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Blended Learning Initiative (BLI)

Blended Learning Initiative

From 2021-2024 the Colorado Department of Education facilitated the Blended Learning Initiative (BLI). At of the conclusion of the 2023-24 school year, the BLI has completed all goals and activities set in this statewide initiative, therefore sunsetting the BLI. The information and materials below reflect the initiative's work from 2021-2024 for historical reference. As of July 1, 2024, any questions about the BLI or blended learning in Colorado should be directed to the Office of Online and Blended Learning at  

BLI Overview

In the 2020-2021 school year, COVID-19 caused many schools in Colorado to completely shift their instructional models from traditional in-person to remote learning instruction and other types of hybrid models. This shift upended what districts thought of as “normal” instruction for a large number of students. Since then, it has been important to step back and reassess what we know, or thought we knew, about “what works” in terms of instruction, seat time/funding requirements and—fundamentally—achieving strong student outcomes. As such, CDE started the Blended Learning Initiative (BLI) in 2021 for collective conversation across districts, schools, and the state to look at what we’ve learned, how students have been impacted, how education has evolved, and where we go from here.

During the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years, CDE conducted research and facilitated activities to understand more about blended and online models that are being used by brick-and-mortar districts and schools both within Colorado and nationwide. Throughout the BLI, CDE engaged Colorado district and school leaders, educators, and families including students to provide feedback about blended and online learning. The BLI welcomed representatives and stakeholders to contribute to robust policy and best practices discussions. The findings from the BLI were shared with the Colorado State Board of Education (February and June 2021, February and June 2022, February and April 2023).

CDE engaged the rulemaking process with the State Board in December 2023 with updates to the Public School Finance Act which incorporate feedback gathered throughout the BLI. The State Board voted to approve the notice of rulemaking on the School Finance Rules in January 2024. The changes to the Rules for the Administration of the Public School Finance Act (1 CCR 301-39) were adopted by the State Board in March 2024. All agenda and materials for meetings are located on the Colorado State Board of Education webpage.

As of April 2024, CDE has transitioned from the BLI exploring policy solutions to new activities with the field and stakeholders based on the policy solutions in the rule updates to use for the 2024-25 school year. 

Blended Learning and Supplemental Online Course Variance Waiver from 2021-2024

The BLI included Colorado districts and schools that were implementing learning models that fall outside of the updated posted guidance related to Blended Learning (BL) and Supplemental Online (SO) Courses. For years 2021-2022, 2022-2023, and/or 2023-2024, the Colorado Department of Education has provided districts and schools the opportunity to request a variance waiver to the posted guidance regarding BL and SO Courses as outlined in the Student October Count Audit Resource Guide. 

An additional year for 2023-2024 was provided as an opportunity to extend this waiver with more information to come. Participating districts and schools utilizing the variance waiver should contact CDE School Auditing at with questions regarding this process and required deadlines for submitting documentation. Districts and schools should reference the Blended Learning and Supplemental Online Course Variance Waiver Process and the training resources below regarding the formal variance waiver process that takes place annually from October through December:

BLI Stakeholder Engagement for 2022-2023

In partnership with the CDE School Finance and Operations Unit and the CDE Schools of Choice Unit, Keystone Policy Center conducted stakeholder engagement outreach activities to educators and families to share perspectives on blended and online learning in Colorado. The goal of this 2022-2023 listening tour was to gather understanding of different forms of instruction as well as insights into what works well, what are the challenges, and what are the opportunities in different forms of instructional delivery.

BLI Stakeholder Engagement Survey

  • In August 2022-October 2022, the CDE Blended and Online Learning Summer 2022 Survey launched for Colorado educators, parents/guardians, and students to complete. 

BLI Stakeholder Engagement Focus Groups 

  • In October 2022-November 2022, Keystone facilitated focus groups informed in part by the survey results with Colorado superintendents, educators, parents/guardians, and students as well as the Commissioner's Teacher Cabinet.


Keystone Policy Center developed the BLI Stakeholder Engagement Report with data and feedback gathered from these BLI Stakeholder Engagement activities during the December 16, 2022 BLI Reconvening Meeting. The meeting and report materials are below.

BLI Convening Meetings for 2021-2022

In collaboration with CDE School Finance and Operations Unit, the Office of Online and Blended Learning within the CDE Schools of Choice Unit facilitated initial stakeholder engagement with education leaders and stakeholders in Colorado. The goal of these 2021-2022 convenings was to begin the BLI by inviting statewide district and school leaders to discuss research and best practices for online and blended learning. The presentation materials for each BLI Convening are below.

Convening 1: November 30, 2021

Convening 2: January 28, 2022

Convening 3: February 25, 2022

Convening 4: March 24, 2022

Convening 5: April 22, 2022

Convening 6: May 16, 2022

BLI Contact

Mallorie Klemm, Blended Learning Education Sr. Consultant

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