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CDE Update

CDE Update Special Edition

Special Editions of the CDE Update

Read the latest: April 30

CDE Update

About the CDE Update

Welcome to the CDE Update! This e-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.

Equity and Excellence virtual conference set for June and August

This summer’s annual Equity and Excellence Conference will be an online series in June and August promoting a Learning Impacts Toolkit intended to launch response efforts and catalyze support and instructional shifts in School Year 2021-22 and beyond. The 2021 Equity & Excellence Learning Series, titled “Reflect, Reset, Reimagine: Tools and Strategies to Accelerate Student Learning and Well-Being in Colorado,” will convene June 16-17, June 23-24, and Aug. 4-6, and will focus on four key areas: recovery planning, extended learning opportunities, instruction and intervention, and well-being and connectedness.  

Due to virtual learning room capacity, the limit for each event during the series will be 1,000 participants. District, Administrative Unit, and BOCES leaders (e.g., Superintendents, Instructional Leaders, Recovery Plan leads) may consider five to 10 staff members representing the district and school levels to attend each of the Learning Series opportunities. This webpage will be updated as more information is available.  For questions about the Learning Series, contact

May 2021

Accountability, Performance and Support

What's Happening Now

U.S. Department of Education approves state's waiver from federal accountability requirement

CDE's request for a waiver from federally required accountability, including identifying schools for support and related reporting for the 2020-21 school year, was accepted by the U.S. Department of Education on April 21.

With this waiver, Colorado is not required to implement and report the results of its federal accountability system using assessment results from the 2020-21 school year and will not be required to identify schools for support. The waiver also explicitly includes waiving the requirement for 95% of students to participate in assessments.   

Colorado will be required to resume school identification in the fall of 2022 and ensure transparency to parents and the public, including publicly reporting the percentage of students not assessed, disaggregated by student subgroups.  

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to annually identify schools for support based on performance of all students and specific disaggregated groups, based on five indicators:

  1. Academic achievement and growth in English language arts and mathematics.
  2. English language proficiency for English learners.
  3. Graduation rates.
  4. School quality or student success.

Read the letter from the U.S. Department of Education here.

Year 2 Accountability Pause

With the passage of HB 21-1161, Colorado paused the state accountability system for a second year, 2021-22. This means that performance frameworks will not be calculated or published in fall 2021. Instead district and school plan types will be rolled over from 2020, which were rolled over from 2019. Unlike the Year 1 accountability pause, however, a request to reconsider process may be offered for schools and districts on the accountability clock (i.e., Priority Improvement, Turnaround). The department is currently working with the Accountability Work Group to design an amended request to reconsider process. The rulemaking process is scheduled to begin in June 2021. 

Contact Lisa Medler at to provide feedback on the amended request to reconsider process.

More details on the accountability pause will be updated on the CDE website as they become available.

Adjusted Request to Reconsider Process

Based upon the recommendation of the COVID-19 Policy Implications Stakeholder groupHB 21-1161 enables the state to offer a request to reconsider process to schools and districts on the accountability clock during the second year of the accountability pause.  While schools and districts may request a new plan type, the accountability clock cannot be adjusted. For example, a school with a Priority Improvement - Year 3 plan type could move to Improvement - Year 3. Two consecutive frameworks at Improvement or higher would still need to be earned to fully exit performance watch.

The department is working with stakeholders (including the Accountability Working Group) to design an amended request process. This includes examining available state and local data, as well as qualitative measures like UIP reviews and State Review Panel visits. The State Board of Education is expected to consider rules to outline this process by early summer.  Contact Lisa Medler at if you have any feedback.

Roll Over of UIP Template to 2021-22

Thank you to all districts that submitted school and district plans to be publicly posted this year. The plans have been published on The 2021-22 template became available in the online system on Friday, April 30. There have been some minor template modifications to the new template, including bug fixes, simplification of submission requirements and a simplified executive summary.

What's on the Horizon

District Accreditation Contracts 

CDE is preparing to have all district accreditation contracts available for renewal over this next calendar year. Given adjustments to accreditation through the accountability pause, HB 18-1355 and some other technical fixes, the department is drafting updated language. We have also been working on a new streamlined process to track this process through a web-based accreditation form, including capturing signatures through DocuSign. 

