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District and School Support


CDE wants districts and schools to be successful, which is why they are held accountable for performance. The state annually evaluates the performance of districts and schools on a set of consistent, objective measures. In addition, the state has various program accountability requirements, including those under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

While CDE values accountability, we also value support to help struggling districts and schools.

The School and District Transformation Unit operates within the Colorado Department of Education to support districts and schools, to be able to demonstrate continual improvement in student achievement. The unit provides both universal and targeted support for districts in the state, depending on the level of support needed. Targeted technical assistance is provided to the lowest-performing districts and schools that receive performance ratings of Priority Improvement and Turnaround.

Theory of Action

If we...

  • foster key conditions and research-based turnaround principles...
  • diagnose and structure focused improvement planning...
  • align and differentiate, and leverage the allocation of all funds to ensure equity and maximize impact...
  • use select data and indicators to track and monitor progress...
  • actively support new and growing turnaround talent development programs...
  • pursue bold and urgent interventions and actions with schools and districts...


  • our lowest-performing districts and schools will become the highest-performing districts and schools as measured by the State Performance Frameworks.


CDE is committed to offering a range of supports to low-performing districts and schools.  Below you will find an overview of some different options that are available to schools identified through the emerging federal ESSA system [i.e., Comprehensive Schools (CS) or Targeted Schools (TS)] and/or through the existing state accountability system [i.e., Priority Improvement (PI) or Turnaround (T)].


School & District Support Request for Information

Each year, CDE releases the School & District Support Request for Information (RFI), in which it invites partners to join the state’s effort to transform low-performing schools and ensure that all students – regardless of where they live – have access to schools that prepare them for college and career. CDE requests information from providers willing and able to engage deeply with schools and districts across the state as partners of various scope and design.

Submissions for the RFI process occur in late spring and a list of approved providers is posted prior to the fall launch of the Empowering Action for School Improvement (EASI) grant. To learn more about the RFI process and approved providers, please see the CDE Advisory List of Providers webpage.


Conditions for successful district and school improvement

School Conditions Rubric

  • Leadership for Rapid School Improvement
  • Talent Management
  • Instructional Transformation
  • Culture and Climate Shift

District Conditions Rubric

  • Leadership for Rapid School Improvement
  • Talent Management
  • Instructional Transformation
  • Culture and Climate Shift