The Innovation Schools Act, passed in 2008, provides a pathway for schools and districts to develop innovative practices, better meet the needs of individual students and allow more autonomy to make decisions at the school-level. The stated purpose of the Act is to provide additional flexibility to schools and districts for the purpose of meeting student needs, and it is the intent of the Colorado Department of Education to interpret the provisions of the Act broadly so as to maximize this flexibility. The Act allows a public school or group of public schools to submit an innovation plan to its local board of education that is designed to increase student outcomes and strategically align the school's resources with their approach to teaching and learning. Once approved, school district boards of education must submit the innovation plans and waiver requests to the Colorado State Board of Education for approval.
The Schools of Choice Office works to inform boards, districts, schools and individuals about the purpose of receiving innovation status and the process to receive innovation designation. The office is responsible for reviewing innovation applications and coordinating additional review by CDE staff in areas such as: budget compliance, special education compliance, educator effectiveness and turnaround grant compliance. Following review, the office then provides staff recommendations about innovation applications submitted for State Board approval. In addition to working with schools and districts as they develop their innovation plans, the Schools of Choice Office conducts meetings and conversations with individuals to help them identify if innovation status is a good option for a district or school and collects innovation school data and produces an annual report on innovation schools by March 1st.
Data and Statistics
- List of Innovation Schools Approved by State Board (by District and Approval Date) (Updated January 6, 2017)
- Approved State Waivers-Innovation Schools (Updated January 6, 2017)
- 2014-15 Innovation Schools by District (Updated June 2015)
- 2014-15 Enrollment by School and Grade Level (Updated June 2015)
- 2014-15 Pupil Percentage by District (Updated June 2015)
- 2014-15 Innovation School Enrollment Demographics (Updated June 2015)
- 2014-15 % Free and Reduced Price Lunch Eligible Students (Updated June 2015)
- Archive: innovation school applications and supporting documents
- 2017 Districts of Innovation Annual Report
- 2016 Districts of Innovation Annual Report
- 2015 Districts of Innovation Annual Report
- 2013 Districts of Innovation Annual Report
- 2012 Districts of Innovation Annual Report
- 2011 Districts of Innovation Annual Report
- 2010 Districts of Innovation Annual Report
Submitting an Innovation Plan
Please note: CDE does not allow Zip files to come through our email server. Send an email to confirm receipt of your submission or to share the files via Syncplicity.
- Guidance for the Innovation Schools Act (updated Aug. 2013)
- Innovation Plan Cover Page-MUST SUBMIT AS FIRST PAGE OF THE INNOVATION PLAN!
- Innovation Guidance Appendix A Checklist
- Application Process Flowchart
- State Board of Education Innovation Schools Act Procedures
- S.B. 10-191 Guidance for Innovation Schools
- Memo for Innovation Schools seeking to waiver teacher licensure
- Options for Autonomous Schools in Colorado: A Handbook for School and District Leaders
- FACT Sheet on Innovation Schools
- FACT Sheet on Innovation School Waiver Requests (12/28/15)
Brian Martin, Schools of Choice