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News Release - State board hears initial assessment study findings

May 16, 2014

State board hears initial assessment study findings  

The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on May 14 & 15. Highlights from the meeting include:

The board heard findings from the first phase of a study commissioned to examine issues and concerns associated with implementation of the new state assessment system.  CDE turned to its Regional Comprehensive Center, WestEd, a non-profit education research agency, to research the state’s assessment requirements, gather data from districts, parents, teachers and charter schools, synthesize the findings and present a range of options to address those findings. The study was performed at no cost to CDE or the state. 

Researchers from WestEd will be in Denver to share the presentation that was provided to the board on Wednesday, May 21 from 2-3:30 p.m. at CDE, 201 E. Colfax Ave., State Board Room, in Denver. Following the presentation, the researchers and CDE staff will be available to the media to answer questions. 

State Assessment Update

Staff provided an update on the first online state assessment administration which took place April 14-May 2 in social studies and science.  Staff shared information from the field tests of the English language arts and math assessments and discussed next steps in preparing for 2014-15 administration. To view the presentation, click here

Outstanding Educator

The board recognized Karla Durmas, an elementary teacher at Grand River Virtual Academy (Mesa County Valley School District 51) with the 2013-14 Online & Blended Educator Recognition Award.  Educators nominated for this award must demonstrate strong evidence of their positive impact on student performance and academic growth. They are exceptionally resourceful in meeting the individual needs of their students in various ways, and are leaders in their field.

Turnaround/Priority Improvement District Presentations

In March, April, May and June, the state board will hear from school districts with accreditation ratings of either Accredited with Priority Improvement or Accredited with Turnaround Plan. The board will hear an overview of successes, challenges, major improvement strategies, vision for how the district or school(s) will show significant and sufficient improvement to get off of the accountability clock and an explanation for how the district is supporting its lowest performing schools. Here’s a schedule for future presentations:

• June 12, Julesburg School District RE-1, Aguilar Reorganized School District 6 and Rocky Ford School District R-2

This month, the board heard from Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 and Ignacio School District 11-JT.  Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School District is located in the Four Corners region of southwest Colorado. The district serves 2,753 students and has nine schools. Two schools have Performance plans, three have Improvement plans, two have Priority Improvement plans and two have Turnaround plans. The district is accredited with a Priority Improvement plan and will enter year 4 on the state accountability clock on July 1. The district has been working on a number of improvement efforts including implementing an aligned and research-based curricular and instructional program. The district has also transitioned from a four-day school week to a five-day school week and adopted full-day kindergarten district-wide. 

Ignacio School District 11-JT is a small rural community located in southwest Colorado, with about 800 residents, including the Southern Ute Tribe. Ignacio is known as a tri-ethnic community, given the relatively equal proportions of Native American, Hispanic and Caucasian residents. The school district serves just over 750 students (25% Native American, 33% Hispanic and 34% White), and more than 60% of students quality for free or reduced lunch. Ignacio is home to three schools: one is assigned an Improvement plan type and two are assigned Priority Improvement plan types. The district is accredited with a Priority Improvement plan, and it will be entering year 4 on the state accountability clock on July 1.  Since 2010, Ignacio School District has focused its efforts on two major improvement initiatives. First, the district has worked to increase academic rigor by re-aligning its entire curricular and instructional program. Second, the district set an internal goal of increasing expectations for student achievement. 

Title I Allocation Alternatives for Multi-District Online Schools

Staff provided the board with an overview of the current methodology of Title I allocations. Colorado school district Title I allocations are made by the U.S. Department of Education based on U.S. Census resident population and resident poverty data.  CDE adjusts USDE school district allocations in a manner consistent with Title I statute and regulations.  The USDE allows for adjustments to be made in the case of special districts for whom there are no census data, such as the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and the Charter School Institute.

However, increasing numbers of students are enrolled in multi-district online schools. The state board and department are exploring a pilot project to examine alternate methods for allocating Title I funds for multi-district online schools. Staff will bring more details regarding a pilot to the board at its June meeting, which could include possible action by the state board around a pilot for the 2014-2015 school year. To view the presentation, click here.

School Funding 

Associate Commissioner Leanne Emm provided final outcomes of the School Finance Act and the Student Success Act and the most current district by district comparison of funding.  


Staff shared proposed budget priorities for the 2015-16 budget year for board review and discussion.  Based on board input and direction, staff will revise the budget items for board action at the June 2014 State Board meeting.

Other Action

Innovation Application

The board approved Delta County 50J’s request to be designated a District of Innovation on behalf of North Fork Montessori @ Crawford. 

The Colorado State Board of Education will hold its next meeting on June 11 at 9 a.m. at the Colorado Department of Education in Denver.