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CDE Update

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About the CDE Update

Welcome to the new CDE Update! Each month, this snapshot will show you what is happening in key priority areas at CDE and include details on implementation, milestones, deadlines and resources. This new online format will allow you to view everything or filter by category and date and will be your go-to source for all Update information. The Update will also still be sent via email but in a condensed format.

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March 2017

Accountability, Performance and Support

What's Happening Now

Alternative Education Campus (AECs) Status Applications

AECs reapplying for the 2017-18 school year received pre-populated application/renewal templates on Monday, Feb. 27, and the templates are due back to CDE on Friday, April 28.

For more information, contact Jessica Knevals, or 303-866-6778, or Melissa "B" Sanders at or 303-866-2865. More details are also available on the State Accountability for AECs webpage.

What's on the Horizon

School and District Dashboard (DISH) release

Updated District and School Data Dashboards (DISH) are available on SchoolView. These are web-based resources that provide district and school-level data visualizations on demographics, state assessments, student growth and postsecondary and workforce readiness. The district dashboard also provides fiscal information and a like-district tool.  All of the reported data is publicly available. While the dashboards have a similar look and feel as in past years, the displays provide new ways of visualizing Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) data. Because of the state assessment transition, comparisons over time are not yet available. The previous dashboards (through 2014) using TCAP and SPF data can be accessed through the tab labeled “archive.”

This resource is intended to be supportive of local improvement planning and communication efforts. If you have any suggestions or if you feel like something is not displaying correctly, please contact  Lisa Medler at  303-866-6993 or or Hai Huynh at 303-866-3801 or

Unified Improvement Planning (UIP) submissions dates

Every district and school must submit a revised/updated UIP by April 17 (note: districts and schools with a Performance plan type may submit plans biennially). View eligibility resources on the UIP resources webpage

If a small district (i.e., less than 1,000 students enrolled, between 1,000 and 1,200 students with approval from CDE) is interested in submitting a single combined plan for the district and schools, contact the UIP office at to get it set up in the online system.

More information regarding submission is available at this website.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

April 17: All school and district UIPs must be submitted to CDE through the online UIP system for posting on SchoolView

April 28: AEC status applications due

More Information

For more information on accountability and improvement, contact Alyssa Pearson, associate commissioner of accountability, performance and support, 303-866-6855,, or visit


Assessments administered by the unit include summative content assessments, English language proficiency assessments, college/career ready assessments, and alternate content assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are the state tests in English language arts, math, science and social studies that will be given to Colorado students in the 2016-17 academic year. The science and social studies tests were developed by Colorado, while the math and English language arts tests were developed in collaboration with other states through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC).

In 2017, Colorado will administer the Colorado PSAT 10 to 10th-graders and the Colorado SAT to 11th-graders.

What's Happening Now

CMAS Early Testing Window

While the official CMAS window does not open until April, some districts will begin administering online ELA and math assessments as early as Monday, March 13. For districts participating in the early high school science window, testing may begin as early as Monday, March 27. Window start dates depend on the dates requested by districts. Verification of special test form assignments and online test session setup must be completed by Assessment Coordinators prior to testing.

Verification of CMAS and CoAlt Training in Districts

To confirm that all schools have completed spring assessment administration training, the CMAS and CoAlt Verification of District Training form is to be returned to the CDE Assessment Unit prior to testing (requires superintendent’s signature). This form confirms that all individuals involved with assessment administration or handling secure materials have been trained and have signed a Colorado Security Agreement form for spring 2017.

CO PSAT 10 and SAT

District Assessment Coordinators should check with Test Center Supervisors to make sure that they have scheduled PSAT 10 and SAT administration training sessions with school staff. Test Administration training for both the PSAT 10 and the SAT are available to schools via pre-recorded training modules posted to the College Board’s online learning system. Test Center Supervisors should plan to complete staff training for the PSAT 10 and the SAT by Friday, March 17.

Asssessment Toolkit

To help districts and schools communicate with parents about the coming CMAS, PSAT 10 and SAT tests, CDE’s communications division has updated its Assessment Toolkit with materials on what to expect for state tests this year, drop-in articles to use for communicating about the tests, sample tests and how to communicate about the purpose of the tests. These materials are designed to be flexible. You can use them as is or copy and paste the pieces that are most useful to you into your own branded materials. Additional template materials will be added as we get closer to the score release. View the materials on the communications webpage

Student Data Questionnaires

In addition to taking the tests, both the PSAT 10 and the SAT provide students with the opportunity to complete an optional Student Data Questionnaire (SDQ). The SDQ is typically completed along with each student’s preparation of their answer document during a separate pre-administration session held several days before the test. One of the primary benefits of completing the SDQ is for students to opt in to the College Board’s Student Search Service®, which helps connect students with college and scholarship opportunities that align with the student’s interests. Completion of the SDQ and participation in Student Search Service are optional and voluntary for all students and requires active student consent.  When schools receive their pre-administration materials in early March, the shipment will include a student data consent letter and supplemental instructions for students. Schools will need to distribute these materials for students and their parents to review, and collect completed consent forms prior to scheduling a pre-administration session with students.

