Site Index | CDE Offices | Staff Directory

CDE Update

CDE Update

About the CDE Update

Welcome to the CDE Update! Each month, this publication will show you what is happening in key priority areas at CDE and include details on implementation, milestones, deadlines and resources.

This online format allows you to view everything or filter by category and date and will be your go-to source for all Update information.

November 2018

Accountability, Performance and Support

Colorado’s education accountability system is based on the belief that every student should receive an excellent education and graduate ready to succeed. Successful schools and districts are recognized and serve as models, while those that are struggling receive support. As required by state and federal laws, schools and districts are identified as needing improvement and support if they have low graduation rates and/or low performance of historically underserved students, including as English learners and economically disadvantaged students. Thy also are identified if they have low overall performance of students based on state assessments and postsecondary workforce readiness indicators.

What's Happening Now

Accountability and improvement resources available

The Fall 2018 edition of the The District Accountability Handbook (PDF) is available. The resource provides a description of the state accountability process, stakeholder roles, coordination with ESSA requirements, improvement planning expectations and timelines. 

Accountability and Unified Improvement Planning training and deadlines

CDE is offering training sessions on the School and District Performance Frameworks and the Unified Improvement Planning (UIP) process, in addition to support around the Accountability Clock and integration with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). CDE is committed to ensuring that schools and districts across the state are receiving assistance as needed. These sessions can be customized and delivered regionally upon request. To schedule a training, contact Dan Jorgensen at or 303-866-6763 or Erin Loften at or 303-866-6642.

Every district and school must submit a revised/updated UIP by April 15. Please note that districts and schools with a Performance plan type may be eligible for biennial submission. 

Schools and districts with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type must submit by Jan. 15.

EASI applications due Nov. 14

Empowering Action for School Improvement (EASI) applications are due Wednesday, Nov. 14. For more information, visit the EASI application webpage, or contact Laura Meushaw at or 303-866-6618.

Preliminary Pre‐Populated UIPs

The 2018-19 UIP template and pre-populated reports (Section I) are now available in the online system. Updates will be made as additional data become available (e.g., final school and district ratings after the request to reconsider process). UIPs can be accessed through the Identity Management System once the district Local Access Manager has assigned the appropriate user role. More information is available on the UIP Online System or by contacting Lisa Medler at or 303-866-6993.

Small Systems and Combined Unified Improvement Plans

Districts with Fewer than 1,000 Students
As a reminder, districts with a student enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students have the option to write one combined plan that incorporates planning for the district and all schools within the district.  Districts with fewer than 1,000 students do not need to request permission to write a combined plan but must be sure to incorporate all planning requirements for the district and member schools. For example, if a school within the district is assigned to a turnaround plan, the combined UIP must include the turnaround requirements for that school. All combined plans should be written using the district-level template with the pre-populated report (Section I) for each school attached to the plan. 

Districts with Fewer than 1,200 Students
Districts with student enrollment between 1,000 and 1,200 students may request to write a combined plan for the district and schools. These districts must request permission from CDE each year to write a combined plan. Requests can be sent to Lisa Steffen at Once district enrollment grows greater than 1,200 students, the district is no longer eligible to write and submit a combined UIP.  For more information, contact Lisa Steffen at her email address or 303-866-6676.

Improvement Planning Requirements for Schools Identified for ESSA Support and Improvement in 2018-19

In September, districts received notification of any schools identified for comprehensive or targeted support and improvement under ESSA. ESSA-identified schools must develop and implement improvement plans that address the reasons for the schools’ identification. Improvement plans for schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CS) must be reviewed and approved by the school, district, and CDE. In Colorado, the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) will be used as the CS improvement plan. Beginning with the 2019 UIP submission timeline and process, CDE will review UIPs from schools identified as CS to ensure they meet ESSA requirements. If any changes are necessary before CDE can approve the UIP in accordance with ESSA, the district will be notified and CDE will collaborate with the district to determine the timeline for changes.

Districts are responsible for the development, approval and oversight of improvement plans for schools identified for Targeted Support and Improvement (TS). Districts may decide to use the UIP to meet TS improvement plan requirements or they may choose to develop another process and format that better meets local needs.

For additional information about the improvement planning requirements for CS and TS schools, visit the ESSA Planning Requirements webpage. For questions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, at or 303-866-6205 or Laura Meushaw at or 303-866-6618.

School and District Performance Framework Requests to Reconsider

CDE is continuing to review the Requests to Reconsider submitted after preliminary accountability ratings were released in August. District requests will be reviewed first, and determinations will be shared with individual districts before the Thursday, Nov. 15, state board meeting when the district ratings will be discussed. School-level requests will receive a response before the December board meeting.

