Colorado Race to the Top Presentation

Uploaded by usedgov on 07.04.2010

LT. GOVERNOR O'BRIEN: Good afternoon. I'm Barbara O'Brien, the Lieutenant Governor
of Colorado. Thank you very much for this
opportunity to present to you. Governor Ritter sends his regards. He
is in one hundred percent support of this proposal and asked me to lead the process
to develop our proposal because of my deep roots
in educational reform.
I personally wrote the Charter School Act of 1992. The organization I ran created
the Colorado Preschool Program and we played a
key role in passing a valid initiative, Amendment
23, which stabilized public school funding. So I have 20 years of experience in
education reform and it's a big part of my portfolio as Lieutenant Governor. If we are
selected, I will chair the Leadership Investment Board for Race to the Top.
I want to give you a quick roadmap to our presentation, all-given overview of the
political and policy environment: Commissioner Dwight Jones, who personally oversaw the
turnaround of 11 schools, and he opposed the achievement cap in the district he ran and
is going to talk about why this plan will work;
Associate Commissioner Rich Wenning is going to talk about how our data system will
drive results and the power of data conversation;
Nina Lopez is, or will be, CEO of Race to the Top and has roots in the charter school
movement. She is going to talk about how we will execute our plan and will expand on our
great teachers and leaders strategy; and then Linda Barker, our friend, is the Director
of Teaching and Learning at the Colorado Education
Association and she will talk about why the collaboration that runs through our proposal
is real and how the leadership of CEA moves the
needle with their members for planning, and then
will return it to the Commissioner who will pull
it all together. I am proud to be part of this capable
team. We are completely committed to executing this plan. The Governor and I, as you might
know, end our terms in January, but we have absolutely no doubt at all that this plan
will continue.
We worked on bipartisan support. Three governors over 20 years from both parties
have built momentum for this reform agenda and
it was signed by the President of the State Board
of Education who is a republican. We did not
politicize this process. It is Colorado's reform plan.
This team understands the reform process. We know when to pressure the system.
We have all worked on charter schools. We have
innovation schools. We have school takeovers, pressure on the system.
We also know when reform needs buy-in. The Standards and Assessments Movement for
Colorado was a leader. We designed our charter system so that it was locally driven and we
now have one of the most vibrant charter sectors
in the country.
And the development of the teacher and student identification system all required
buy- in, so you'll notice that balance in our plan.
We believe in some key things that are in this proposal: individual self-reliance
with community support, incentives get better
behavior than mandates, measurable goals, flexible strategies at the local level with
public/private partnerships for sustainability and accountability at every level.
In particular, we believe that this is a case where you need serious collaboration
because no one can do this work alone. We have
two game changers in our proposal: the power of
the data conversation that you will hear about and the public outreach which led to the public
excitement about this agenda, which led to a
very high level of trust among stakeholders all
over this state leading to collaboration becoming one of our central strategies.
We can execute this plan and it's my pleasure to introduce to you Commissioner
Lieutenant Governor. Good afternoon. During our presentation, we will be
crystal clear about our focus and our focus is
absolutely about getting better results. We think that achievement matters most, so we
have built our whole plan to be tightly focused
on how we get the results that the U.S. Department
of Education is wanting to get and what we're wanting to get in our state.
We also understand clearly that this is hard work. We've made a conscious decision,
as you, hopefully, been able to read throughout
our plan that we plan to do this work with our
educators and not to our educators. So that collaborative nature is how we really built
this effort.
We understand clearly through experience and in going forward that if we're
going to get the kind of results that we want for students, then we have to get our plan
down to the classroom level. We understand clearly
that teachers in the classroom are in front of
25 kids. That ultimately is what will deliver the results that we need to get in Colorado.
Let me try to give you a quick example of that. We've taken the Secretary very
seriously about his charge to turn around our
lowest-performing schools. We identified them early. The Secretary has School Improvement
Grants and has really targeted funds for states to get to work and it's very hard work.
One of our districts trying to do as we've asked started that work early. Now,
in their early efforts to try to make tough
decisions, they made those decisions in isolation and immediately was getting push-back
from one of the buildings that was going to be
targeted for turnaround. Linda Barker, who you'll hear from
later, went out on her own, was not asked, and
met with the teachers in the building, used the
growth model data that you're going to get some
examples of and showed the teachers what the results currently were and why we had to do
something to get better results, totally got the
teachers on board without asking, just felt the
need that that needed to happen for that school So that's an example of the level of
cooperation that we have in our state to do this
very difficult work. At this time, I want to get right to
it. So I'm going to turn it over to Rich Wenning who is the Associate Commissioner
and he will share with you the results we expect,
as well as the plan on how we're going to reach
you, Commissioner, and good afternoon. The results we expect really start with
the end in mind and that's our statutory bright line principle in Colorado of getting all
kids ready by exit.
So we have in our statutes the goal of one hundred percent of students being college-
and career-ready by graduation and we're delighted that the President's blueprint for
ESEA embodies that focus, as well. That clarifies we're in and the focus
of our accountability and performance management systems to really focus on one really critical
thing and that's to maximize every student's progress toward reaching college and career
readiness. And that clarity supports a basic and
powerful conversation, particularly with teachers, parents and students about how much
progress a student made, whether it was good enough to get him on track to that destination
and, most importantly, how we're going to improve, now, what do we do when we see a
performance not where it should be. And that destination of college and
career readiness that we seek for all students drive the ambitious goals that you saw in
our proposal.
So what gives us the confidence that we can raise proficiency and post-secondary
readiness at the pace that we expect? First, we've got a balanced and coherent investment
strategy across all four assurance areas. Our
proposal hangs together. At the center of the strategy, though,
is getting breakthrough educator collaboration about performance and practice. And we do
this through providing outstanding instructional
improvement technologies with incentives for use, providing students and educators the
tools that we've not provided before to meet the
results that we actually expect of them. And also critically, these
instructional improvement strategies are an aligner between our accountability system
signals and the performance management practice, tools that we expect educators to use.
So underpinning that collaboration is a new conversation about performance driven
by SchoolView and the Colorado growth model.
And I should note that while we've made some progress with the growth model and
SchoolView, we have a long way to go and that's really where Race to the Top comes in.
We've done a decent job of shelling results, but our goal now and our focus with
these investments and the provide and perform elements are to bring results together with
instructional practices and high-quality digital content that's made available, again, to
teachers, to parents, to students. Let me just quickly brief a few slides
on SchoolView and the growth model here. SchoolView is -- this is a simple portal that
navigates for the public and educators, all of
our performance information and provides access to learning resources that we're going to
be developing through Race to the Top.
The Colorado growth model itself presents a simple way of understanding the
distribution of progress and achievement throughout all of our schools, districts and
states always arranged in a common way of looking at growth on the horizontal axis and
looking at achievement on the vertical with the
centerline reflecting a year's growth and a
year's time; the horizontal line showing the average percent for efficient and advanced
in our state at that particular grade stat.