Student Biographical Data Review Training Opportunities

The Assessment Unit and IMS will jointly provide two Student Biographical Data (SBD) Review training webinars. One will be held 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, and the other at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 8. The webinars will introduce new data respondents to the SBD review process and will provide a quick refresher for experienced data respondents who have completed SBD reviews in previous years.

The ACCESS for ELLs SBD window begins on Monday, March 13, and will close on Friday, March 24.  The remaining SBD windows will be in May and June.

What's on the Horizon

Official CMAS and CoAlt Testing Window

The official state window for all CMAS and CoAlt testing is April 10-28. Schools with the following grades will administer the CMAS and CoAlt assessments for ELA, math, science, and social studies this spring.

Content Area

Testing Grades

English Language Arts/Literacy

All schools with grades 3-9


All schools with grades 3-9


All schools with grades 5, 8, and 11

Social Studies

Selected schools with grades 4 and 7*

*See the SS Sample Schools 2017 file in your district’s Syncplicity folder to view schools selected for administration of the social studies assessments in grades 4 and 7. This file was posted and notification was sent to Superintendents and DACs on Aug. 8, 2016.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

March 7: SBD training webinar

March 8: SBD training webinar (repeat of Mar. 7 training)

March 13 – Mar. 24: SBD review window for the ACCESS for ELLs assessment

March 13: CMAS: ELA and Math expanded window opens for some schools testing online

March 27: CMAS: High School Science early (not expanded) window opens for some districts  

April 10 – 28: Official state window for all CMAS and CoAlt testing

May 15 – May 24: SBD review window for CO PSAT 10/CO SAT assessments

May 22 – Jun. 1: SBD review window for CMAS (science/social studies, CoAlt science/social studies, ELA/math (PARCC), and CSLA) assessments

More Information

For more information on assessment, contact Joyce Zurkowski, executive director of assessment, 303-866-6929,, or visit

Educator Effectiveness

Classroom teaching and school leadership are the strongest school-based factors impacting student achievement. CDE supports the state’s 178 school districts to attract, prepare and assist great educators as a part of meeting the requirements of S.B.10-191, the Great Teachers and Leaders Act.

What's Happening Now

Provide feedback to the Revised Colorado Teacher Rubric

The Educator Effectiveness (EE) team has been gathering feedback on the proposed teacher rubric revisions. Feedback was first collected in rural communities in the east central part of the state, then the northwest region, metro area and Grand Junction.

An online feedback form on the revised Colorado teacher rubric is available to collect specific feedback on proposed changes to the rubric. If you attended a focus group session, or couldn’t attend in person and still want to provide input, the online feedback form allows you to submit specific comments and address any concerns before the rubric is finalized. Provide feedback to revised draft Colorado teacher rubric by Thursday, March 23.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information on Educator Effectiveness, contact Mary Bivens, director of educator development, 303-866-5926, or visit


In December 2015, former President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. States, including Colorado, are tasked with developing a state plan. 

Find more information on the continuing work of developing the state plan on CDE's ESSA webpage.

Subscribe to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) E-Newsletter - "ESSA in Colorado."

What's Happening Now

Public comment requested on Colorado’s ESSA draft plan by March 13

The Colorado Department of Education released the draft of its state plan on how it intends to implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for public review and to collect feedback. The window for comment submissions will remain open until Monday, March 13. CDE also posted a draft of the state plan in Spanish and encourages members of the public to contact us at with any questions or requests related to accessibility. CDE invites you to read the letter from Commissioner Anthes on Colorado’s ESSA State Plan Development and release of the state plan draft prior to submitting your comments.

Hub Committee will meet in March

The Hub committee will meet 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday, March 6, in the State Board of Education room, 201 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver. The Hub committee will discuss the draft ESSA State Plan and comments received to date through the public comment process. Meetings are open to the public audio will be streamed live. Click on the "Listen Live!” button on the ESSA plan development webpage.

