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Accountability Clock


Colorado’s accountability system, created under the Education Accountability Act of 2009, is based upon the premise that schools and districts that meet state expectations for student academic performance should hold increased autonomy, whereas those not meeting state expectations will receive increased support and monitoring. Schools and districts not meeting expectations in achievement, growth and postsecondary workforce readiness, as determined by the School and District Performance Frameworks, are assigned a plan type of Priority Improvement or Turnaround. Per state law, schools and districts cannot retain one of those plan types for more than five consecutive years before significant action must be taken. This statutory timeline is referred to as the Accountability Clock.

View the Accountability Clock Fact Sheet   

Priority Improvement & Turnaround Supplement

For more detailed information on the accountability requirements for Priority Improvement and Turnaround schools and districts, please see the Priority Improvement and Turnaround Supplement to the CDE District Accountability Handbook.

View Priority Improvement & Turnaround Supplement (updated December 2016)

End-of-Clock Recommendation Process

If a school or district receives a plan type of Priority Improvement or Turnaround for more than five consecutive years, then the State Board of Education must direct an action to the local board of education. The State Board has discretion to take action prior to the end of the Accountability Clock for schools and districts with Turnaround plans.

Schools and districts on the Accountability Clock for any period of time should be implementing research-based strategies of appropriate scope and intensity to improve student outcomes. After five consecutive years, the local board will be directed by the State Board of Education as to which strategy, or pathway, to pursue. This may include school closure, converting schools to a charter school, working with an external management partner, seeking innovation status for a school or group of schools, or district reorganization. In considering appropriate actions, the State Board will refer to recommendations from the State Review Panel and from the Commissioner of Education. School districts may also provide a proposal for their preferred pathway to the State Board. See below for a depiction of the process.

End of Clock Recommendation Process 2016

Accountability Pathways Resources

When a school or district reaches the end of the accountability clock, CDE staff will work with the district to select a pathway that is best suited to create dramatic change. We are continuing to develop resources to support this process. Below are guidance documents for each pathway, as well as rubrics for school districts submitting innovation or management plans on behalf of a school, set of schools, or the district. The rubrics are intended to guide planning for Priority Improvement and Turnaround schools and districts pursuing the innovation or management pathways. The rubrics will also be used by CDE staff to inform the Commissioner’s recommendation and assess whether the plan, if implemented, will have significant, rapid and positive impact on student learning.

Pathway Guidance Documents

•    Conversion to a Charter School  
•    Innovation School or Innovation Zone 
•    Management by a Public or Private Entity 
•    School Closure 
•    District Reorganization 

Pathway Rubrics

•    Innovation School or Innovation Zone Plan Rubric 
•    Management Plan Rubric 

Pathways Early Action Grant

The Pathways Early Action Grant is intended to incentivize Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and schools nearing the end of the Accountability Clock to explore pathway options, take thoughtful action, and increase readiness for discussions with the State Board of Education. 

The expected outcome of the grant is for the LEA to develop a formal plan identifying its preferred accountability pathway and implementation strategies. The plan will be developed with the support of CDE staff. The LEA will present its plan to the State Board of Education prior to the Accountability Clock statutory deadline.

Pathways Early Action Grant RFP 2016 (PDF)

2016 Participants: 

South Conejos School District
Denver Public Schools
Sheridan School District 2
Mapleton School District
Lake County School District R-1
Pueblo City Schools District 60
Huerfano School District RE-1
Greeley-Evans School District 6
Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1
Westminster Public Schools
Adams County School District 14

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