The public has gotten very used to this kind of display and easily helps us identify
the lower-performing schools and the highest-
performing schools. And this illustrates one particular
school and one particular district. It shows all the middle schools in Denver and shows
one of our exemplary schools, West Denver Prep
Charter School, a school with more than 80 percent of students eligible for free or
reduced-price lunch. And this tell us with a 79 median
student growth percentile that the typical student in West Denver Prep is making more
progress than 79 percent of the kids in Colorado with the same starting point.
This quickly shows the clarity about this school for our educators to benchmark
and shows a school that we want to replicate and
where we want to invest to get much more of this
kind of school. If this can become the norm, rather than the exception, we'll have no problem
meeting our performance goals. For an educator that has a password, we
can now go into individual students and look at
a grade stat. These are all the students that in sixth grade -- and all of the information
I'm showing you has been anonymized -- the
highlighted students are all eligible for free
or reduced-price lunch and we can see their dramatically different growth rates against
achievement, always achievement and growth. It allows teachers quickly to focus on
which students need the most focus because they're not making enough progress to catch
up. And then lastly, and perhaps most
importantly, is what we provide for parents and
students, a single report that shows the student's entire trajectory while they've
been in Colorado, regardless of what school or
district they've attended before. This is a critical element for
motivating the kind of conversation that we want
to have with a parent, with a teacher and with
the student. And that conversation, again, should be in plain language and focuses on
how much growth did my child make, is it good
enough for them to get to the destination and what
are we going to do together to get that done.
That focus on the user permeates everything we do when it comes to accountability
and performance management. And let me leave you just with two
anecdotes. A principal came up to me from Denver and reported that they had been
celebrating the gains their students were making
for years doing their own growth analysis without benefit of looking at how the whole
state was doing and they were celebrating that
improvement. They received their Colorado growth model data and then realized that what
they had been celebrating was actually subpar performance compared to other schools in the
state with the same kinds of students they had.
That's a game-changing awareness when it comes to planning for results. Where we
aim for is where we want folks to get to and if
we don't perform that clear line of where they're
going to be, we don't have the right conversation about performance; in fact, we
may be celebrating the wrong thing.
Another superintendent recently reported about the individual reports we gave
to parents, and we've disseminated those for
the first time this year, and she told me that
teachers reported having the most difficult conversations they had ever had with parents.
The first time parents came armed with some very simple questions: Why isn't my child
making enough progress to get here? I can see
that clearly. Is this school any good at getting that done and what are we going to
do together to make that happen?
It's that collaboration about performance and practice that underlies our
strategy and we think it's essential to bring about the results we expect.
I'm going to turn it over to my colleague Nina Lopez who is going to talk
to us about how we're actually execute on this plan.
MS. LOPEZ: Thank you. Good afternoon. We are thrilled to be here and very excited
to share with you our plan.
And, in particular, I want to talk about how we're actually going to execute
the plan. So it's certainly an ambitious plan
on paper and we want to talk about how we plan
for the actual execution of this plan itself.
In particular, we think something that says Colorado works hard is our high degree
of confidence and our ability to execute. We
know that that's going to be critical. As the
Commissioner said, none of this matters if it
doesn't impact what happens between a teacher, a
principal and her students. I'm going to talk specifically about
our capacity to deliver. I also want to talk about some of the critical partnerships that
we already have in place in our state and I want
to highlight some of those challenging aspects
of our plan, those that are the most complex
to deliver on, specifically, the great teachers
and leaders and turnaround section.
We look forward to answering questions later about any portion of the application
for which you think we did not merit high points.
We hope to speak with you about those later. In terms of capacity, the way we've
structured the Race to the Top execution will be
a standalone unit with me as CEO. We'll be within the Department of Education, but focused
explicitly on execution of this plan, supporting districts drawing upon the resources of the
Department and really importing what we learn back into the Department itself.
We'll also have the guidance of private and public sector partners due to the Leadership
Investment Board, which the Lieutenant Governor, as you heard before, will be chairing.
The team before you represent a broader set of stakeholders who at the table ready
to do this work. The trust and the relationships
that we have built are reflective in a broader
set of community members across Colorado who really
need to do this work and are prepared to do this
work and I'm going to talk a little more about that.
We also believe that we have the accountability, not only at the local level,
but also at the state level. By way of example,
my own compensation, as well as that of the CFO
for Race to the Top, will be based 25 percent
on our ability to actually deliver on those results
and we look forward to that challenge.
I want to talk specifically about the power of private and public partnerships.
One of the things, I think, that we believe, and
we'll talk about later, is that we can't do this
work alone and a plan that relies solely on a
state education agency to deliver, we don't believe is going to be successful.
We've done in the past work with private and public partners, specifically
the development of the Colorado growth model we
did directly in conjunction with external private
partners. We believe it enhances sustainability and, more importantly, what we do is leverage
capacity where it exists. We don't expect that
it resides in one place. We find it where it's
best and draw upon it. I think perhaps most importantly is the
support of our LEAs. They obviously have to do
this work. So the 134 LEAs that have signed MOUs represent 94 percent of all students
in our state, including 95 percent of our English
language learners, our students with disabilities and our students with poverty.
We know that this plan will have statewide impact.
Either myself or the Commissioner or Lieutenant Governor have personally spoken
to, or met with, pretty much every superintendent
in each of those LEAs, and I can tell you that
when we meet with them, what we hear is this is
the right work, this is the work we need to do
or it's the work we're already doing in some
cases. So I am confident that they understand the
plan and they are standing by prepared to actually
execute upon it. Within those districts, one thing, too,
I want to point out is obviously the support of
the educators. We have a total of 35 collective bargaining agreements in our 178 districts
in Colorado.
Of them, of those that are participating in the Race to the Top, almost
all of them have global signature of their local
association, as well. And so we know that that
collaboration is important. And I'll point out included within
those are our two largest districts in our state, Jefferson County and Denver Public
Schools. So we're confident about the ability and the capacity and the willingness to actually
do this work. I'm going to talk specifically about
the turnaround and the great teachers and leaders section. As I said, those are clearly
complex and high challenges that any state is
going to have to meet. I think three things stand out in our
plan in each of those two areas. One is that we
have already all the legal authority we need to
implement our plan. We do not need to pass new
laws. We do not need to implement new policies. We also have some strong critical
partnerships already in place and we intend to
draw upon those. Lastly, within our state, we have some
national examples that we intend to build upon.
Let me talk more specifically about turnaround. First, we have through Senate
Bill 163 the Educational Accountability Act, which
we just passed over a year ago, a new set of
accountability, all of which is founded in the
individual student growth measures which Rich just talked about as he gave you the example
of SchoolView.
It all starts with individual student growth and we use that to measure school and
district performance. We have clear accountability for results. Autonomy follows
performance and when that performance fails to
meet standards, we have increasing levels of
authority to intervene up to and including closing a school and even reconstituting a
school district, if needed. But we believe that
transparency around results, authority to intervene and support before you even get
to that intervention are critical to executing
this strategy.
