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CDE Update

CDE Update Special Edition

Special Editions of the CDE Update

Read the latest: Sept. 20

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.

Superintendent/Principal Integrated Timelines

Integrated timelines for superintendents and school leaders/principals for the 2021-22 school year have been posted. The timelines help guide Colorado superintendents and principals through key implementation work occurring throughout the year.

The timeline includes the main tasks associated with implementing the standards, assessments, READ Act and accountability requirements. Additionally, information about deadlines for elementary and secondary schools as well as Schools of Choice are included. By identifying work that is happening simultaneously, districts can be more intentional in integrating their efforts. While not representative of all tasks, the timeline includes the major activities, broken out quarterly and by phase of implementation.

Find the Principal/School Leader integrated Timeline here.

Find the Superintendent Integrated Timeline here

Extended deadlines due to website issues

CDE is offering assistance for deadlines that were impacted by the Aug. 31 disruption to CDE’s website.
  • The Remote Learning Assurance and the Variance Waiver deadlines were extended to Friday, Sept. 3. See more in the Organizational Effectiveness section.
  • Districts whose consolidated application revisions or ESSER applications were affected should contact their ESEA regional contact to request an extension or assistance. See more in the ESSA section.

September 2021

Accountability, Performance and Support

What's Happening Now

Growth Data Release

Growth data for the 2021 WIDA ACCESS and CMAS assessments have been released to districts and posted on SchoolView. The department is still investigating the feasibility of providing growth data for PSAT/SAT.  These data are not intended for accountability use but rather to inform school improvement efforts at the state, district and school levels. The department is using two different approaches to examining growth.

  1. Cohort-referenced is the typical approach to growth that is normed to compare students with their academic peers in 2021. 
  2. A new baseline approach in response to the statewide decline in performance due to conditions created by COVID-19. The new baseline approach compares 2021 growth to pre-pandemic growth from 2019 or 2020, depending upon the assessment.

Request to Reconsider for Schools and Districts on the Accountability Clock

The State Board of Education in August approved rules for the 2021 request to reconsider the process for schools and districts with Priority Improvement and Turnaround ratings in the accountability system. Using a body of evidence -- including state assessment data, local assessment data, and site visits -- districts may request a change in plan type but may not change years on the accountability clock.  Click here for resources, including guidance, resource tools and the submission process. Requests must be submitted by Thursday, Sept. 30.

UIP Resources and Support

Updated resources are available on the School Improvement Planning website to help support school and district leaders develop their 2021-22 UIPs . Some resources include: 2021-22 Planning Guidance, the 2021-22 UIP Handbook, and Combined Guidance. Training sessions related to improvement planning will be held to support improvement planning; for information on topics and registration, visit the UIP Trainings page

Accountability and Family Partnership Contacts

Superintendents should complete this survey to indicate new accountability and/or family partnerships contacts for the 2021-22 school year as soon as possible. This authorizes accountability contacts to receive information and updates related to accountability, including permission to access student-level data files. For more information or for Docusign support, contact Sharon Walsh at


Thanks to the districts accredited with Priority Improvement or Improvement ratings that completed their 2021-22 accreditation contracts by July.

For districts accredited with Performance or Distinction, a customized accreditation contract was made available in August. Superintendents and board presidents will have until the fall to sign it. Typically, district contracts are automatically renewed. However, CDE recommends that all districts sign updated contracts this year because of the accountability pause and updates to language in the contract. This will also enable CDE to publicly post all signed contracts on its website. As Commissioner Katy Anthes is committed to providing as much flexibility as possible to districts during the pandemic, this is not a required submission this year for your district. Contact Accountability & Continuous Improvement Unit if you would like to delay updating your contract. 


What's on the Horizon

2021-2022 UIP Submission

All school and district UIPs for the 2021-22 school year 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 will review plans for schools and districts with Priority Improvement, Turnaround, On Watch, and ESSA Comprehensive Support identifications after Friday, Oct. 15. Biennial and combined plan flexibility will be available for eligible districts and schools, which can be checked here or in the online system under the School/District Summary and Requirements tab. 

Important Upcoming Deadlines

  • Thursday, Sept. 30 - Request to Reconsider deadline. 
  • Friday, Oct. 15 – UIP Submission deadline all for schools and districts.

More Information

For more information on accountability and improvement, contact Rhonda Haniford, Associate Commissioner, 303‐866‐6202.


What's Happening Now

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

What's on the Horizon

CMAS alignment to Colorado Academic Standards

Following careful review of the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) English language arts accommodations policy has been updated to align with the standards’ expectations that students read (decode a printed or tactile code) and comprehend (make meaning of) literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.  Assessment administration adjustments that change this expectation, such as reading the text from the CMAS English language arts assessment to the student, should not be used. Students may continue to use accommodations that do not change this expectation. 