Districts Accredited with Improvement, Priority Improvement and Turnaround - Because contracts expire in June, CDE anticipates starting this process at the beginning of May. The goal is to ensure there is at least a month to review the language and collect superintendent and board president signatures. 

Districts Accredited with Performance or Distinction - Contracts are anticipated to be available by fall so the process can conclude by the end of the calendar year. If more time is needed to complete this process, please reach out to Lisa Medler at

2021-22 UIP Submission

As a reminder for the 2021-22 school year, all school and district UIPs will be due for public posting and/or CDE review on Friday, Oct. 15. This is the launch of the new permanent timeline shift. 

CDE recommends that planning for the next school year begins this spring, as local data becomes available. The state will review plans for identified schools and districts (i.e., Priority Improvement, Turnaround, On Watch, ESSA Comprehensive Support) at that time. Biennial flexibility will be available for eligible districts and schools.  

2021-22 READ Act K-3 Instructional Program Reporting

2021-22 K-3 Instructional Program Reporting will be collected alongside other READ Act data through Data Pipeline. The collection window is open through Tuesday, June 15. This replaces the submission of the K-3 instructional reporting as an attachment to the district UIP.

For more information, visit the READ Act Data Collection site

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information on School Quality and Support, contact Rhonda Haniford, associate commissioner, at


What's Happening Now

Return Assessment Materials

Scorable and non-scorable assessment materials must be returned to the assessment vendor upon completion of testing. Scorable CMAS materials must be picked up by UPS from the district no later than Wednesday, May 19, and non-scorable CMAS materials must be picked up by UPS no later than Friday, May 21. All PSAT/SAT materials were to be picked up no later than Friday, April 30. Schools that participate in the additional May 18 SAT make-up must return materials from that administration no later than Thursday, May 20.

Updates to Assessment Demographic and Invalidation Data

After assessment administration, District Assessment Coordinators (DACs) and data respondents can update student demographic data and apply invalidation codes, including parent excusal, to student records.

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

  • Initial PearsonAccessnext data clean up (district and school levels) – Prior to May 21
  • Final PearsonAccessnext data clean up (district level) – May 24-26

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 (SBD) review process for all state assessments including PSAT and SAT. The remaining SBD windows for this year are included in the following table.


Tentative Spring 2021 Assessment Student Biographical Data (SBD) Review Windows


Tentative SBD Window


ACCESS for ELLs Alternate

April 12 – 21, 2021 (completed)

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

CoAlt: science and social studies

June 3-11


June 8-17

CoAlt: English Language Arts and Mathematics (DLM)

June 15-23

What's on the Horizon

2021 Reporting Timeline     

Adjustments to state assessment activities were made to provide Colorado school districts with additional time and flexibility in spring 2021. CDE’s is working with the assessment vendors to refine reporting timelines based on the impact of these adjustments. Details surrounding updated reporting timelines will be sent to District Assessment Coordinators as soon as they are available.  

Tentative Testing Windows for Spring 2022

For district planning purposes, the table below shows the tentative testing dates for spring 2022 state assessments.



Tentative Test Dates

       ACCESS for ELLs

K – 12

January 10, 2022 – February 11, 2022

CMAS: ELA and Math

CoAlt: ELA and Math (DLM)**

3 – 8

April 11, 2022 – April 29, 2022

(extended dates: TBD)

CMAS: Science and Social Studies

CoAlt: Science and Social Studies

Elementary Middle

and High

April 11, 2022 – April 29, 2022

(early high school window: TBD)

      Ninth Grade ELA and Math

      CoAlt: ELA and Math (DLM)**


TBD pending resolution of procurement process.


      CoAlt: ELA and Math (DLM)**


April 12, 2022 – April 14, 2022 District Choice for Initial Test Date*

April 26, 2020 – April 28, 2022 District Choice for Make-up Test Date*


     CoAlt: ELA and Math (DLM)**


Wednesday, April 13, 2022 Initial Test Date

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 Make-up Test Date

* Each school tests on one of the three available initial test dates for PSAT.  Districts may make that a district-wide decision or may allow individual schools to select their initial test date.