For more information, visit the request to reconsider webpage. Contact Jessica Watson at or 303-866-6778 with questions.

2019 Performance Framework target setting​

The state board’s anticipates a vote at its Nov. 14-15 meeting on achievement, growth and post-secondary workforce readiness targets to be used in the School and District Performance Frameworks. State board rule requires the board set, reaffirm or revise ambitious yet attainable statewide targets to measure performance for school and district ratings by this month each year. 

For more information, contact Alan Dillon at 303‐866‐6202 or

Data Lab and District & School Dashboards updated

Data Lab and District & School Dashboards (DISH) have been updated with 2018 Performance Framework data. DISH is an online tool that provides visual representations of performance and demographic data at the school and district levels. Data Lab provides the ability to explore more detailed research questions at the state, district and school levels. Contact Josh Perdue at or 303-204-7203 with questions or requests for support for these tools.

What's on the Horizon

Public Reporting of School and District ratings

The School and Districy Performance Frameworks will be posted publicly on during the Dec. 12-13 State Board of Education meeting.

Parent Notification Requirements for Districts with Schools on the Accountability Clock

For districts with schools on the Accountability Clock (i.e., priority improvement, turnaround), CDE is collecting the notification sent to parents with information about the school’s plan type, UIP process and about the upcoming public hearing. Communications can be emailed to or attached to the school’s UIP by Jan. 15. For more information, read the Parent Notification and Public Hearing Requirements Fact Sheet.

For questions and concerns, contact Lisa Medler at 303-866-6993 or Lisa Steffen at or 303-866-6676.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Nov. 14 – EASI Application due

Dec. 15 – District and School Performance Frameworks will be posted on in conjunction with the December State Board of Education meeting.

Jan. 15

  • Schools and districts with a Priority Improvement or Turnaround plan type to submit UIPs through the online UIP system for winter UIP review
  • Districts with schools on the Accountability Clock to send parent notification communication to CDE

Jan. 25  Deadline for districts to notify B Sanders ( of new schools they serve which intend to apply for Alternative Education Campus (AEC) designation for the first time. Notification can be sent by email with the CDE school code included in the body of the email.  

More Information

For more information on accountability and improvement, contact Alan Dillon, associate commissioner, 303‐866‐6202,, 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. The PSAT and SAT are administered to high school students in grades 9-11.

What's Happening Now

Pre-ID Data Pulls

Pre-ID extract data for the ACCESS for English language learners assessments will be pulled from the October count snapshot files on Friday, Nov. 9. Pre-ID extract data for the CMAS, PSAT/SAT, and DLM assessments will be pulled from final approved October count files.

CMAS District Administration Training

District assessment coordinator training sessions for the spring 2019 administrations of Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) are being held across the state. After the final in-person sessions, recorded webinars will be posted for those who were unable to attend the live sessions. Specific details, including training dates and locations for each assessment, are sent directly to DACs.

For additional information about the training sessions, contact Sara Loerzel at or 303-866-3266.

PSAT/SAT Accommodations Window

The College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) online system is open for school SSD coordinators to submit SAT and PSAT accommodations requests. To ensure time for review of requests prior to shipping of test materials, requests must be submitted to the College Board by Feb. 19, 2019. After that date, SAT and PSAT accommodations requests will be limited to newly enrolled or newly identified students.

As a reminder, the accommodations request process has been simplified so that SSD coordinators do not need to provide extensive documentation of the student’s disability. They simply need to confirm the student has an IEP or 504 plan and that the accommodation being requested is consistent with the student’s plan. 

School SSD coordinators will receive training on College Board accommodations and the SSD Online system via webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The webinar will be recorded and posted to the College Board’s Colorado website for any SSD coordinators who are unable to attend the live session. Students who received College Board-approved accommodations on the PSAT last year will not need to have a request resubmitted for those accommodations for this spring unless their accommodation needs have changed.

For questions, contact Joyce Zurkowski at or 303-866-6929.

What's on the Horizon

Upcoming CMAS Deadlines

  • By Friday, Dec. 14, DACs must notify CDE’s Assessment Unit of the following Local Education Provider (districts and charter schools) administration decisions:
    • By content area and grade, district or school intent to use paper-based testing as main testing format for CMAS administration. CDE will use this information to indicate paper-based testing for the identified schools/grades/content areas in the initial spring testing registration file. Additional information will be provided to DACs during regional training sessions.
    • District-selected CMAS and CoAlt administration window. Requests for extended computer-based assessment window for ELA and math, early 11th grade CMAS testing window, or regular state assessment window should be submitted. Additional information will be provided to DACs at CMAS training sessions. Dates corresponding to the extended and early windows are available on the General Assessment Information webpage.
  • By Friday, Dec. 14, DACs must submit Unique Accommodation Requests (UARs) to the CDE Assessment Unit. UARs are required for accommodations that may change the construct being measured by the assessment (e.g., reading of the reading assessment through text-to-speech or oral script and using a calculator on the non-calculator section of the test).

