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CPP Governing: Statute, Rules and Standards


The Colorado Preschool Program Act (22-28-101 through 22-28-110)* is the law that guides the implementation of the Colorado Preschool Program.  The Act is published annually in bound volumes, called the Session Laws of Colorado.  It is also compiled, edited, and published online by LexisNexis on their Colorado Legal Resources website.

* If the link is broken the pathway for CPP Statute is: Title 22. Education -> Compensatory Education -> Article 28. Colorado Preschool Program Act. 

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The Colorado State Board of Education (SBE) is charged with developing rules and regulations that support the implementation of the CPP Act.  

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Program Standards

The General Assembly placed a strong emphasis on the quality of early childhood programs and services and the role of high-quality programming in giving children a greater chance of success in school. The CPP Act required the Colorado Department of Education to develop program standards for CPP (C.R.S. 22-28-108 (1) (A). Programs must demonstrate their capacity to deliver high-quality, developmentally appropriate services as measured by these standards, which are defined in the Colorado Quality Standards for Early Childhood Care and Education Services

The Quality Standards are based on well-established national guidance on high-quality programming such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Accreditation Criteria and Procedures of the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, and the Head Start Performance Standards.

The Quality Standards are meant to be comprehensive in scope and cover the full range of components essential to a high-quality program. They address elements such as environment, curriculum, staffing patterns, interaction among staff and children, health and safety, nutrition, and family/staff partnership. These Quality Standards are meant to be commonly applied across all programs receiving state funds.  It is important that the preschool district advisory council and all providers of CPP implement the Quality Standards and be familiar with the available supporting resources. 

The Quality Standards were developed as a working document and self-assessment tool to help school districts implement quality programs.  They should be used by coordinators, teachers, and council members. 

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Use of the CDE Quality Walkthrough Tool

CDE preschool team staff developed the Preschool and Kindergarten Quality Walkthrough for Classrooms Serving Children Funded by CPP/ECARE. The Walkthrough tool was developed initially as a quality measure in Kindergarten and is not meant as a substitute for measuring quality using other processes or data sources. The CDE developed tool may still be used as a transition into Colorado Shines or a nationally accepted standard for quality. CDE does not support the use of this tool as the only measure of quality in preschool. The walkthrough, if used, should be used as a body of evidence but nationally accepted tools or Colorado Shines should be used to demonstrate quality in preschool classrooms.

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Academic Standards

While the Quality Standards guide programs in how to implement a high-quality preschool program, the Colorado Academic Standards for Preschool detail what preschool learners should know and be able to do by the end of their preschool experience. The 2020 standards revision incorporates the Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines.

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Criteria for Selecting School Districts for Participation in CPP 

CPP serves children who are at risk for educational failure. When considering which districts are eligible to participate in CPP, the department is directed in statute to review:

  • Dropout rates and graduation rates within the district
  • Numbers of qualifying, un-served children
  • Test scores of children in kindergarten and the primary grades within the district
  • Accreditation data and district performance data
  • Demographic data

School District Participation

School district participation in the Colorado Preschool Program is voluntary. Currently, 176 of the 179 Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute participate. Interested districts who are not currently participating in CPP must submit an application to the Colorado Department of Education.  Applications are distributed to school districts when an expansion of the Colorado Preschool Program is authorized by the General Assembly. When there is an expansion of CPP, priority is given in the allocation process to those districts not currently participating in the program. 

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Ability to Collaborate

It is also the intent of the Colorado General Assembly to fund those districts that demonstrate collaboration within the community in order to assure the effective use of resources in the program. Priority is given in the selection process to those districts that can:

  • Create a full-day, quality care, and education program through existing resources such as Head Start and private preschool businesses located in the community. 
  • Coordinate district preschool programs with family support services
  • Develop a quality, comprehensive plan for partnering with families
  • Provide families with additional options that meet their needs
  • Collaborate with public and private child care agencies located in the school district
  • Demonstrate a high degree of community involvement

Per CDE guidance, community partnerships once formed should be maintained whenever possible. Pulling allocations from partner preschools to supplement district program enrollment is not an appropriate action.

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