The Assessment Unit and Exceptional Student Services Unit will provide district assessment coordinators and special education directors with technical assistance on the updated policy, including transition strategies to meet the new policy.

For more information, visit the State Assessment Accommodations webpage.

Optional Fall PSAT/SAT Dates

In response to the suspension of in-person learning due to COVID-19, CDE and the College Board will support an optional, cost-free SAT administration for 12th grade students and PSAT/NMSQT administration for 11th grade students enrolled in Colorado schools this fall. Colorado public districts and charter schools have the option to administer these exams and students will have the opportunity to participate in the option that is chosen by the school. 

PSAT 10/NMSQT School Day Testing - 11th graders:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 14
  • Thursday, Oct. 29

SAT School Day Test Dates - 12th graders:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 23
  • Wednesday, Oct. 14
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27

SAT Saturday National Test Dates. Vouchers are available for 12th grade students unable to test on a school day.

  • Saturday, Sept. 26
  • Saturday, Oct. 3
  • Saturday, Nov. 7
  • Saturday, Dec. 5

For more information, visit the Colorado PSAT and SAT webpage.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

For more information, contact Joyce Zurkowski, chief assessment officer, 303-866-6760,, or visit


Assessments administered by the unit include summative content assessments, English language proficiency assessments, college/career ready assessments, and alternate content assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The Colorado Measures of Academic Success are the state tests in English language arts, math, science and social studies. The PSAT and SAT are administered to high school students in grades 9-11.

What's Happening Now

Achievement Results from 2021 State Assessments Publicly Released

Overall state-level achievement and participation data for the state assessments that were required in spring 2021 were released on Aug. 12. For highlights from the 2021 results, read CDE's news release.

Spring 2021 State Assessment Communication Resources

CDE has developed resources to help districts and schools communicate with educators and families about Colorado’s 2021 state assessments. These resources include fact sheets, questions and answers and sample letters to help explain what the results can tell us about children's learning and how participation rates should be considered. 

Fact Sheets for Families

These fact sheets are designed to help districts communicate with families about the results of Colorado's 2021 state assessments.

  • CMAS 2021 Results – What Parents Need to Know (PDF) This one-page document covers the unique learning experiences from the pandemic, what results can tell us about children's learning and how participation rates factor into results
  • Colorado Measures of Academic Success: Understanding English Language Arts and Math Score Reports
    Information to help parents read and interpret their student's CMAS performance reports:
  • Questions and Answers for Families about Spring 2021 State Assessment Results. This Q&A provides answers to questions that families may have about the impact of COVID-19 on assessment results:

Sample Family Letter

Districts and schools may use this sample letter to communicate with families about state assessments. Language in the document can be used in entirety or in part to communicate about this year’s state assessments and score reports.​ English (DOC) | Spanish (DOC).

Communication with Educators

Superintendents and/or principals may use these materials to communicate with educators about state assessments. Language in the documents can be used in entirety or in part to communicate about this year’s state assessments and score reports.

Fall Assessment Responsibilities for Districts

Districts must conduct the following assessment-related activities at the beginning of the school year:

  • Ensure that all 2021 state assessment results have been distributed to parents and educators. Colorado statute requires local education providers to ensure that appropriate personnel provide and explain assessment results to the parent or legal guardian of each student enrolled in the school district or the Charter School Institute.
  • Post district testing windows, testing times, the manner in which assessment results will be used, and assessment requirements (federal law, state law, or locally selected) on websites. Tentative Spring 2022 state assessment windows can be found by following this link.
  • Ensure that district paper-based testing policies are in place and posted on websites.
  • Update and post district parent excuse policies on websites.

Appointment of new DACs and DTCs

Each year, district personnel changes may require the appointment of new a District Assessment Coordinator or District Technology Coordinator.  To ensure that CDE’s Assessment Division distributes information to the appropriate district staff, a formal appointment process has been established for each role.

To update DAC or DTC information, superintendents should complete a DAC Appointment Form or a DTC Appointment Form. The forms must be signed by the superintendent and returned to Sara Loerzel at When appointing a new DAC, remember that this individual will have access to Personally Identifiable Information.

The forms are available through the following links on CDE’s website:


What's on the Horizon

State Assessment Training

CDE will provide CMAS, CoAlt, and ACCESS for ELLs Assessment Trainings for District Assessment Coordinators this fall. In addition, College Board will again conduct a series of virtual PSAT/SAT fall workshops for District Assessment Coordinators and school Test Coordinators in September and October.  District Assessment Coordinators will receive specific details about training for each assessment.

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Watch for more information in next month's Update.