For questions, contact Joyce Zurkowski at or 303-866-6929.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Nov. 9:

  • ACCESS for ELLs materials order window closes
  • Pre-ID extract data pulled from October count snapshot for the ACCESS for ELLs assessments

Nov. 17: ACCESS for ELLs additional materials order window opens

Nov. 27: ACCESS for ELLs WIDA Assessment Management System (AMS) opens

Week of Dec. 13: ACCESS for ELLs materials arrive in districts

Dec. 14:

  • Deadline for submitting CMAS paper testing mode for inclusion in initial registration file and CMAS and CoAlt early/extended administration window requests to CDE
  • Unique Accommodations Requests due to CDE

Mid December: Pre-ID extract data pulled from finalized October count files for CMAS (including CSLA), CoAlt, and PSAT/SAT

Jan. 7–25: Confirm student registrations in PearsonAccessnext for initial CMAS and CoAlt orders

Jan. 14: ACCESS for ELLs testing window opens

More Information

For more information on assessments, contact Joyce Zurkowski, executive director, 303-866-6760,, or visit

Educator Talent

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.

What's Happening Now

Educator Talent - Policy Updates

For information about updates to Educator Talent rules, policies and educator shortage funding opportunities, including implementation tools and resources, visit the Educator Policy Updates webpage. Also available on this webpage is an overview of recent legislation and State Board of Education rule updates that will be implemented by CDE's Educator Talent Unit.

Process for establishing new or revising existing Educator Talent rules

The Educator Talent Unit has outlined the rulemaking process to ensure updates to licensure, endorsement and educator effectiveness administrative rules are made as a result of a comprehensive needs assessment and stakeholder engagement.

The State Board of Education’s authority to approve rules is governed by both the Administrative Procedures Act and the State Board’s Operating Procedures. Typically, a minimum of four months (6 to 8 months is more common) is required to establish new State Board rules or revise existing rules. The Educator Talent Rules webpage has a timeline mapping the various steps of the rulemaking process including the necessary forms to sponsor a proposal and the various activities that must be completed before new rules, endorsements or rule revisions are presented to the  State Board. 

For questions, contact Jennifer Simons at or 303-866-6793.

Teachers can meet new EL training requirement in 5-year license renewal cycle

Teachers needing to complete the new English learner professional development training will have several years to make good on the commitment.

Under the new rules, educators must meet the requirement sometime within their next five-year license renewal. That means, for example, a teacher with a professional license that expired this month wouldn’t have to meet the requirement until November 2023. And they only need to do it once in their teaching career. 

The English learner professional development training was mandated to better support students who are English language learners. Earlier this year the Colorado State Board of Education adopted the rules that require all elementary school teachers and middle school and high school teachers of math, science, social studies and English language arts complete a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Education training or professional development.

In order to meet the new requirement, teachers must demonstrate completion of training or professional development activities equivalent to 45 clock/contact hours or three semester hours in CLD education. However, that may mean different things for teachers, depending on their previous training levels.

Teachers with previous CLD training

Teachers who have previous CLD training, past experience or professional development can count it toward meeting their:

  1. New English learner professional development requirement, and
  2. 90 clock hours of professional development requirement for renewing their educator license.

To verify past CLD training or professional development, teachers:

  • Must submit a completed English Learner PD Standards Matrix (XLS) with their professional renewal application
  • Up to 10 clock hours of relevant work experience can be counted toward the 45 clock/contract hours CLD requirement.

For work experience, a signed letter from a relevant supervisor verifying work experience must be submitted along with the matrix.

Teachers in need of CLD training

Teachers who don’t have CLD training will have other options to meet the new English language learner PD requirement through approved programs that will be posted on CDE’s website. Educator preparation programs also will offer CLD training for current teachers. CDE will communicate these options as they become available.

For details, visit the English Learner PD Requirement - Information for Educators webpage. Contact Jennifer Simons at or 303-866-6793 with questions.

New Fingerprinting Process 

Colorado educators looking to submit fingerprints for educator licensing purposes now have a new process that allows third parties to electronically print and submit prints to the state.