ESSA Hub Committee – February Meeting Review

The ESSA Hub Committee met Feb. 6 to consider recommendations from the Accountability and School Improvement Spoke Committees pertaining to those sections of the ESSA state plan. A description of the recommendations approved by the Hub in February can be found in the February 10 ESSA E-NewsletterPresentation and supporting materials can be found on the ESSA Hub Committee webpage.

News from Washington, D.C.

On February 7, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to do away with the Obama administration’s proposed rules regarding ESSA accountability, reporting, and state plans. The Senate is expected to act on these rules soon.

As of now, the new administration has not given an indication of what they might do with the assessment and Accountability Assessment Demonstration Pilot rules created under the Obama administration. In January, the Obama administration withdrew proposed rules regarding supplement not supplant. In an email to Chief State School Officers on Feb. 10, Secretary DeVos clarified that U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) would still accept state ESSA plan on April 3 and Sept. 18, but that USDOE will review the existing state plan submission template to ensure that they require only descriptions, information, assurances, and other materials that are “absolutely necessary” for consideration of a consolidated state plan.  

For now, CDE and the ESSA committees will continue drafting Colorado’s plan based on what is in statute and what is good for Colorado with a goal of submitting the state plan in April.

What's on the Horizon

Plan to be submitted to feds in April

Colorado will submit an ESSA State Plan and Assurances document to the U.S. Department of Education in April.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

March 13 - Deadline to submit comments to ESSA draft

More Information

For more information, contact Patrick Chapman, executive director for federal programs, at 303-866-6780 or or visit

Organizational Effectiveness

What's Happening Now

Access for English Language Learner's SBD

The window for this Student Biographical Data (SBD) collection will be open from Monday, March 13 - Friday, March 24. Leading up to this SBD review, the Assessment Unit has posted a revised SBD manual on its website.  The Assessment Unit and IMS will also jointly provide two SBD training webinars to review the SBD review process: 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, and 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 8.

Report Card March

The Report Card March collection is open from Wednesday, March 1 until Friday, April 7.

2015-16 December Finance

Each local education agency must submit FY 2015-16 financial data no later than Wednesday, March 1. The FY 2015-16 financial data file posted must be an Excel file that follows the financial policies and procedures chart of accounts. The file posted can be the FY 2015-16 Financial December Data Pipeline File. The FY 2015-16 financial data posted will be used for the financial transparency public website view which goes live on July 1.



The 2016-17  Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL) interchange and snapshot collections are open for submission. Districts are encouraged to review and submit their statewide standard course codes (SSCC) as soon as possible and before beginning the TSDL submission process. For TSDL, districts are encouraged to approve snapshots by June 30; however, the collection is open until Aug. 25. As a reminder, TSDL data collected this year will populate public reports that are due to come out on Nov. 1.

End of Year

2016-17 End of Year snapshots are now available for submission.

What's on the Horizon

The READ (Reading to Ensure Academic Development) collection will open in April.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

March 1:  Date LEAs must post FY 2015-2016 financial data on their financial transparency webpage

March 24:  Access for ELLs SBD window closes

April 7:  Report Card March deadline

More Information

For more information on data pipeline, contact Jan Petro, director of data services, 303-866-6838, or visit

Postsecondary Readiness

What's Happening Now

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

What's on the Horizon

Career Success Pilot Program (HB 16-1289)

In May 2016, the Career Success Pilot Program (HB 16-1289) was signed into law. Participating school districts and charter schools can receive up to $1,000 for each high school student (grades 9-12) who successfully completes one of the qualified programs: industry credential programs, internships/residencies, construction pre-apprenticeship or construction apprenticeship programs, or qualified computer science Advanced Placement courses.

Districts and charter schools can submit a memorandum of understanding by June 1. See the participation and reporting requirements timeline for more details.

For more information, contact Mary Anne Hunter, postsecondary pathways coordinator at 303-866-6596 or Success Pilot Program information and documents are now available.  

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information, contact Misti Ruthven, director of postsecondary readiness, 303-866-6206, or visit

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now


Apply to serve on a standards review committee

The application process for the standards review and revision committees is underway. CDE is committed to conducting an open and transparent standards review and revision process by engaging diverse stakeholders to serve as committee members in each standard area. CDE is seeking committee members for each of the 10 content areas plus English language proficiency, personal financial literacy, and computer science to provide revision recommendations for State Board of Education consideration. The application window is open through Wednesday, March 15. 

The review and revision process is required by Senate Bill 08-212, known as Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K). The law requires a review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards on or before July 1, 2018, and every six years thereafter. More information about the standards review and revision process and the committee application process can be accessed here.