** To the extent possible, students taking the alternate assessment in a content area for which they are participating in a general education class should be assessed at the same time as their general education peers to avoid missed instruction.  Schools may also ensure that students taking the alternate assessment do not miss instruction from their general education class(es) through other means.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

May 18: CO SAT optional makeup administration date

May 19:

  • Deadline for UPS pickup of scorable CMAS materials
  • Deadline for entering CoAlt scores into PearsonAccessnext

May 20: Deadline to ship materials from the optional May 18 CO SAT makeup administration

May 21:

  • Deadline for UPS pickup of non-scorable CMAS materials
  • Deadline for submitting CMAS Testing Irregularity or Security Breach Report and spreadsheet Report to CDE through Syncplicity as applicable

May 21: Deadline for initial CMAS data clean-up in PearsonAccessnext (district and school levels)

May 24–26: Final CMAS data clean-up in PearsonAccessnext (district level) 

June 3-11: Tentative CMAS (all content areas) and CoAlt (science and social studies) Student Biographical Data Review window

June 8-17: Tentative PSAT/SAT Student Biographical Data Review window

June 15-23: Tentative CoAlt DLM English language arts and math Student Biographical Data Review window

More Information

For more information on assessments, contact Joyce Zurkowski, chief assessment officer, at, or visit

Educator Talent

What's Happening Now

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7

Colorado Teacher Appreciation Week is May 3-7, 2021. It’s the perfect time to thank Colorado educators for their tremendous dedication, creativity and adaptability during the last year. CDE invites you to participate and give thanks to the deserving teachers in your schools and districts.

During this week, we invite everyone to share a post, image or video with a sign thanking a teacher on any social media site using the hashtag #ThankATeacherCO. To help districts and schools celebrate, CDE has created a number of resources to spread the word. Access social media graphics, sample posts, and more on the Teacher Appreciation Week webpage.

For questions, contact the CDE Communications Office at

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 about Educator Talent, contact Colleen O'Neil, associate commissioner, at or visit

Organizational Effectiveness

What's Happening Now

News from Governor's Office

Mask ordinance extended and updated

Gov. Polis’ executive order, issued on May 2, still requires individuals to wear masks in schools (including extracurricular activities), child care centers and indoor camps for youth. For the full updated guidance, visit the COVID-19 Colorado website.

Exceptional Student Services 

Frontline contract officially extended for one year

Colorado school districts will be able to continue to use the same Individualized Education Program (IEP) statewide system as they have for more than a decade thanks to a contract extension with the previous vendor.

In March 2020, CDE awarded a contract for a new statewide IEP system to AnLar, LLC, following an extensive request for proposal process required under Colorado’s Procurement Code (C.R.S. § 24-101-101) and Colorado’s Department of Personnel and Administration (DPA) Rules (R-24-101-101). The previous contract with the Excent Corp. (later acquired by Frontline) had been in effect since September 2010. That contract was due to expire on June 30, 2021. However, because of the unprecedented challenges schools were facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CDE determined it would be a bad time to switch entirely to a new statewide system.  

The state Purchasing and Procurement Office granted CDE to have a one-year extension with Frontline for continued service as the state's school districts transition to the new system. 

Ascend Colorado is the state’s IEP system under development with CDE and AnLar, LLC. The system will be used by teams of educators, service providers and families of students with disabilities to develop and implement IEPs and will be available to all Administrative Units beginning July 1. Questions about Frontline's one-year extension, can be addressed to Trey Medbery at  If you have questions for CDE regarding the one-year extension, please reach out to Heidi Derr at

School Nutrition

Mini grant opportunity to reimburse School Food Authorities

CDE School Nutrition has been approved to award funding to reimburse eligible School Food Authorities (SFA) for administrative costs associated with the Fiscal Year 2021 Pandemic Economic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. Funds reimburse SFAs for allowable administrative costs incurred during the delivery of the P-EBT benefits. These funds allow SFAs to reimburse salaries of personnel, supplies, support services (including contracts for staffing or system-related work), or other expenses associated with the Fiscal Year 2021 P-EBT program. Other examples outlined below are not meant to be exhaustive but reflect possible costs local entities may incur during the administration of the P-EBT program: 
  • Reporting student-level eligibility or school’s classroom learning modes to CDE
  • Designated staff to respond to parent requests and questions about eligibility and student schedules
  • Collecting and processing school meal applications specifically to establish eligibility for P-EBT
Unallowable costs are those expenses that are not necessary or reasonable for the administration of the Fiscal Year 2021 P-EBT Program and expenses already reimbursed under another federal award. SFAs will have two reporting periods in May and August 2021.
Applications for the May grant open Friday, May 7, and close Monday, May 24. The application and instructions are forthcoming. Applications submitted in May should include the initial administrative P-EBT related costs through March 2021 and reimbursements will be distributed in June 2021.
Information and timeline for the August application is forthcoming. August 2021 application submission should include estimated total reimbursement needs for costs incurred through Sept, 30, 2021. The reimbursements will be distributed once all supporting documentation has been submitted to and approved by CDE. 