This means educators no longer have to go solely to law enforcement agencies for fingerprinting. Approved vendors are now located throughout the state. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will no longer accept fingerprint cards electronically taken by law enforcement. Please know that applicants may still have the option to be fingerprinted by their local law enforcement agency using a paper-based fingerprint card. The applicant can then mail his or her fingerprint card to the third-party vendor in order for it to be processed by CBI.

The program will be supervised by CBI. Specific information on vendors, including locations, can be found here. Also, more information can be found on CDE's website: Specific questions can be sent to

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 Colleen O'Neil, associate commissioner, 303-866-6945, or visit


During the 2018-19 school year, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) will implement its state ESSA plan that was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in May 2018. Several ESSA requirements go into effect this school year, and the CDE Update will be used to inform superintendents of these requirements.

What's Happening Now

2018-19 Consolidated Application

Final comments and approvals are being sent to districts for the 2018-19 application funding year. After final approval is granted, districts can begin to request reimbursement of ESSA expenditures by submitting the CDE Request for Funds form. Visit the ESSA Allocations and Fiscal Files webpage for the Request for Funds form.

For questions about the form or to request reimbursement, contact Robert Hawkins at or 303-866-6775.

The post award revision process provides an opportunity for districts and BOCES to adjust or revise the activities and budgets that were approved in the initial consolidated application review process. The 2018-19 post award revision system opens in late fall. For questions about the post-award revision process, contact your ESEA Regional Contact.

ESSA Monitoring

CDE has been working with stakeholders to develop monitoring processes, protocols and resources that are aligned to new requirements under ESSA. A series of training webinars have been recorded and posted on the CDE website to help districts and BOCES prepare for monitoring in the 2018-19 school year. Additional webinars will be posted as they are developed. Training topics will include ESSA requirements and monitoring indicators, the monitoring process and protocols to be used for scheduling, conducting and following up on monitoring results. For additional information, visit the ESSA monitoring webpage.

Districts selected to participate in monitoring in 2018-19 have been notified. ESSA monitoring will begin in January.

For questions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, at or 303-866-6205, DeLilah Collins at or 303-866-6850, or Joey Willett at or 303-866-6700.

What's on the Horizon

ESSA Public Reporting Requirements

Schools and districts are required under ESSA, just as they were under No Child Left Behind, to develop and publish a local report card that informs stakeholders of the performance of schools in comparison to other schools in the district as well as the performance of the district when compared to other districts in the state. School and district reports cards for the 2017-18 school year should be made available by January. Just as has been done in past years, CDE will be posting data on its website that schools and districts can reference on their websites to meet this federal public reporting requirement.

If the school or district is creating its own report cards and is not referring viewers to the CDE website, it must notify CDE of the website on which the local report card has been posted by sending the link to Tina Negley at

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, 1-3 p.m., CDE will provide a training webinar pertaining to ESSA school and district reporting requirements as well as the support that CDE will be offering for meeting those requirements. To participate in the webinar and find additional information, visit the Changes to Federal Reporting Under ESSA webpage.

For questions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, at or 303-866-6205, Tina Negley at or 303-866-5243, or Alexandra Tolentino at or 303-866-4571.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information on Federal Programs, contact Patrick Chapman, executive director, at 303-866-6780 or or visit

Organizational Effectiveness

What's Happening Now


The pre-ID extract for this assessment will occur Friday, Nov. 9.  Data will be pulled from October count snapshot files at that point. Pre-ID data for all other assessments will be pulled from final approved Student October count files.

Student October

The legislated deadline for snapshot approval is Friday, Nov. 9, when the duplicate count procedures will commence. Final approval is due Wednesday, Nov. 28. 

Student End of Year

The 2017-18 End of Year Post Cross LEA validation which verifies transfers and dropouts within Colorado will occur by Thursday, Nov. 29. Districts will need to provide documentation for changes to their data during this time. The final approval deadline is Thursday, Dec. 6, and districts should work to review their rates prior to that deadline.   

Non-public School Directory

Non-public schools must be entered into Data Pipeline by Monday, Dec. 3.


Newly elected school board members must be entered into Data Pipeline by Monday, Dec. 3. Directory respondents must enter non-public school and newly elected school board member data. 


Local education agencies will receive monthly notifications for direct certification of identified migrant students through Data Pipeline for SY 2018-19. Friday, Dec. 14, is the last day to enter all required data elements for all eligible migrant students recruited, counted and served by your program for SY 2017-18. By Dec. 1, migrant regions should review Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR) data summary reports. These first level data quality checks require explanations for any student increases or decreases from the prior year greater than ten percent.