More Information

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

Educator Talent

What's Happening Now

Application window to join EPIC open through Sept. 9

All practitioners of educator effectiveness in Colorado are encouraged to apply for the new Educator Effectiveness Practitioner Implementation Council, created to solicit and engage direct input from EE practitioners across Colorado. The new council will have a commitment and focus on equity, diversity and inclusion; and it will have representation from across the state, including rural, suburban, and urban communities. EPIC will include educators, superintendents, principals and BOCES directors. Members selected to be a part of EPIC, in active partnership and collaboration with the EE Team at CDE, will explore and affirm quality implementation of educator effectiveness in Colorado. This will include expanding our collective understanding of practitioners' needs related to educator evaluations. EPIC will not be a forum for policy planning and development. It is anticipated that council meetings will take place quarterly with some meetings in-person and some virtual/online.

Applications will be accepted through Thursday, Sept 9. Additional details, including an informational flyer and an overview of council member expectations and anticipated time commitment, are available on the Educator Effectiveness Practitioner Implementation Council webpage. For more information, email

Districts and BOCES required to complete criminal and licensure checks

School districts and BOCES are required by statute to check with CDE on criminal background and licensure information before any educator is hired. Districts and BOCES can meet this requirement by using the CDE eLicensing Verification Access, a database-driven educator lookup that provides real-time information on educator licenses, applications, criminal background and exam information. Authorized users have access to:

  • Current and historical licenses, endorsements and authorizations
  • Submitted/in-process applications
  • CDE background check status
  • Criminal history information
  • Subsequent Arrest Report Query (replaces weekly subsequent arrest reports distributed prior to March 2017)
  • PLACE and Praxis exam scores

For more information, including eLicensing Verification Access application and renewal details, visit the eLicensing Verification Access webpage or contact Darrin Bacca, director of eLicensing and enforcement, at

Mandatory reporting requirements for districts, BOCES and charter schools

Colorado school districts, BOCES and charter schools are required to report to CDE if an employee is dismissed or has resigned as a results of an allegation of unlawful behavior involving a child. District superintendents or BOCES/charter school directors are delegated the responsibility of notifying CDE as soon as possible but no later than 10 business days after the employee's dismissal or resignation. Immediate notification to CDE is required if a district/BOCES/charter school learns that a current employee has been convicted of, pled nolo contendere or received a deferred sentence or deferred prosecution of any felony or misdemeanor crime involving unlawful behavior involving children.

School districts, BOCES and charter schools are encouraged to contact CDE with any questions regarding reporting requirements, including mid-year resignations, sexual harassment involving staff, letters of reprimand, or other related enforcement issues. While not every report results in disciplinary action by CDE, it is highly recommended that districts, BOCES and charter schools contact the department with questions and concerns, even if it falls outside the scope of mandatory reporting requirements.

For more information, visit the Mandatory CDE Enforcement Reporting webpage or contact Darrin Bacca, director of eLicensing and enforcement, 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, contact Colleen O'Neil, associate commissioner of Educator Talent, 303-866-6945, or visit


What's Happening Now

Contact ESEA regional contact if consolidated application revisions or ESSER applications affected by CDE website disruption

Districts whose submission of consolidated application revisions or ESSER applications were impacted by the disruption to CDE's website on Aug. 31 should contact their ESEA regional contact to request an extension or assistance. If you have further questions, contact Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, ESEA office director, at

Apply to join the Committee of Practitioners

CDE seeks new members for the Committee of Practitioners -- a critical stakeholder group that advises CDE on the implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act. The purpose of ESSA is to is to help all students reach academic proficiency, with particular focus on historically underserved students. Topics include accountability, grants management, and technical support to the field. The CoP plays a crucial role in elevating issues across the Colorado and ensuring strong communication between CDE and the K-12 education community.
CoP membership includes a variety of stakeholders from various roles and geographic locations. To ensure representation is robust, we are looking for more members to apply. CDE is specifically recruiting teachers, principals, specialized support staff, paraprofessionals, parents, and members of local school boards from mountain and rural plains communities.
Committee members serve for an initial three-year term with the opportunity to extend membership beyond the initial term. A minimum of four meetings will be held per year. To apply for a position, fill out the 2021-22 Application and submit to Emily Owen. For additional information, reach out to Jeremy Meredith or Tammy Giessinger.

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 Megan Allen, director’s assistant of Federal Programs, at

Organizational Effectiveness

Directory, Student End of Year and Special Education End of Year have deadlines in September. Staff and IEP interchanges will open this month. 

What's Happening Now

Deadline Extension: Remote Learning Assurances and Variance Waiver

Due to CDE website issues on Aug. 31, the deadline for submission of either the Remote Learning Assurance or the Variance Waiver request has been extended to Friday, Sept. 3.  Please see below for more information. 

Back-to-School Toolkit

A back-to-school toolkit with resources and strategies aligned to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Guide for Operationalizing the CDC's School Guidance is available to help schools provide safe learning environments this school year.

The toolkit created was created in collaboration between CDPHE, CDE and the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials. 

