schools to not engage in discriminatory practices when enrolling students with disabilities and to have clear communication with the public on how members of the public can participate in the school’s non-discriminatory enrollment process. Recruitment materials must be inclusive and not signal that the school refuses to admit students with disabilities or any students of a protected class. Additionally, application materials must not inquire into characteristics that would reveal protective characteristics, such as students with disabilities. The charter school also must conduct annual training with its admissions staff.

In other actions, the board: