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CDE Update

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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.

April 2017

Accountability, Performance and Support

What's Happening Now

Alternative Education Campus status applications

By Thursday, April 27, all schools seeking designation as an Alternative Education Campus (AEC) for the 2017-18 school year will need to submit an application/renewal form via Syncplicity, with district or authority approval, verifying that the school meets or continues to meet eligibility criteria. Office hours are planned for Wednesday, April 12. Pre-populated applications were sent in February. Schools will need to get in touch with the district superintendent to access the template. 

More information is available on the AEC webpage. If you need assistance with this process or have any questions, please contact Jessica Knevals at or 303-866-6778.

What's on the Horizon

AEC Selection of Measures

By Friday, June 30, all AEC schools must submit a selection of accountability measures form, with district or authority approval, indicating any optional supplemental accountability measures, metrics and cut-points they are requesting to be used in their AEC School Performance Framework report. This form will be released by Monday, May 1, and a Selection of Measures webinar will be conducted in early May as well.

Unified Improvement Planning submissions date

Every district and school must submit a revised or updated UIP by Monday, April 17. Districts and schools with a performance plan type may submit plans biennially. Eligibility resources are available on the UIP support page. 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 set up in the online system.

More information regarding submission is available on this UIP support webpage

Important Upcoming Deadlines

April 17 - School and district UIPs due through the online UIP system for posting on SchoolView
April 28 - AEC 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

State assessments will be administered throughout Colorado in April according to the following schedule.

Assessment/Content Area Testing Schools/Grades Spring 2017 Assessment Windows
CMAS: English Language Arts/Literacy All schools with grades 3-9 April 10-28 (official window)
CMAS: Mathematics All schools with grades 3-9 April 10-28 (official window)
CMAS: Science All schools with grades 5, 8 and 11 April 10-28 (official window)
CMAS: Social Studies Selected schools with grades 4 and 7* April 10-28 (official window)
Colorado PSAT 10 All schools with grade 10
  • April 11 or 12: District choice for initial test date **
  • April 25 or 26: District choice for makeup test date
Colorado SAT All schools with grade 11
  • April 11: Initial test date
  • April 25: Make up test date
  • April 11-14: Accommodations window
  • April 17-21: Accommodations make up testing

**If Tuesday, April 11, is chosen as the initial test date for PSAT 10, the make-up date will be Tuesday, April 25. If the district chooses Wednesday, April 12, as the initial test date, the make-up date will be Wednesday, April 26.

*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.

PSAT 10 and SAT Student Data Questionnaire

Students in 11th grade will take the SAT for the first time this spring, while 10th-graders will again take PSAT 10. CDE has asked school test center supervisors to take special notice of the student data questionnaire (SDQ) and the accompanying student data consent forms. Students taking the PSAT 10 or the SAT will be asked to complete a voluntary student questionnaire that will collect information about the student’s grades, interests, intended major and college plans, among other things. Students are not required to answer this questionnaire, but those who fill it out will have the opportunity to opt into the College Board’s Student Search Service. This service allows participating colleges and nonprofit scholarship organizations to better find specific student groups to share information about the opportunities their organizations provide. Students who indicate that they do not wish to complete the optional questions or who do not return a signed consent form should not be allowed to complete the optional questions. 

DACs should contact Jared Anthony at or 303-866-6932 for more information about the SDQ.

Improve student learning with the Colorado Assessment Literacy Program

The Colorado Assessment Literacy Program offers tools and resources aimed at supporting educators’ efforts to expand their understanding of the purposes and uses of assessment information to guide instruction. The program includes resources that help to build capacity across districts, align and develop sustainable assessments systems, including classroom, district, and state assessments.

The program also helps educators design, implement and use assessments effectively to guide and support instruction and make important decisions that benefit all students. Centennial Middle School in Montrose implemented the program by engaging all teachers and saw great improvements in student outcomes, watch a video of this school's success with the program in the link below.

Learn more about the Colorado Assessment Literacy Program and see the list of resources available.

For questions please contact Angela Landrum, principal consultant, at or 303-866-6931.

CMAS request for proposals

In March CDE issued a request for proposals for state assessments. The RFP is required because the current contracts for CMAS and CoALT science and social studies assessments is expiring this summer and the CMAS English language arts and math contract is expiring next year. The State Board of Education has required the following specifications in the RFP:

  • The English language arts and math average standard testing time for the operational assessments will not exceed four hours in length, with a maximum of eight hours combined.
  • Individual student-level results will be available to school districts within 30 days of receipt of all tests.
  • The department will have decision-making authority over test design, form development and test administration policies.

Depending on the result of the request for proposals, the CMAS and CoAlt science and social studies assessments may move to another contractor next year, and the CMAS English language arts and math assessment may move to a new contractor in the following year. Despite a potential contractor shift for the science and social studies assessments next year, the content of these assessments will remain the same in spring 2018. CDE is committed to working with districts to minimize any disruption these changes may cause. The intent to award a contract is expected to be announced in June, as required by the board. 

What's on the Horizon

CMAS Materials

All scoreable CMAS materials (i.e., paper-based tests to be scored) must be picked up by May 3. If scoreable materials are not picked up by that date, there is no guarantee that records for these paper-based students will be included in CDE’s Student Biographical Data Review (SBD) or scored. Any nonscorable materials must be picked up by May 5.

Updates to Assessment Demographic and Invalidation Data

After assessment administration, District Assessment Coordinators and data respondents can update student demographic data and apply invalidation codes, including parent excusals, to student records. DACs have been provided with specific details about how to provide information for each assessment.

Districts will have two opportunities to update student demographic and invalidation data for assessments managed through PearsonAccessnext (CMAS: math, English language arts, science, social studies, CSLA, and CoAlt: science and social studies):

  • Initial PearsonAccessnext data clean up: Prior to May 12
  • Final PearsonAccessnext data clean up: May 15-17

Demographic and invalidation data (Special Circumstance Codes) for the CoAlt: English language arts and math (DLM) assessments can also be updated in the KITE system during and shortly after the assessment window; however, the vendor’s system cannot be used to update state use fields*. 

Districts also have the opportunity to review and make corrections to demographic and invalidation data through CDE’s voluntary Student Biographical Data Review (SBD) processes. The remaining SBD windows for this year are included in the table below.  

Tentative Spring 2017 Assessment Student Biographical Data (SBD) Review Windows


Tentative SBD Window


May 15 – May 24


(including math, English language arts, CSLA, science, and social studies)


CoAlt: science and social studies

May 22 – June 1

CoAlt: English Language Arts and Mathematics (DLM)

June 19 – June 27

*Because multiple steps must be taken before a CoAlt DLM Special Circumstance Code can be applied for a student in the KITE system, CDE recommends that districts apply these codes during SBD.

**PSAT 10/SAT invalidation codes, including parent excusals, can be indicated on the State Use section of a student’s answer document or during SBD.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

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

May 3 – Deadline for pickup of all scoreable CMAS materials

May 5 – Deadline for pickup of all nonscorable CMAS materials

Through May 12 – Initial PearsonAccessnext data clean up

May 15 - 17 – Final PearsonAccessnext data clean up

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

May 22 - June 1 –SBD review window for CMAS (science/social studies, CoAlt science/social studies, ELA/math (PARCC), and Colorado Spanish Language Arts 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

Piloting the revised Colorado teacher rubric in 2017-18 school year

Thank you to the many educators who participated in the revised Colorado teacher rubric draft focus groups conducted around the state and through the online feedback survey. The response was overwhelmingly positive and, because of that, the next phase will be determining pilot districts or BOCES.

During the 2017-18 school year, CDE will conduct a pilot study to determine the impact of a revised teacher rubric. The Educator Effectiveness office will look for interested parties to pilot this revised rubric at the district or BOCES level. At this time we are unable to pilot the revised rubric with individual schools or teachers.      

The following criteria will be used to ensure the pilot is representative of educators throughout the state:

  • Location/geography (rural, suburban, urban)
  • Size (number of educators)
  • Student populations represented

As part of the pilot, districts/BOCES will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to include items such as, but not limited to:

  • Mandatory use of the Colorado Performance Management System (RANDA); Collection of evaluation ratings and educator email addresses through COPMS/RANDA
  • Willingness to meet specific evaluation process deadlines that may differ from previously set deadlines in the district (i.e. due dates for the self-assessment, mid-year and end-of-year review)
  • Participant feedback (surveys and/or focus groups) collected in the early fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018

Once pilot districts are determined, agreement and completion of the MOU will be required that will outline specific expectations for implementation and feedback.  Anticipate a revised version of the teacher rubric to be available to pilot districts/BOCES by mid-May and to be provided upon completion of the MOU. Training and support will be organized through the summer and early fall.

If your district/BOCES is interested in serving as a pilot site for the revised teacher rubric, complete the intent to pilot registration by close of business Friday, April 28. As a reminder, only entire districts or BOCES are able to pilot the revised teacher rubric, and all stakeholders should be informed and on board with the intent to pilot before completing the registration.

For questions and concerns, contact Courtney Cabrera, principal consultant for Educator Effectiveness, at 303-866-2332 or

Educator Effectiveness Leaders’ Retreat June 26 and 27

The next EE Leaders’ Retreat will be noon - 5 p.m. Monday, June 26, and 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, at the River Run Village in Keystone. Lodging accommodations will be available at the participant’s expense. Information regarding room rates and logistics will be provided upon registration.     

The focus of this two-day retreat will be planning and continuous improvement of evaluation system implementation in the 2017-18 school year.  Bring a district or school team and plan to dig into your evaluation data, reflect on lessons learned, problem solve with your district or school team, and network with other teams from around the state.

Space is limited. Registration will close Monday, May 1. Room reservations will need to be made no later than Thursday, May 11. For questions and concerns, contact Courtney Cabrera at 303-866-2332 or

Colorado Performance Management System Updates

New Districts/BOCES/charter school users of the Colorado Performance Management System

For organizations new to the Colorado Performance Management System (RANDA) or those that are interested in using it for the 2017-18 school year, please let the EE team know by emailing

Support on the Colorado Performance Management System

As a reminder, if you need support please contact RANDA Solutions directly using the Online Support Request Form. For all other questions, email

What's on the Horizon

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

April 28 - Registration for pilot of revised teacher rubric

May 1 - Registration deadline for leaders' retreat

More Information

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


In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed 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 ESSA E-Newsletter - "ESSA in Colorado."

What's Happening Now

Final ESSA Hub Committee meeting in March

The ESSA Hub Committee gathered for a final meeting on March 6 to review the committee’s final recommendations on ESSA decision point items before they were presented to the State Board of Education on March 8. The Hub recommendations formed the basis of the ESSA State Plan Draft. Over the last eight months the ESSA Hub Committee members worked to develop ESSA recommendations that reflected a final consensus of the committee and the constituencies the members represent. Although the committee reached a majority agreement on most decision points, some members issued minority opinions. CDE will present a final report of the Hub Committee's work to the State Board of Education in the near future.

To see the final list of Hub committee recommendations on ESSA, please view the Hub Committee ESSA Dashboard.

Please visit the Hub Committee webpage for meeting information, resources, and other materials.

Public comments

CDE posted a draft of the Colorado ESSA State Plan on Feb. 10 and accepted comments through March 13. CDE is reviewing the nearly 500 comments and roughly 20 letters and will address the feedback in the plan as appropriate. CDE is committed to using the comments and feedback received on the plan in multiple ways—including in implementation efforts and providing feedback to districts as they think about how to implement ESSA. Even if every comment is not reflected in the final plan, it will be heard and considered in many other contexts.

To see the final list of Hub committee recommendations on ESSA, please view the Hub Committee ESSA Dashboard.

Meeting information and resources, including any minority opinions of Hub Committee members,  can be found on the ESSA Hub Committee webpage.

A Spanish version of the ESSA State Plan Draft was posted on Feb. 24 and the department accepted Spanish language comments through Monday, March 27. Please see the ESSA feedback webpage for more information.

Read the letter from Commissioner Anthes on Colorado’s ESSA State Plan Development

Latest on ESSA from Washington, D.C. 

In February, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to do away with the Obama Administration’s proposed rules regarding ESSA accountability, reporting, and state plans. On March 10, the U.S. Senate also voted to repeal the proposed rules.  On Monday, March 24, President Trump signed the order and finalized the repeal process. As a result of the repeal, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) issued new requirements and guidance for state plan development

You can find that guidance and other resources on the USDE’s ESSA state plan guidance page.

What's on the Horizon

Plan to be submitted to feds for early window review

Given the challenge of securing the signatures of the State Board of Education and Governor within the allotted timeframes, the USDE has notified CDE that there is no longer a need to submit our state ESSA plan to the USDE by Monday, April 3, in order to be considered as part of the early window for ESSA state plan reviews. CDE now has the flexibility to wait until after the State Board of Education meets on Wednesday, April 12, and Thursday, April 13, to secure the required signatures and submit Colorado’s plan. At the April board meeting, CDE will request the permission of the board to submit Colorado's state plan to the USDE. If the Board approves submission of the plan, CDE will secure the required signatures and submit the plan to the USDE by Wednesday, May 3, which is the new deadline for submitting plans with the required signatures.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

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

Organizational Effectiveness

Report Card March is due in April and the READ collection will open this month. 

What's Happening Now

Report Card March

The Report Card March collection is due Friday, April 7.


The Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) collection will open Monday, April 3. All districts must submit files by June 16 at which time the cross-district validation process commences.


2015-16 December Finance

The FY 2015-16 financial data that districts posted to their websites will be used for the financial transparency public website view. This website, created by BrightBytes, will go live on July 1.

Teacher Student Data Link and Statewide Standards Course Codes

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. Reminder: TSDL data collected this year will populate public reports projected to be out Nov. 1.