Provide your feedback on the Colorado Academic Standards

CDE has developed an online standards review system to enable all Coloradoans to provide specific feedback on each and every expectation within all 10 content areas of the Colorado Academic Standards. Feedback from the system will be provided to the committees that will be making recommendations for revisions to the standards.  This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity that will only be available until April 30. 

More information about the standards review and revision process and the online standards feedback system can be found by following this link

Stay Informed on the Standards Review and Revision Process

To keep educators and other stakeholders informed of the standards review and revision process, the Office of Standards and Instructional Support is hosting monthly informational webinars. The webinar for March will be conducted 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 16. Participants in the March webinar will be able to provide input on the 21st Century Skills, learn about the computer science standards development process, and be oriented to the standards review and revision process. See the list of webinar topics and information about how to participate or to view February’s recorded webinar.  

View the New Elementary Comprehensive Health Integrated Instructional Units

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support announce that 17 new elementary comprehensive health integrated instructional units are now available. Over the past year, teams of Colorado teachers throughout various districts have collaborated to develop the standards aligned curriculum sample units. The purpose of these units is to integrate Comprehensive Health instruction with other content area for grades K – 5.

For more information about the standards revision process or the district sample curriculum project, contact Karol Gates, director of standards and instructional support at 303-866-6576, or visit the CAS webpage.

Early Learning and School Readiness

Attend a Colorado Preschool Program meeting

The Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) annual meetings will be conducted from March to May. The purpose is to provide districts with opportunities to share ideas and strategies, to hear updates about the program and to receive resources and technical assistance that support high quality preschool programming. Meeting locations for spring 2017 include Grand Junction, Loveland, Pueblo and Denver. 

For dates, registration and staff contact information, please visit the 2017 CPP meetings webpage.

Learn about the Power of Kindergarten

From March through June, the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness will host professional development workshops titled “The Power of Kindergarten” for kindergarten teachers and elementary principals. Workshops will focus on using children’s natural curiosity and various classroom tools to build schema across contents and provide experiences rich in oral language and vocabulary. Colorado kindergarten teachers and elementary principals attending the training sessions will have opportunities to reflect on their own practices and make connections, find inspiration for their own classrooms and schools, and engage and interact in opportunities and structures designed for children to thrive both developmentally and academically. Register via SurveyMonkey.

Contact Shannon Montalbano with questions at or 303-903-0880. For more information about the training sessions, visit the school readiness training and meetings webpage.  

Learn about kindergarten school readiness data reporting for 2017-18

An informational webinar will be hosted 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, to support school districts' preparation for the implementation of school readiness data reporting for the SY 2017-18. The webinar will include an overview of the school readiness data reporting requirements and time for participants to ask questions. Kindergarten school readiness, under Senate Bill 08-212, Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K), requires the annual reporting of the kindergarten levels of school readiness. No registration required. To participate, simply join via Adobe Connect at the time of the virtual meeting. A recording of the webinar will be posted on the school readiness web page.

For more information, contact Emily Kielmeyer, kindergarten and school readiness manager, at or 720-822-0640.

The READ Act

READ data collection opens April 1

The READ data collection will be open from April 1 to July 1. The deadline to submit and verify data is July 1, which will enable the department to inform districts of funding levels by the end of July. With this year’s collection, CDE will implement a budget planning and reporting requirement from the READ Act as part of the annual READ data collection. The READ Act requires districts to provide the department with a plan for how they intend to use READ funds prior to receiving funds (section 22-7-1210(5)(c) C.R.S.). For districts intending to use READ funds for summer school or intervention services, information related to how the programs are based on scientific or evidenced-based research is necessary. The Office of Literacy has posted an informational webinar and an updated data collection timeline on the READ Act webpage.  

For more information the READ data collection or budget reporting requirements, contact Whitney Westgaard, literacy data analyst, at or 303-866-6421 or visit the READ data pipeline webpage.

For more information the READ Advisory Lists, contact Marisa Calzadillas, literacy project coordinator, or 303-866-6189 or visit the advisory list webpage.

Schedule a READing Foundations Academy

It’s not too late schedule high quality professional development in K-3 reading for the 2016-17 school year. The Office of Literacy offers no-cost professional development through READing Foundations Academies focused on research-based K-3 reading instruction with an emphasis on foundational reading skills found in the Colorado Academic Standards.

For more information about scheduling a READing Foundations Academy, contact Donna Bright, principal consultant, 303-866-6002, or visit the READ Act webpage.

For more information about the READ Act, contact Alisa Dorman, executive director of literacy, 303-866-6016,  or visit the READ Act webpage.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information, contact Melissa Colsman, associate commissioner of student learning, 303-866-6737,, or visit

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