Data Pipeline


  • The four-day school week application for 2021-22 is open through Tuesday, May 11. 
  • Districts may request school code changes for the 2021-22 school year.  These requests must be made by Wednesday, June 30.


The Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) is now open until Thursday, July 1. All districts must submit files by Tuesday, June 15, at which time the cross-LEA validation process commences.


Migrant Regional Programs must withdraw all attending students at the end of the regular term within the Migrant Student Information System. For more information, visit the Migrant Education Program webpage.

Student End of Year   

The 2020-21 End of Year snapshot is in a soft open phase. Business rules and documentation will continue to be updated through the spring. The official open is scheduled for Wednesday, May 12.


What's on the Horizon

Teacher Student Data Link  

The teacher student data link (TSDL) interchange file is open as well as the teacher student data link (TSDL) snapshot. Only one interchange file must be uploaded as the collection has been redesigned. The statewide standard course code (SSCC) system is no longer being used; instead all data will be uploaded as part of the one interchange file. 

For the 2020-21 school year, districts are required to report TSDL data for students in grades six through 12 only. With this school year being a reportable Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) year, it is advised to also report all computer science courses as well for the sixth through 12th grade students as this subject is required for the CRDC file. Additionally, all courses are required to be reported for eighth through 12th grade migrant students. The TSDL snapshot is open and is due Friday, Aug. 13.

School Discipline  

School Discipline is open and will be due Thursday, Aug. 26.


The Attendance snapshot is also open and will be due Thursday, Aug. 26. 

Special Education Discipline

The Special Education Discipline interchange is available for districts to upload their Sped Discipline Action file. Administrative Units may take snapshots once the districts have uploaded their files and the Special Education IEP child and participation files have been updated. This collection will close Thursday, Aug. 26. 

Designated Agency   

The 2020-21 Designated Agency data collection is open in the Data Pipeline to enter 2020-21 candidates until Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Special Education End of Year

The Special Education End of Year snapshot is now available to Administrative Units.  This collection will close Thursday, Sept. 30.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

May 11:  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

Career Development Incentive Program & State Accountability Matriculation Rates

The Career Development Incentive Program, or Career Development Success Program Expansion in House Bill 18-1266, provides financial incentives for school districts and charter schools that encourage high school students to complete qualified industry credential programs, internships, residencies, construction pre-apprenticeship or construction apprenticeship programs or qualified Advanced Placement courses. 

Participating districts or charter schools could receive up to $1,000 for qualified and/or credential programs and will be distributed in tiered order. In addition, recognized industry credentials for 2021 graduates will be included as part of state accountability matriculation rates during the 2022-23 school year.

The intent to participate form is available and will remain open through the submission closing date. The reporting of all students that were enrolled in the 2020-21 school year who successfully earned/completed any of the qualified programs between July 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, are eligible for inclusion. The final submission deadline is Wednesday, June 30, via your district accountability contact Syncplicity account.

For more information about CDIP, contact Marina Kokotovic at, or visit the Career Development Incentive Program webpage.

For state accountability matriculation rate or Syncplicity questions, contact Dan Jorgensen at


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 about Student Pathways, contact Misti Ruthven, executive director, at

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now

Equity Resources for Districts and Schools

CDE has curated internal and external resources designed to assist educators in addressing the inequities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This webpage provides tools and resources to help educators bring an equity lens to their systems and policies.

For more information about this resource, contact Floyd Cobb, at

Preschool through 3rd Grade Office

The 2020-21 READ data collection reporting and budget submission windows are open. Districts are required to submit end-of-year READ Act assessment data files by June 15, 2021 and the new K-3 Literacy Program and Assessment data file by Thursday, July 1. Districts are required to submit budgets by Wednesday, June 30. For information, visit the READ Data Collection website.

Contact Whitney Hutton at with any questions.

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, at