The toolkit features multilayered prevention and mitigation strategies and resources designed to help schools maintain and maximize in-person learning opportunities. It also includes guidance on vaccines, testing, masking, distancing, cleaning and responding to outbreaks. Many other subjects are also covered in the toolkit that will be updated as new information becomes available.


Local Education Agency calendars for 2020-21 must be entered by Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Student End of Year 

Districts have a target date to submit their 2020-21 Student End of Year snapshots by Thursday, Sept. 2. Thursday, Sept. 9 is the deadline upon which local education agencies must submit their initial Student End of Year snapshot. Cross-validation procedures will occur after this date.

Special Education End of Year  

The Special Education End of Year snapshot is wrapping up. All exception requests should be received by CDE by Thursday, Sept. 2, and all errors resolved by Thursday, Sept. 9. This collection closes on Thursday, Sept. 30.

Facility Schools System – Tuition Cost Application

The close date for the Facility Schools Tuition Cost Application is Monday, Nov. 15.

2021-22 Student Interchange and Student October

The Student Demographics and Student School Association files are now open, and districts may begin uploading in the data pipeline for the school year when they are ready. The Student October Snapshot is open as well.

December Finance

The 2020-21 December Finance collection is open and due by Friday, Dec. 31.


Districts can access their Migrant Student List through Data Pipeline. Monthly, LEAs can access a Cognos Report in Data Pipeline entitled “Migrant Student List,” which can be pulled by school year and district and is located under the “Student Profile” under the COGNOS reports tab. The district must have the STD LEAUSER or STD LEAVIEWER role to see the Student Profile folder in Cognos. The COGNOS Migrant List/Report has the following columns:  SASID, Last Name, First Name, Birth Date, School Code, Migrant Arrival Date and Migrant End Date.

The report can be downloaded into Excel and imported into the district’s Student Information System. Please ensure your district has uploaded a current Student School Association file to receive the most up-to-date Migrant List. Contact your local Migrant Education Programs, which can be found on this link. 


The next Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer data collection submission in the data pipeline is scheduled to open on Thursday, Sept. 2, and close on Monday, Sept. 27. This collection captures any students determined eligible for free or reduced-price school meals between July 1 and Aug. 27.  Eligible students reported during this submission period may be eligible for Summer P-EBT benefits only. Summer P-EBT benefits will tentatively be issued in late October as one lump sum payment of $375. For more information, including upcoming training and resources, visit the School Meal Eligibility webpage or the P-EBT Data Collection webpage. For questions, email:

Ascend Colorado Update

Ascend Colorado, the state’s Individualized Education Program system developed with CDE and AnLar, LLC., was made available to all Colorado Administrative Units on July 1. The system can be accessed by teams of educators, service providers and families of students with disabilities to develop and implement IEPs. 

For Ascend users who have system questions or Help Desk tickets, go to, or call 303-265-7011. For more information about Ascend, visit this website. All other questions regarding AnLar should be directed to Kerry Whitmore at

Administrative Units can still access the Frontline IEP system for another year at no cost. For Frontline system users with system issues or Help Desk issues, email

If you have questions about special education state reporting in either system, contact Orla Bolger at

What's on the Horizon

The Student October count date is Friday, Oct. 1.  The Nonpublic Schools and Kindergarten School Readiness Data Pipeline collections will open in October. 

Important Upcoming Deadlines

Wednesday, Sept. 1:  Local Education Agencies 2021-22 calendars deadline

Thursday, Sept. 9:  Initial Student End of Year snapshot deadline

Monday, Sept. 27:  P-EBT Summer Benefits Collection due

Thursday, Sept. 30:  Special Education End of Year due

More Information

For more information on data pipeline, contact Jan Petro, director of data services, 303-866-6838, or visit

Teaching and Learning

What's Happening Now

Office of Standards and Instructional Support

Computer Science Teacher Education Grant and the Computer Science Education Grant now open 

The Colorado Computer Science Teacher Education Grant and the Computer Science Education Grant remain open for application submissions.  The application process for both will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 11.  

Please visit the Computer Science Teacher Education Grant webpage for more information.

Please visit the Computer Science Education Grant webpage for more information. 

For more information on computer science, contact Chris Summers,

Preschool through Third Grade (P-3) Office 

Kindergarten School Readiness Back to School Webinar 

CDE’s P-3 Office will hold a webinar from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 to provide background, outline requirements and explain additional opportunities with the kindergarten school readiness assessment. An overview of the statewide collection updates for the 2021-22 academic year will also be provided. The webinar will provide opportunities to collaborate with colleagues around the state on strategies to support school readiness and specific assessment tool implementation. This meeting will be an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues around the state on strategies to support school readiness and specific assessment tool implementation. Follow this link to register. For more information, contact Megan Rogers 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, contact Floyd Cobb, Executive Director, Teaching and Learning