Kindergarten School Readiness

The Kindergarten School Readiness data collection is to provide data for measuring improvement in students' knowledge and skills over time and to collect data needed to fulfill statutory requirements for an annual legislative report. The collection is now open and will close Thursday, Dec. 6.  Data reported to CDE will be from the initial fall assessment window. The initial assessment is to be completed within the first 60 calendar days of the school year as required by HB 15-1323.

December Finance

The 2017-18 December Finance snapshot is open and is due Monday, Dec. 31. 

Human Resources

Staff interchange files may be uploaded to the Data Pipeline and snapshots may be taken beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.  Staff Interchange files must be uploaded by Wednesday, Nov. 28.  The collection will close Feb. 21.

Special Education December Count

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) interchange files and staff interchange files may be uploaded. Snapshots may now be taken for the official December Count collection. IEP/Staff/Student Interchange files must be uploaded by Wednesday, Nov. 28.

Designated Agency

The 2018-19 Designated Agency collection is now open. Designated agencies may enter 2018-19 candidates into the Data Pipeline until Aug. 31, 2019.

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Nov. 9: 

  • Legislated deadline for initial Student October snapshot approval
  • Pre-ID extract for ACCESS for ELLs will be pulled from initial October Count snapshot

Nov. 28: Final approval for Student October due

Nov. 29:  Student End of Year Post Cross LEA validation approvals due

Dec. 3: 

  • Non-public schools directory deadline
  • Newly elected school board members must be entered into directory

Dec. 6: 

  • Student End of Year final approval deadline
  • Kindergarten School Readiness closes

More Information

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

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now

Early Learning

Early Literacy Grant Program

The Early Literacy Grant Program aims to help all students achieve reading competency by assisting local education providers to embed the essential components of reading instruction into all elements of K-3 teaching structures, including universal, targeted and intensive instructional interventions.

If interested in applying for this funding opportunity, submit a Letter of Intent via Survey Monkey by Friday, Nov. 9.

Visit the program webpage for more information and to access application materials. Contact Alex Frazier at or 303-866-6016 with any questions.

Submit a letter of intent for the Early Literacy Assessment Tool Project​

DIBELS Next and ISIP Early Reading are assessment that teachers may use to obtain reading skill levels of K-3 students, in support of the READ Act. Pending legislative approval during the 2019 session, CDE will offer DIBELS Next and ISIP Early Reading through the Early Literacy Assessment Tool (ELAT) project for the 2019-20 school year.

ELAT will require a letter of intent this fall  for participation in the next school year. Districts that do not submit a letter of intent will not be considered in the application process. The process will close Friday, Nov. 16. Access the letter of intent via Survey Monkey.

For more information, visit the ELAT project webpage or contact Tammy Yetter at or 720-955-8055.


READ Act Toolkit available

CDE’s Communications Unit has developed a toolkit of resources for district leaders, principals and teachers to help them communicate about the importance of early literacy and the Colorado READ Act – legislation passed in 2012 that provided the guiding philosophy, structure and resources to get children reading at grade level by the time they enter the fourth grade. The READ Act toolkit includes videos, fact sheets, a drop-in article about the importance of early literacy and a sample social media campaign. Access the READ Act Tools webpage.

For more information, contact Jeremy Meyer at 303-866-2334 or


Resources for transition to 2020 Colorado Academic Standards

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support has developed learning modules to build leaders' and educators' standards literacy in an effort to support their understanding of the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards. These modules were intentionally designed to be delivered at the local level to support smaller and rural districts who may not have district-level content specialists. CDE designed each learning module to be delivered in sequence using dedicated time available and relying on the learning leader of the school as the facilitator. 

For more information, contact Stephanie Hartman at or 303-866-6577.

Personal Financial Literacy education

In partnership with the Office of the Colorado Attorney General, The Colorado Jump$tart Coalition and many community partners, CDE has launched a statewide initiative to promote the multiple initiatives associated with personal financial literacy (PFL) education.

These include: implementation of the revised Colorado Academic Standards, a series of regional financial literacy teacher workshops and the Attorney General’s initiative, MoneyWi$er, which is designed to to promote PFL education across the state.

For more information, visit the PFL webpage or contact CDE's Personal Financial Literacy content specialist, Alyssa Wooten, at or 303-866-6875.

Coming soon: Computer science grants for elementary school educators

The Colorado Computer Science Teacher Education Grant Program was created to give computer science teachers an opportunity to provide quality learning experiences to their students. An additional $500,000 has been allocated to this grant and targeted to elementary teachers. CDE is in the final planning phases for this support. Watch for more information in the December CDE Update.

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 Floyd Cobb, executive director, 303-866-6868, or visit

Quick Links


Contact Us

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
Contact CDE

CDE Hours
Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See also: Licensing Hours

Educator Licensing 

WCC Access