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News Release - State Board of Education honors outstanding teachers

March 9, 2022

State Board of Education honors outstanding teachers

Timeline extended for review of social studies standards

DENVER -- The State Board of Education at its monthly meeting on Wednesday honored Autumn Rivera, a sixth-grade science teacher at Glenwood Springs Middle School in the Roaring Fork School District, as the 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year. Rivera was named one of four finalists for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year in January, the first Colorado nominee since 2009.

Rivera, who attended the meeting virtually, has taught at Glenwood Springs Middle School for nine years. Rivera has been an educator for 16 years and is also an adjunct professor in the education department at Colorado Mountain College. 

The board also recognized Stephanie Basile and Michelle Dillard, Colorado's latest recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government specifically for K-12 teaching in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science. Basile teaches at STEM Lab in Northglenn, part of the Adams 12 Five Star School District, where she serves as the K-6 engineering and computer science teacher. Dillard teaches fifth grade at Ford Elementary School in Centennial in Littleton Public Schools. Both educators were chosen for their deep content knowledge and ability to motivate students to be successful in STEM fields. They will each receive a paid trip to Washington, D.C., and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Revised timeline for revision of social studies standards

CDE revised the timeline for the review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards for social studies to allow the board to fully consider the large volume of feedback received on proposed revisions. Initially, both social studies and the arts standards revision processes were on track to conclude in June. However, due to the extended timeline for public comment and the high volume of feedback received, the social studies committee requires additional time to review and respond to all feedback received and make its final recommendations. The board will now review public feedback at its April meeting before hearing final revision recommendations from the committee in May. The board is still anticipated to vote on final revision recommendations for the arts standards at its April meeting.

Commissioner provides updates on accountability proceedings for Adams 14

Education Commissioner Katy Anthes notified the board that the independent State Review Panel’s evaluation of progress at Adams 14 School District, which was requested by the board in January, will be finalized late this week or early next week. The State Review Panel report on Central Elementary School will be available the week of March 21. The board will hold accountability hearings on the district and Central Elementary during its April meeting. Families, school and district staff and community members are invited to provide comments on the district’s current status and effectiveness and input regarding potential actions the State Board of Education could take to improve student learning outcomes.

Comments may be submitted any of the following ways: 

State board clarifies guidance to districts on evidence to be submitted on READ Act Teacher Training 

After a presentation from staff and discussion regarding how districts can submit evidence that their educators have met the training required by the READ Act, the board confirmed expectations for districts to submit evidence to CDE of their educators’ completion of the training. All K-3 teachers responsible for reading instruction must complete training in evidence-based instruction by Aug. 1. If districts do not provide evidence to CDE that their educators have met the requirement, their READ Act funding may be delayed. The board encouraged districts to require their educators to submit documentation that they completed the training through CDE’s online licensing system known as COOL. More information about the requirements for educators and districts is available on the CDE website.

$338 million requested for BEST grants

The board heard a presentation about the Building Excellent Schools Today grant program that uses revenue annually from the School Trust Lands, state Lottery revenues and marijuana excise tax for matching grants for construction projects. For the 2023 fiscal year, CDE received 64 applications requesting $338 million in BEST grants for projects around the state that would total $559 million including local funding. The requests will be reviewed by the Capital Construction Assistance Board May 18-20 and a prioritized list of awards will be considered by the state board in June.

In other action, the board:

  • Voted to request the Office of the Attorney General to assert the board’s exclusive jurisdiction over charter appeals in a lawsuit involving Durango School District 9-R and Ascent Classical in La Plata County District Court. 
  • Heard an update from CDE staff on implementation of Colorado’s state plan for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding.
  • Received information and discussed the postsecondary and workforce readiness requirements and data collections, specifically the graduation guidelines and accountability “higher bar” metric policies and associated data collection. The board indicated staff should continue with the graduation guidelines data collection as planned and continue conversations with districts and the Education Data Advisory Committee to consider if future data collections need to be changed.
  • The board denied a waiver request submitted by Delta County School District 50(J) for Vision Charter School, which sought to operate as an online school but waive the certification requirements for becoming a multi-district online school. The board denied the waiver request, which means that the school would need to apply for a multi-district certification to serve more than 10 out of district students as an online school.