We also have some capacity already in place. Most notably, the Commissioner last
year, as he mentioned, we've taken the School Improvement Grant very seriously. He
reorganized our department and created a standalone unit within CDE. It already exists.
It's headed up by an Assistant Commissioner who
reports directly to the Commissioner and they've already begun that work.
We also have the School Leadership Academy which already exists. Linda Barker
actually sits on their advisory board and they
will be critical to our leadership strategy. We
know that leadership is absolutely crucial to
carrying this work out. And lastly, some of our key
partnerships include Mass Insight and Public Impact who we've been working with now for
some time and we intend to build upon the cutting
edge work that they've done and incorporate that
into our turnaround strategy. Let me turn now to great teachers and
leaders. This is the area in which we propose the largest investment in our plan because
we believe that getting the fidelity of
implementation aspect of the plan is absolutely critical. As we said, it's about a principal,
a teacher, a parent and an individual student.
Let me say one thing very clearly, all participating districts have agreed to implement
evaluation systems for educators -- that means principals and teachers -- in their district
that are based at least 50 percent upon student growth. There is no legal barrier to them
doing that.
They have further agreed by year three of the plan to use the results of those
evaluations to inform compensation, retention, individual professional development, as well
as dismissal. And that commitment has already
been made and they have the capacity to actually
deliver on that. One of the things that we think sets
our plan apart is the tiered implementation strategy that we've used. As I've said, we
have some national examples in Colorado. We're
very proud of that.
What our intention is is to actually meet districts where they are with the single
same goal line. So I've just gone over with you
what that goal line is. We know that districts are going to get there in a different way.
First, we have folks like Denver or Eagle County. Eagle has been doing performance
for eight years and we have a ton to learn from
them. Our objective is to get out of their way,
not hold them back, learn quickly from what they're doing, what work for what students,
under what circumstances, disseminate that information broadly and quickly to our other
districts. We have our tier 2 districts that have started this work. We intend to accelerate
their work quickly and then, lastly, the bulk of
our districts fall in tier 3. Again, as I said,
we're going to learn from those that have come
before them, figure out what works, particularly on implementation, and then disseminate that
to them, give them some models to build upon
and to get there by the end date, the same goal with
a portfolio of options of how they reach that
goal. Another big piece of that is our
Council, the Governor's Council on Educator Effectiveness. I have the great pleasure of
serving as the Vice Chair for that council. We've already started our work and its work
will be focused on implementation.
So we know, again, from some of our districts in our state and others it's not
enough to have a good evaluation system if you
don't actually implement it. Eagle, for example, has been doing this
work for eight years, as I've said. What they figured out pretty early on was that
interrelated reliability matters, so that's a
great lesson we need to build upon. How do we
make sure that teachers and evaluators have the
same set of understanding of their evaluation system so they can implement it in a manner
that's transparent and fair and rigorous across classrooms and across schools.
Let me just end by saying that we believe our plan is ambitious. We believe
we have the authority and the capacity to carry
it out. We know that we can't do this work alone,
so we not only have the partnerships in place, but we have a high degree of trust amongst
our partners and we're ready to do this in a
collaborative manner. Most notably, I think we -- I think
probably one of the most ambitious goals is that
by the end of our -- or, actually, by year three, I should say, of our plan, we will
have fundamentally changed our entire teacher and
principal pipeline so it will all be based on a
single statewide definition of principal effectiveness and teacher effectiveness and
we will align all parts of the system towards
that, so how we accredit our preparation institutions,
how we hold them accountable. And we will also redesign tenure and
licensure so that they are earned and retained based on demonstrated performance. We believe
that those are critical aspects to the sustainability of this plan.
So I'm going to turn now to my friend and my colleague, Linda Barker, and she's
going to talk a little bit more about how this work
will translate into the classroom. Thank you. MS. BARKER: We're fully aware that
this is a competitive process -- I think as you've heard from the rest of the team members
-- but for Colorado it's about the plan. It's real for our classroom teachers, our students
and our parents. What I'm going to do is highlight just
quickly some of the topics that you've heard about before, specifically around the growth
model. This is a game-changer. When the
Lieutenant Governor brought up the importance of
data, the growth model has changed conversation in classrooms and in staff meetings across
our state.
Without looking at a number, a state -- or a stat person can look at the chart and
have conversations about growth and accountability
with it being a threat, but it's a collaboration and it's a time to problem-solve with classroom
teachers. Their growth model has been impactful in how we have conversations around student
learning. Teacher tours: Colorado is looking at
changing 13 standard content areas. The Colorado Department of Ed and the Colorado
Education Association for the first time in history toured 13 cities to talk about and
ask what standards implementation meant for you.
We covered the state from our large urbans to our very small rurals. In fact,
one community in Southwest Denver, a tiny community
had 65 people show up to talk about standards, changes and implementation meant for them,
the first time many of the people had met in like
groups: principals, superintendents, school board members, teachers and parents.
The surprise for us was that this was the first time somebody had came to them to
ask them what did they think and what did they
want. So that is a game-changer. This process the
Lieutenant Governor started has 650 people over
a month to really get involved in this process. That's why for us it is personal and it is
about data, student achievement and collaboration.
The last thing I really want to highlight is -- and Nina was very clear about
the importance of our evaluation system -- teachers are asking for a new system.
They want a system that really starts at the very beginning, has mentoring and
professional development, that holds them accountable, but they understand what that
plan is. We're ready to take that on.
Reform, especially in our Colorado plan, has really been about the people. It's
the people in the classrooms, parents and students that really have to implement this
plan to make a difference for our students. We're
looking forward to the challenge. And we're real fortunate. We have a
Commissioner in Colorado that knows what this means firsthand. He's in the classroom, in
the districts, having conversation, and not often
easy conversation, but we know it will make a
difference because we're all working on this together. It's my pleasure.
Now, Commissioner Dwight Jones. COMMISSIONER JONES: Thank you very
much, Linda. So what you have heard is that Colorado
has been a leader. We are happy to represent the west. You may have noted that we were
the only western state that was selected to be
a finalist.
If you know much about the west, you may also know that the west is very independent-
minded and takes a lot of pride in their local control.
But what I hope you noticed more is the fact that we've got tremendous buy-in and
support and that was not an easy feat. There has been strong support from the
field. We have 178 school districts in our state. I'm happy to state that being appointed
Commissioner three years ago I have visited 140
of those school districts. It's pretty amazing when you go out in
the field, especially when you go to some of the
rural districts, and you'll sit across the desk
from the superintendent that's been in the district for 30 or 40 years and they will
say that's the first time that the Commissioner
of Education has been in their district, in some
cases, been in their city and, more importantly, sat across the desk and asked me my opinion
on how we can get this work done together.
So that kind of level support, I think, you will see gives us confidence on why we
think we can get this done.
We also are happy to report that we have strong legislation. In Colorado, we didn't
have to call a special session. I think that demonstrates that we've already been putting
the pieces together.
Now with the resources, we can just accelerate that work and really take it to
the next level and get the results that we want
because, again, it is really about getting those
results for the kids. And we've been clear about that and
we'll be clear at the end of this for an opportunity that that still is what we're
about. We stand ready to act in Colorado. I hope
as you read our plan you were able to note that.
Failure for us just is not an option. We've already identified our chief
executive officer to carry this out -- I made that decision early on -- and you got to see
her present. You know she's going to be quite
capable of getting that work done. We have key partnerships. And we plan,
as you saw in our plan, that there are two additional kind of non-profits that we want
to put together to allow this kind of flexibility
and autonomy to really get the work done around teacher effectiveness and certainly also focused
on our turnaround schools. There is a high level of trust in
Colorado. We can get it done because we've demonstrated that we will work with districts
and that will make a big difference on getting the work done, and then we've created a number
of incentives. So we feel in Colorado that if the
Secretary is serious about wanting to place a
bet on a state that can carry out the objectives that the President has outlined, we think
Colorado is worth that bet. Thank you very much for allowing us to
share a little bit or -- a little more detail about what's in our plan. We certainly look
forward to your questions. Corinne Sauri: Thank you for your presentation.
We've finished with about 1:45 seconds to go.
Ms. Barker: Yea, team! Corinne Sauri: And I'll note for the record
that you did make it through your entire slide presentation so that will be included as a
part of your initial application. I am going to turn
it over to Reviewer #1 who will be our facilitator today
after we add a 1:45 seconds to the clock. REVIEWER #1: And with a name like
[Reviewer #1] I...[laughter]. And I thank you for your presentation,
as I'm sure everybody here does. Our approach to this has been to
basically follow the format that Race to the Top
has asked you to follow. We prioritized some things, so we may reorganize at some point
so that we get those priority items out of the
way. And I don't want you to take any
umbrage to the fact that we may have to cut you
off if you start going and going and going, but
it's not personal. It's simply we have a lot of
questions that we'd like answered. And I will start with Reviewer #2.
REVIEWER #2: Thanks. It's a pleasure to have you here.
Clearly, you have some very ambitious goals with regards to achievement. You have
a very aggressive tactic.
It would be helpful if you could clarify, given those ambitious goals and
aggressive timetable, what are the key elements of your plan, an absolute must that moves
you towards essentially meeting those, particularly
student achievement goals within the aggressive timetable?
So if you could spend some time helping us understand those critical key elements
that you essentially put a lot of weight in and
will move you.
COMMISSIONER JONES: Yeah, thank you, Reviewer #2.
That is a question we absolutely spent a lot of time thinking about as we put
our plan together.
It's one thing just to put down on paper what some of the goals are. It's another
thing to actually create the blueprint that allows you to get there.
I'm going to ask Mr. Wenning to respond directly to that question and then, if there's
follow-up, we'll be glad to take that, as well.
you, Commissioner. Each aspect of our plan from the work
on our standards and assessments to get them fewer, clearer and higher, to the work we're
doing with our data systems, particularly turning those standards into specific
instructional plans and providing feedback to
students, to our work with great teachers and
leaders to get our pipeline right and all the
incentives directed through our performance management systems and our focus on our
turnaround schools, our lowest-performing. And we do have a number of those in
Colorado. Those things all work in
concert to get the dramatic results we're expecting.
For the first time with Race to the Top, Colorado would actually have the resources
to do specific activities in a coherent way across each of those four assurance areas
with the resources.
We've been good at getting our policies in place and our statutes passed.
It's been challenging to get the resources to actually follow through.
There was the first time we went through the standards movement.
We didn't provide the support for teachers necessary. And we've
already seen what high standards in mathematics for us, particularly in Colorado,
has done in terms of our needing improvements.
So we think that by investing strategically in each of those four areas
and building, as you saw throughout the effort
to create sustainable learning communities focused
on all four assurance areas, using that feedback wrapped around with a knowledge management
strategy -- which is another thing state education agencies simply haven't done --
we think together in that coherent manner we
can get those results.
You can't pick off one versus another among those assurance areas.
They hang together as a strategy in a coherent manner to get the
breakthrough performance mostly because it builds that capacity and that conversation
among educators with the right incentives and the right resources to
improve practice. REVIEWER #2: A follow-up question with
regard to data represented in your application which related to achievement gaps.
You had some challenges in Colorado within ethnic groups, racial groups, EL
learners. You've been at this. In your application, you kind of say,
you know, we're serious, but achievement gaps are real in your
state. Now, that's the past history.
How are you going to move forward differently than what you've produced
in the last few years since we have the data to indicate that that
data isn't particularly impressive when it comes to achievement gaps?
COMMISSIONER JONES: Again, we have been focused on the achievement
gap. Since being appointed as Commissioner, it's one of the things that I put
in our forward thinking plan as we put together a plan of how we were going
to approach the work in this state as a non- negotiable.
It's unconscionable for us that we would have such a gap almost across the board
in our state. What's nice is I come from a
district that was actually number one in the state for eliminating the achievement gap
for minority youngsters, for IEP youngsters and
for low SES youngsters. We were number one in
all of those categories, so we know something
about what has to be done.
Some early steps that we took was getting the legislature to, for the first
time, put dollars towards doing something about
the achievement gap.
We had a lot of folks talk about the achievement gap, especially around election
time, but we really hadn't made any commitment of resources to really do something about
it. So we currently have a fixed pilot
district achievement gap where we said it's important for us to learn what works, under
what conditions, at what cost, with what youngsters.
And so that pilot is in its second year and is already starting to show that those
gaps are starting to narrow.
And we made a conscious effort to make sure that the pilot kind of represented the
different demographics of the state. So that work is under way. We are already learning
from those efforts. Now, we've put into our plan
a way to focus and accelerate that.
So I'm going to let Nina just highlight a few of the things that are directly in our
plan, but I wanted you to get just a little sense of how we've already started to target
and believe we're going to get better results.
MS. LOPEZ: Sure, I'll be brief, so we can get to more of your questions.
I think just a couple of things I want to highlight and add to what the Commissioner
already said. First, I think the data that Rich
shared with you, what we now have found is that
actually some of our English language learner students, their growth is three times greater
than some of their counterparts for native English speakers. That's not information we
had. The next question is is that growth
sufficient to close that gap. Again, by changing the exit so it's not by X-grade,
but rather, by graduation, what we can now do
is plot a trajectory for those students. So we
now are beginning for the first time to be able
to understand what their growth rates are, what
trajectory they need to get there. And we know that schools are doing it
because not only are the ELL students that I
made reference to, but we have schools that are
closing or eliminating those gaps. So our plan is to, obviously, identify
those schools, figure out what's working for them, not just based on the student achievement,
but also we have our TELL Survey data which tells us something about school conditions.
We also have our CATY (ph), which is our --
I can't remember the acronym. Sorry, I can't remember
what it stands for, but it essentially gives us
an assessment of the district resources. Our intention is to pull those apart and figure
out what happened and replicate them.
The last thing I'll say is we have put a pretty significant focus on our equitable
distribution strategy, so we know that what we
need to do is several different approaches in
that area. What we need is not just to have effective teachers in every classroom, but
to have our most highly effective teachers in
front of our students with the greatest need.
So we have several strategies, some that are based on incentives around recruitment
and retention of those students -- of those teachers, rather, preparing them well and
also focusing on increasing the effectiveness of
those educators who have already chosen to serve
in those schools. And lastly, we have some very clear
expectations for districts. We expect them to
dismiss ineffective teachers particularly in our
high-need schools and our high-need subjects if
after ample opportunity they're unable to produce the results that those students deserve.
So those are a couple, I think, of our strategies.
REVIEWER #2: Thank you. REVIEWER #1: I'd like to just follow
up on that, too. One of the things that we noticed in
there had to do with graduation rates and I know
you've changed the graduation, the way you figured it out. But it seemed very flat from
that point on. Is there anything that you're doing to
really address that? COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Wenning, do
you want to take that one? ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER WENNING: Sure.
Thank you, Commissioner. One of the most important issues is
getting both the policy structure in place and
getting clear about what the destination is. Our focus has been on proficiency up to
when two years we passed landmark legislation through the leadership of Barbara O'Brien
and Governor Ritter. It related to our P-20
alignment strategy, CAP4K. That statute is absolutely critical;
one, it sets that expectation of all students getting to college and career readiness.
Importantly also, it eliminated requirements for
seat time for the basis of promotion. We're not ready to actually put into
place the structures needed to follow through with the rhetoric related to making achievement
constant and time the variable. Colorado is prepared to take on the time issue.
We're also clear in the accountability system we're creating in Colorado that, yes,
we're going to report and hold accountable for
four-year cohort graduation rates, but we also
recognize if we're serious about getting to that
destination, we've got to think about time differently.
So we're also looking at five-year and six-year graduation rates to make sure that
we're not creating incentives to push kids out,
but reward districts for taking more time if
needed. In the end, it comes down to rate times
time equals distance. And we're serious about either improving growth rates of students
or extending time to make sure that they're
actually able to graduate ready. We've not done that before in Colorado
and we're not happy about that. But we've changed in the last two years, and in last
year with our accountability act, to focus everyone's
attention on what that bright line is, not some
concept of just proficiency for what we've used
for federal purposes, but a real bright line of
a destination and then give districts and schools the flexibility to carry that out.
We already have one key district that is following through on that to make promotion
mastery-based. REVIEWER #3: Can I follow up on the
question about the system that -- Ms. Lopez, you
referenced, in particular, the components having
to do with equitable distribution of teachers for minority and poverty schools, as well
as hard to teach subjects.
This question is along the same lines as Reviewer #2's, the capacity to deliver
results. In your, you know, targeted performance
measures, you talked about by the end of the Race to the Top that you'd have five percent
of teachers highly effective and you similarly
talked in another performance measure about the
percentage of ineffective principals and teachers going down.
But the way I interpret that is there's a huge amount of gap still there in teachers
who will be not judged highly effective.
So how -- I mean, even though you're moving the needle on that, your targets are
pretty ambitious. So how will you, in fact, achieve the results with, you know, not more
substantive investment or personnel that will be
highly effective in these schools? COMMISSIONER JONES: Ms. Lopez.
MS. LOPEZ: Hopefully, I'm going to understand your question right, but if I don't,
please let me know. A couple of things: one, we've been
working actually with a new teacher project who
has really helped us think a little bit different about our teachers.
We have an educator ID system, but we're in the process still of building that
out. So let me start by saying that our assumptions
about where we start are based on the best data
available, but it's not perfect. We've made a couple of assumptions. We
assume that essentially have teachers in our state that are a bit of a bell curve, with
the bulk of them in that middle area of effective.
So our expectation, though, is that the number of teachers who are in that highly-
effective category right now is probably pretty low.
So while they may be -- I don't know if you consider them high or low -- I couldn't
tell from your question, sorry -- but we believe
that that work is actually really challenging and
so we tried to set realistic goals about what
we could do and then focus specifically on how
we get, as I said, the most highly-effective
teachers in front of the students who need them
most. I'm not sure if I understood. There as
more to your question about whether they were high or low.
REVIEWER #3: It's just the imbalance between that percentage that will be highly
effective and the rest that are, you know, still
included, though they may be effective or ineffective and how with still that spread
you will be able to deliver on the results for
the kids. That's what I was just trying to say.
MS. LOPEZ: The other thing, I guess, I was going to point out is we've also focused
-- and I think our expectation is that the bar
for our effectiveness should also go up,
particularly if we're trying to get the student achievement results that we've put forth in
our plan.
So, you know, one year's growth in one year's time in some respects is a bit of a
relative proposition. In order for us to get the student
achievement growth, we've got to also bring everyone up so that the trajectory is a little
bit higher. So our bar for an effective period, not just highly effective, we expect to go
up. We've also focused pretty significantly
on the pipeline. Colorado currently imports about half of our teaching force every year.
We want to have the ability to have greater clarity
about what it means to be an effective educator in Colorado so that when those folks come
into the state, they're better placed, and also,
most importantly, have specific preparation around
student growth measures both in our preparation programs in-state as well as the accreditation
standards for those programs. And also, we've made investments in things like Teach for
America, as well as online and remote delivery of preparation programs for some of our rural
areas. So we have a varied approach, but what we know is we need to not only improve the
effectiveness, but also get more effective teachers into the schools, to start with.
REVIEWER #1: Reviewer #4? REVIEWER #4: Thank you, Reviewer #1,
and thank you all for your commitment and what
you're doing. My question centers on a better
understanding for all of us on statewide participation and, particularly, we're talking
about here is how it impacts teachers. You have 132 school districts and 134
LEAs that are participating; yet, only 41 percent of the eligible local teachers unions
have signed on. Can you amplify for us how you will
translate into a statewide reform plan with that
that delta. COMMISSIONER JONES: Sure. Linda, do
you want to start with that one? MS. BACKER: Out of 178 schools
districts, the 134 percent -- or 134 districts stand out.
The interesting part is out of our 36 districts that have bargaining contracts,
the majority of those signed on. So we have
districts that also don't have bargaining contracts. They meet and confer or just have
conversations with the districts. So the numbers were really interesting
for us to try to present to you because there's all kinds of different structures in how
teachers and their districts work together on
their bargaining or meet and confer. So the challenge really was for us how
do we have those conversations in every individual district and what it meant for
them, and that's why for us one of our priorities
was to have that conversation face to face.
Like Nina said, every superintendent was contacted. We met with every one of our
association leaders so that everyone really understood what the plan was and what the
plan of action would be.
REVIEWER #4: In the application, is there a place you could point us to that would
talk about that process that you went through in
some detail so that we better understood the differences among the local associations?
COMMISSIONER JONES: Sure. I think Ms. Lopez could kind of outline the process and
I could, as well.
MS. LOPEZ: I'm happy to outline the process. One thing I'll say is the way the
notice was structured actually, it didn't allow
you to differentiate between those -- where it
was meet and confer versus those where there was
actually a collective bargaining agreement in
place. And we asked that question specifically of the department staff.
So the numbers that you see include those LEAs where there is a meet and confer
relationship. But the process itself, I think, is
outlined within the application. I'd be happy to look for the page numbering and get back
to you.
REVIEWER #4: Thank you. And one final followup, if I may, Reviewer #1, is the general
question to -- of enforcement as you go through executing what is an ambitious plan.
And the recourse language in the MOU that you entered into among your LEAs seemed
to be a little bit softer on the recourse language
than the guidelines that were presented. And I would like to hear some followup
or some amplification as to how you really intend to enforce and monitor the performance
of the LEAs.
COMMISSIONER JONES: Sure, Reviewer #4, I'd be glad to respond to that.
Initially, like we shared during our presentation, we really met with the state
had direct face-to-face conversations about the
plan that we were developing, as well as what it
would mean for the local districts and would it
would mean to sign on. There was a time line differentiation
that made it somewhat difficult because as we
made a collaborative effort to put our plan together, in some cases districts were going
by a leap of faith saying that, Mr. Commissioner,
you say you're going to do this, this and this;
yet, we don't get to see a finished product. And so we were still developing a plan
while we were having conversations around the
state getting local boards and certainly local schools districts to make a commitment to
it. Now that we have the plan and they've
had a chance to see it, because one of the things we immediately did -- we finished our
plan -- and when we sent it in was we also posted it online and got it immediately out
to the districts so they can get a better
understanding of what they signed on for. So I'm happy to report to you that I'm
not as concerned about districts not signing on.
We actually have a lot more districts that want
to sign on now. And so I'm --
MR. REVIEWER #4: I'm sorry, Commissioner. Just to be specific, just to
the recourse language if they are signed on and
they're committed, but then you're a year into a
four-year grant and they're not performing as
you would like. What is your recourse -- COMMISSIONER JONES: Yeah. Our
recourse would be -- REVIEWER #4: -- with the funding and
the other sorts of things that are important to
you? COMMISSIONER JONES: Yeah, thank you.
Sorry to interrupt. The recourse will be similar to kind of
how we put together our School Improvement Grant.
The Secretary has been very clear that the substantial additional dollars means we've
also got to get substantial increases in achievement. So the same thing. We're clear
about the districts that are signing on will have to implement the whole plan, that we
will support and give them a lot of technical
assistance in doing that, but the expectation is
clear, that they are expected to do all of the
different components that are in the plan Failure to do so, we would start to
remove grants immediately from districts if we
weren't able to support them and get them in a
better place to carry out what's required. REVIEWER #4: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER JONES: Sure. REVIEWER #1: I've got a question I'd
like to ask and that is this: Can you specifically address the STEM program with
respect to the inclusion of engineering and technology and how it's going to be implemented
throughout your entire program? COMMISSIONER JONES: Rich, do you want
Commissioner. STEM, like each of the content areas,
will be an integral part of the sustainable and
exemplary learning communities that we create. As we were putting the plan together
and we had conversations with our STEM community, we wanted to make sure that we
weren't going to treat this as something completely separate, but absolutely integrated.
So as we roll out our standards and our new assessments and particularly our work
on creating outstanding digital content, we're
going to be doing, in conjunction with our institutes of higher education, our private
sector industries that are focused on science and technology and mathematics, and as we
create the learning communities, which we then have
resources for through the Race to the Top proposal to identify this outstanding digital
content, to interweave that work into the implementation of our standards, we think
that that represents a very coherent whole.
The collaboratives that we've put forth in this, the contents collaboratives will
have a specific STEM content collaborative focused
on that work.
But it's not, again, to do this separately, but it's -- we're capitalizing
on our strong districts, our university partners,
our private sector and non-profit partners with
funding to both document, capture and then make
available to all the educators in the state what
we think is the most outstanding content related to STEM, again, just like we do for each of
the other subject areas.
But we do believe that by having that focused STEM content collaborative and then
a regional deployment that's not simply dependent
on the state is what is going to permeate our
STEM focus throughout. REVIEWER #5: I have a question and
since we've already touched on the growth model,
as well as the teacher evaluation business, I
think I'm going to have a follow-up question to
that. And, again, thank you for your time today.
Can you explain how you will include subjects in grades that are not currently
part of the growth model in the state testing system
to create growth measures for student performance and, thus, include all educators
in your evaluation model.
COMMISSIONER JONES: Yes, we certainly can. I'll have Ms. Lopez respond to that,
but that's a big conversation that we had around
our state as we were developing our plan as we
look at new accountability and performance measures
for teachers, that it cannot just be in the state tested areas, how do we also get to
the other content areas.
And it's one of the reasons that when we refined and refreshed for our standards
that we made sure we did all 13 model content
standards at the same time which was very ambitious and difficult, but we were able
to get it done.
Ms. Lopez, do you want to respond directly to the question?
MS. LOPEZ: Sure. It's a great question and, actually, a couple of things:
one, part of our strategy around the educator
evaluation, as I said, is a tiered -- it's a
tiered implementation plan with us really having
full implementation in year three. We've aligned that so that it coincides
with the development of new assessments. So we're adopting new standards. We're about
to adopt common core standards.
We need new assessments, not just for untested, but certainly for our tested subjects.
So we would try to coordinate and align the time
table for the evaluation with the development of
those. With respect to the development of
assessments in non-tested subjects, we've really
embarked on a focus -- and I think that this is
really consistent again with the blue print --
which is really expanding the footprint of our
interim and our formative assessments and really
narrowing the blueprint of summative the assessments. I'm not suggesting that we intend
to get rid of summative assessments. We certainly know that they are critical and
expect that they will be a key part of the role of
the common core standards.
However, our expectation -- and this is in our plan specifically around assessments
-- is that every participating district, and,
in fact, even those that are not, will have the
ability to either purchase, validate their own
or develop assessments within non-tested subjects.
And, in fact, some of our districts have already started doing that work around
new content standards. So we'll be focusing more
upon interim and formative assessments in those
non-tested subjects. REVIEWER #5: Okay. And I understand
that that makes the assessments available. How
does that become growth measures that can then
be used for evaluation? COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Wenning.
One of the benefits of the Colorado model is that it's highly flexible and not
assessment-dependent. It doesn't require a vertical scale. It's adaptable to other states,
and I should have noted that several other states are also using it.
