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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

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Colorado's ESSA State Plan 

In December of 2015, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was signed into law. The title of the reauthorized legislation, which replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The passage of ESSA provides a much anticipated opportunity to improve outcomes for all students and gives states more flexibility and decision-making power at the local level. This law also requires states to develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability and special help for struggling schools. You can read the Every Student Succeeds Act here.

As part of ESSA, each state had to conduct significant outreach to collect input for their plans. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) engaged with thousands of Coloradans in the development of the plan through 2016 and the early part of 2017. This process provided Coloradans a chance to closely examine the state’s education system, adjust some priorities and gather feedback about what is working and what should be changed. Please visit our Hub and Spoke Committees pages and the ESSA Feedback page to read about the process and comments received throughout stakeholder engagement. CDE also  releases an overview of Colorado’s ESSA state plan. This ESSA summary report is intended to provide a clear explanation of the issues addressed in Colorado’s plan.

On May 9, 2017, CDE submitted Colorado’s ESSA state plan and went through a number of revisions as state officials worked with federal reviewers to clarify how the state plans met with ESSA’s statutory requirements. Colorado's state plan was approved by USDE on May 7, 2018.

News and Updates


New: As of August 24, 2022

Every state that accepts funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) must have an approved methodology for meaningfully differentiating the performance of and identifying schools for support and improvement. Colorado’s methodology was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in 2018 as part of the ESSA State Plan (for specifications on Colorado’s ESSA identification methodology, please visit CDE’s website on the ESSA Identification Methodology and Criteria). Due to the extraordinary circumstances created by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education invited State educational agencies (SEAs) to submit an addendum to modify their approved ESEA consolidated State plans for the 2021-2022 school year, in order to identify schools for support and improvement in fall 2022. On May 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education approved Colorado’s request to amend its approved consolidated State plan to account for short-term changes in the identification methodology for the fall 2022 identifications. Specifically, Colorado was approved to implement the following short term changes:

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