End of Year

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

What's on the Horizon

Four-day school week applications are due mid-May. Districts will have the opportunity to conduct Student Biographical Data (SBD) review and verification in May for the following assessment programs: CO PSAT 10 & CO SAT; CMAS: science, social studies, English language arts, and math; CoAlt: science and social studies; and Colorado Spanish Language Arts (CSLA). The School Discipline and Attendance (SDA), Special Education Discipline and Special Education End of Year collections will all also open in May. 

Important Upcoming Deadlines

April 7:  Report Card March deadline

May 12: Four-day school week applications due

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

District at a Glance

District at a Glance is a Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) project that follows Colorado's high school graduates into college and provides information on college enrollment, first-year college outcomes, concurrent enrollment and remedial education. The indicators are broken down by school district and by high school. Access the database via CDHE.

Data for this report are collected using the SURDS database, which includes information from all public colleges and universities in the state and the University of Denver, Regis University and Colorado Christian University.

For more information, contact Luke Banasza, K-12 research and data specialist, at 303-996-1323 or


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 Misti Ruthven, executive director of Student Pathways, 303-866-6206, or visit

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now

Commissioner's Teacher Cabinet

Applications are now being accepted for teacher representatives on the Colorado Education Commissioner's Teacher Cabinet. Selected applicants will advise on policy implementation and provide ideas on improving education for all students. The cabinet will be made up of 15 teachers from around the state representing schools and districts of all sizes. To be considered, educators must have at least three years of experience in the classroom and must submit required materials by Friday, May 5. Selected educators will serve two years on the cabinet beginning in August.

The application and more information, including a timeline for the application process, can be found on the Commissioner's homepage.

Early Learning and School Readiness

Attend a Colorado Preschool Program meeting

The Office of Early Learning and School Readiness is continuing to host meetings across the state for the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) through May. The purpose of the regional meetings is to provide school 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. Information about how the state’s new Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System will apply to district-based preschool programs will also be shared. Locations, dates, registration  and contact information can be found on the 2017 CPP meeting webpage.

For more information, contact Liz Schroeder, program and data support, at 303-866-6783 or more about CPP on the program webpage. 

Kindergarten School Readiness Assessment Funding Available for 2017-18  

For the final year of the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant, CDE will reimburse a portion of district-purchased kindergarten school readiness assessment subscriptions through Colorado’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Fund for the 2017-18 school year. More information about funds for kindergarten portfolios will be sent to School Readiness Contacts and District Fiscal Managers by Friday, April 14.

For more information about the School Readiness Initiative, contact Emily Kielmeyer, Kindergarten School Readiness program manager, at 720-822-0640, or visit the School Readiness webpage.

Summer learning labs to support preschool and kindergarten transition to new MyTeachingStrategies™ platform

The Office of Early Learning and School Readiness will host Summer Learning Labs in various parts of the state to support teachers with the transition to MyTeachingStrategies™. More information about the Summer Learning Labs for kindergarten teachers will be available soon.

For questions, contact Emily Kielmeyer at 720-822-0640 or

The READ Act

READ data collection opens this month

The READ data collection will open Monday, April 3. The deadline to submit and verify data is Friday, June 30, which will enable CDE 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 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 must be provided on how the programs are based on scientific or evidenced-based research.  An informational webinar and an updated data collection timeline is available on the READ Act webpage.

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

New reading programs added to the department’s advisory list

Advisory lists have been updated with instructional programs from the most recent request for information process. School districts are encouraged to review the lists of core, supplemental and instructional programs that have been reviewed and found to be in alignment with the Colorado READ Act and the Colorado Academic Standards.

For more information, contact Marisa Calzadillas, literacy project coordinator, or 303-866-6189.


District Sample Curriculum Project

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support is launching Phase IV of the District Sample Curriculum Project. This phase focuses on providing tools and resources developed by teachers for teachers in all content areas that highlight the teaching and learning cycle: planning, enacting and reflection. To learn more and access these resources please the High Impact Instructional Strategies webpage.

Last chance to provide feedback on the Colorado Academic Standards

Since November 2016, CDE’s online standards review system has been open for public feedback on each and every expectation within all 10 content areas of the Colorado Academic Standards. The online system will close on Sunday, April 30. Feedback collected will be provided directly to the committees making recommendations for revisions to the standards.

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 online standards feedback system.

Participate in April’s standards review and revision webinar

Monthly informational webinars will be available to keep educators and other stakeholders informed of the standards review and revision processApril’s webinar will be 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, and will include an update on the standards review process, the membership of the standards review committee, and information on preschool through third grade alignment. 

For more information about the standards revision process, contact Karol Gates, director, Standards and Instructional Support at 303-866-6576 or

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