So as we're develop interim assessments, one of our -- one of the things
we'll be focusing on with Massachusetts, Indian, Arizona and other states that are going to
join, is embedding those interim assessments directly
in the visual tools that you saw. And so we can run growth measures that
are comparable from our summative assessment, which, again, as we change our summative,
the growth model doesn't need to change; it's
adaptable. And with the resources that are in the
Race to Top proposal, we'll be able to align our
growth measures using interim assessments that
are vetted by the state as aligned with the common core. That's a key issue. And we know
that the industry is going to have to catch up
with the common core, as well. But we are going to be very deliberate
about selecting a set. We expect all districts to adopt. The state will make sure that the
growth measures are capable and we will embed multiple interim assessments.
That's why we have that kind of investment in SchoolView, so that that can
then be used as part of the teacher impact report
looking at summative and interim and provide that to districts so they have a good body
of evidence for teacher evaluation.
REVIEWER #5: And if you could give us some references, not right this minute,
but before we leave from the proposal that describes
what you just described. Thank you. REVIEWER #3: So I wanted to, if I
could, probe for a little while two specific areas of your proposal. Essentially, they
relate to D-3, which is referenced on pages 42
to 50, and also D-5, which is referenced on pages 103 to 108.
So in D-3, let me take that first, in your application you describe a number of
activities, initiatives that you plan to undertake to support the transition to enhance
standards and high-quality assessments. And I'm particularly picking up on what
-- I can't remember who said it earlier, but the
first wave of standards =-- and that I think you
said that one of the things you recognize in
looking back is you didn't enough support. You
know, they were out there for people by osmosis. So I think that D-3 responds to that,
you know, concern about how you actually take the core incentives that you are all kind
of collaborating on and then really translate
them into building a model to improve instruction.
That's sort of the idea. So I was trying to understand a little
bit more -- and maybe you can just focus me on
what's the goal -- you know, what the actual plan is related to goals, initiatives and
activities that are aligned to perform standards. I mean the outcomes in these areas
that are not just the performance measures you
have that are largely described right now as
participation, you know, that LEAs will participate, but it's really the more
substantive like results that you'd be looking for to benchmark this particular area about
transmission. And then the second part of that is
that, you know, well, how will you be collecting data along the way to use for continuous
improvement? I mean, this is a huge investment. I
want to kind of crystalize what the outcomes would be and how are you going to measure
the results so it feeds back into the system so
that it continues to be more effective?
Sorry, that's a long question, but -- COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Wenning, do
you have a feel for that? ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER WENNING: I
think I have a feel for it. You may need to add
a few clarifications. But I do want to talk about the rollout
strategy in terms of the content collaborative work, the knowledge captured and the R&D,
and I think that may get to what you're looking
for there.
So it's nice to say you're going to have collaboratives. We -- you know, we've
tried that before without resources. What our goal is first is to identify
the leaders in our state. We have some outstanding districts and we have some
outstanding university partners. We find the most capable with the
highest performance already and we work and co-
develop specific tools for -- particularly, creating formative items and we think we have
to start there first.
Once we have the standards, we have -- there are learning objectives. We need to
start develop formative items for classroom practice.
That will be the work of the content collaboratives, whether it's in the area of
STEM, mathematics, reading, et cetera. We have funding in the plan for
documentation, so those collaboratives will not
just be doing it on their own. They will both have a University of Colorado Denver partner
working with us that's ready to go from day one
to really facilitate those collaboratives and we
will have video production and other efforts to
document what they're developing. So they're not going to be responsible for all of the
final work product.
That becomes the digital content associated with implementing standards. The
formative items that are developed will be readily shared across all educators in the
state through SchoolView, so that there is a basic
knowledge management function there. In addition, you probably noticed that
we're funding a research collaborative, a research consortium that will have multiple
university partners. That will be part of those
collaboratives, as well. We will document their practice
implementation. We didn't choose who was going to get money on this. We're looking for folks
to step up, form each of those collaboratives, develop content, focus on formative items,
documentation and then widespread sharing and
follow-through, but follow-through through research because we know there's a great deal
of R&D going on in this Race to the Top proposal.
We also have other approaches for generating that kind of content through also
an open market space, so we're inviting both
our most highly-effective educators to contribute
content, but also any educator in the state will
be able to share content and upload that to SchoolView and look at -- and then ask other
educators to rate the value of that content to
their own practice. We've included incentives, thousand
dollar royalties for educators with highly-rated content, coupled with our excellent summative
assessment and interim, we'll see change. If we
don't see change, we're not going to be investing further in that particular
collaborative. So it's content generation,
particularly focused on formative items, with documentation and dissemination very
deliberately and research to determine use and
usefulness in the classroom. REVIEWER #3: But, I mean, that's not
the only aspect of the whole rollout related to
the transition. Could you elaborate maybe on
another aspect? That was helpful. ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER WENNING: So in
addition to the work -- we basically have a two-
prong strategy in each case: work that the state
rolls out in terms of training and support directly from CDE staff, and we'll be able
to increase our state specific capacity in
providing direct support. And that support will
be focused based on a tiered strategy of need. Our most highest-performing districts
will get less support from us because we're actually drawing on them to support others.
Those districts that are struggling and schools that are struggling are going to get
much more intensive support and then our lowest- performing are going to get extremely intensive
support from the Department. That's where we'll be focusing our CDE
staff, our content specialist that we already have on board to directly assist educators
in implementing those standards.
So it's really that two-prong strategy of both really building the capacity of the
field by investing in their own strengths and
providing very focused CDE staff support directly to the districts that need it the
most. But we know that we have scarce
resources. We have to focus on those where performance challenges are greatest to make
sure they make the biggest strides in implementing
the new common core and getting solid practice for each of their classrooms.
REVIEWER #3: I just wanted to hold up if anybody else had a question on D-3, because
I want to raise a question on D-5, so it's not
confusing. REVIEWER #5: And by the way, these
do overlap. You know, when you talk about
professional development, it comes up several times during the proposal. So we're really
talking about, you know, our resources and professional development going out to educators
and then asking the question about how do you
know whether those are making a difference and
then what do you do when you find that out. This is actually more a related
question, but it has to do more with the logistics of rolling these things out.
We noticed in your proposal that you referenced change agents and you also referenced
a large number of consultants in the first year
that are going to jumpstart the initiative. So could you please explain how you're
going to find these people, identify them, what
their qualifications would be, in general terms,
and also the plans for continuation of effort after the consultants leave and you're on
your own.
COMMISSIONER JONES: Thank you. Ms. Lopez, do you want to take the first stab
at that?
MS. LOPEZ: Sure. I noticed your question wasn't specific to a section, so
I'll speak in general terms and then, if there's
a specific one, please let me know.
So in general, I guess I should start by saying that -- I hope this doesn't come
off the wrong way -- we don't generally have a
problem attracting people to Colorado. It doesn't mean that people don't like living
other places, but every single one of us here is
a Coloradan by choice, not by birth.
