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Resource Guide for Deepening the Understanding of Teacher's Professional Practices

Resource Guide Overview

To support fair and consistent evaluations, CDE is developing tools to promote common interpretations of teacher quality. One tool is The Resource Guide for Deepening the Understanding of Teacher's Professional Practices. The resource guide is meant to support Colorado school district employees, administrators and teachers in developing an understanding of the Colorado State Model Evaluation System Teacher Rubric.

As individuals apply the rubric to their own teaching and to that of others, the resource guide can support observers and coaches in accurately identifying evidence for the professional practices. The research, examples provided and the glossary can be used to support the development of a common language for Colorado school district employees to analyze, reflect and plan instruction.

To further support educators, observers, coaches, and principals/evaluators in their efforts during this time of different and changing instructional environments (i.e., in-person, remote/virtual, and hybrid), a new Addendum to the Resource Guide for Deepening the Understanding of Teachers’ Professional Practices is now available. This Addendum does not provide an example for every professional practice or element. Rather, it offers suggestions and considerations for teachers and evaluators/observers when thinking about what the element might look like, as well as considerations for observing the element, in remote/virtual or hybrid learning environments.

We encourage your feedback and submission of examples and resources for the continued development of this resource. Please contact with your feedback, questions or additional resources.

View the entire Resource Guide here, or access an interactive version below.

View the entire NEW Addendum here, with links to specific elements below.

About the Standards and Elements

Teacher Quality Standards and Elements sections:

Also included are the following sections:

  • External resources for additional information
  • Internal resources for additional information
  • Classroom examples
  • Planning/coaching questions

For the elements within each standard, you will find explanations of the professional practices under three rating levels: Level I, Level II, Level III.

The content at the practice or element level presents research related to the practice and ideas for implementing it. Related research provides a rationale for the professional practices in the rubric and can be useful to principals, assistant principals, or others who provide training on an element or who provide feedback to a teacher.

Using research to illustrate a specific practice increases understanding of why that practice is considered a best practice. Ideas for implementation are suggestions for teachers to consider when planning for instruction. Additionally, evaluators can refer to them when providing feedback or ongoing support to teachers.

Quality Standard I

Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach. The elementary Teacher is an expert in literacy and mathematics and is knowledgeable in all other content that he or she teaches (e.g., science, social studies, arts, physical education, or world languages). The secondary Teacher has knowledge of literacy and mathematics and is an expert in his or her content endorsement area(s).

Element 1A

Element 1A - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers provide instruction that is aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards and their district’s organized plan of instruction.

Element 1B

Element 1B - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers develop and implement lessons that connect to a variety of content areas/disciplines and emphasize literacy and mathematical practices.

Element 1C

Element 1C - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers demonstrate knowledge of the content, central concepts, inquiry, appropriate evidence-based instructional practices, and specialized characteristics of the disciplines being taught.

Quality Standard II:

Teachers establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.

Element 2A

Element 2A - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers foster a predictable learning environment characterized by acceptable student behavior and efficient use of time in which each student has a positive, nurturing relationship with caring adults and peers.

Element 2B

Element 2B - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers demonstrate an awareness of, a commitment to, and a respect for multiple aspects of diversity, while working toward common goals as a community of learners.

Element 2C

Element 2C - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers engage students as individuals, including those with diverse needs and interests, across a range of ability levels by adapting their teaching for the benefit of all students.

Element 2D

Element 2D - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers work collaboratively with the families and/or significant adults for the benefit of students.

Quality Standard III:

Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.

Element 3A

Element 3A - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers demonstrate knowledge about the ways in which learning takes place, including the levels of intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development of their students.

Element 3B

Element 3B - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers use formal and informal methods to assess student learning, provide feedback, and use results to inform planning and instruction.

Element 3C

Element 3C - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers integrate and utilize appropriate available technology to engage students in authentic learning experiences.

Element 3D

Element 3D - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers establish and communicate high expectations and use processes to support the development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. 

Element 3E

Element 3E - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers provide students with opportunities to work in teams and develop leadership.

Element 3F

Element 3F - Addendum (remote/virtual setting)

Teachers model and promote effective communication.