And we are very excited. We think this is true, certainly, of all the states that
are lucky enough to receive this grant. This is
great work and we hope to be able to attract the
best and the brightest, not just from our state,
but also nationally, perhaps even internationally.
In terms of the consultants, there's a couple of things to think about. So our plan
really focuses on using one-time investments in
a smart way, so there's a number of items that
are infrastructure-building, whether it's the
data systems, even the sustainable learning communities.
I'll give you an example. We have districts right now. The Commissioner and
I were out in Montross, Colorado, the western
slope, and had a superintendent from a small district say, "Love the new content standards.
They're fabulous, but my God, we just spent three years redoing our curriculum. Can you
just give us one?" The same conversation, different
district, Boulder Valley, great district. You
know, it's got high achievement. They've already started to realign their curriculum.
What doesn't happen is we don't get Boulder's curriculum connected to Telluride's curriculum
or even making it available to them. So what we intend to do through all the
things, in part -- and I think that Rich talked about it -- is creating those communities.
Once we create those communities, we don't need to continue to pump dollars into
them to make them sustainable. So the building
out of the infrastructure is a one-time investment.
And, obviously, if it works -- our expectation is not that we build it and people
will come, but that if it's valuable, that it
will work, that folks will want it. So we're not going to assume that we
know what works best. That's why our focus on
data is not just about more information. It's about getting folks the information they need
and focusing on what information they need to be
able to make decisions. In terms of consultants, again, I guess
I'm not sure which one in particular, but a
number of areas, I think particularly with the
budget, it is the distribution method that was
set up by statute, was interesting and it made
-- I mean, we are very comfortable with our budget.
But it took -- it takes a lot of time and research to figure out project by project
and then district by district what portion is
from the state and what portion is from the LEA
share. That's not a project that we expect we
need to go through the entire four years of the
grant period. And in fact, our districts are standing by ready to have those conversations
in the first 90 days around specifically how
they're going to execute their plan and what resources they're going to use.
So there are some items that are front- loaded because we need to build those
structures. And also, a part of our strategy is
focused, again, on those public-private partnerships, such as the Colorado Center
for Educator Excellence.
There are some pieces of our work that we need them to do. We don't need them to
do that same amount of work throughout the four-
year period. Our expectation is we contract with
them to do that work while we're identifying what those model evaluation systems look like
and then we decrease the funding over the four-
year period because they don't have the same volume of work.
If districts determine that that's a value add for them, then they will decide
to re- purpose a number of their professional
development dollars. What we found -- and this is true, I
think, in any state -- there's an incredible amount of funding that goes into professional
development. What we don't always give is the
right information to districts. They don't always have the information available to
understand what's working, nor do we necessarily make it available to them, at least not in
Colorado, in a manner that really takes advantage of economies of scale.
So if I have ten educators in a large district that need this program, what we want
to do is connect them with the ten educators
in another district that also need that program,
as opposed to requiring that district to now
purchase that program for every single educator in their district, irrespective of whether
or not the rest of them need it.
And so we're really talking about changing the structures and really changing
how we do business so that when -- we don't need
to stick around and be continuing to put in the
same amount of resources. We also -- at the end of the grant
period, again, we want to figure out what works
and I think it will be incumbent upon us as a
state to continue to invest in those efforts that have the greatest return on investment,
and that means both looking at our federal dollars
and also our state and local dollars. REVIEWER #5: And just one quick
little extra question, but it's still the same
question, which is describe the change agent for
me. Who is the change agent? MS. LOPEZ: I will answer quickly. I
know Rich may want to add, as well. In general, they already exist. So we
already have folks across our state who are already doing this work. In some cases, they
may be parents; in some cases, they may be superintendents.
We know when we look across our state, there are certain superintendents that other
-- that their colleagues look to. And so the
idea is how do we put them in a position with the
greatest amount of information to be able to
actually work with the relationships they already have in place.
We will be adding some more capacity, so in the short term as we're trying to roll
out an incredible amount of change over time,
we also will be adding some capacity.
But in most cases, what we're talking about is not plopping a person in the middle
of a new locale, but identifying those folks
who are already in those communities who are already
leading change or are opinion leaders. REVIEWER #3: I wanted to go back to
this -- the earlier point you raised about the
whole rollout now for the professional development. This is now the D-05 question
which was tacked to the D-3. And, you know, it has -- I mean,
overall, I guess what I'm trying to get at is
not only how you're rolling out, but how you're going to use information and employ it for
continuous improvement. Now, this D-5 is on providing effective
support for principals and teachers, so this is
the whole, you know, professional development, the coaching, induction, et cetera.
But part of that criteria also asks specifically how you plan to measure and
evaluate, you know, these supports for the purposes of improving effectiveness.
So could you comment on that particular intent as part of this proposal? Well, I'm
looking at you, but anyone. COMMISSIONER JONES: Nina.
MS. LOPEZ: There is a lot in D-5. D-5 is a broad category.
REVIEWER #3: It's not so much what is in there. I guess I just want to know all
those -- you have some really, you know, important
things there. It's a lot. But how will you constantly be extracting -- you know, the
point you raised about what's working, what's not
and then feed it back.
MS. LOPEZ: I'll give two concrete examples. And, again, if it doesn't answer
your question, please do ask more.
The first -- boy, it went right out of my head. Sorry. The first is the educator
impact reports. So the educator impact reports are not something we're going to post on the
Web. They are really a document that comes
to an individual educator and gives them information about their students, at its
simplest level, giving the growth data you just
saw. Our -- and this is why we need these
funds. Our plan builds upon that so that it actually is a tool to improve.
There's a variety of ways it might do that. The first is if you've got an educator
impact report, particularly if you've got the
non-tested subject areas and using interim assessments and you're getting them in realtime
in the middle of the school year. But to give an example, let's say you
have a teacher and it turns out that none of
their students are making any progress on fractions. The purpose of the Colorado Center
for Education Excellence is to identify professional development resources, either
based on our own experience in our state or, perhaps,
based on what we've learned from other partners inside or outside of our state, what actually
works for teaching fractions. And it might be an actual professional
course. It might be video of our most highly- effective teacher in teaching fractions across
the state that they can click on and see it. The idea is that linkage of
information. I think that's one example. The other thing -- and this is sort of
a theme, I think, that runs throughout -- is we
want to fundamentally change the relationship between our preparation programs and our
districts. What I heard over and over again from
districts, as well as -- not just our institutions of higher ed, but our alternative
preparation programs, too, the prep programs --
and, in fact, we have a number in our state, at
least two that have said we want you to hold us
accountable for outcomes. They've approached the Department to
say we want to do this work. We want to know whether when our teachers get to the classroom
are they actually having a measurable impact on
student growth. But we don't have any information right
now to tell us that. And so we're really talking about fundamentally changing the
relationship between the preparation provider and the employer.
So where do they go, who do they teach, how long do they stay, are their students
learning, what is their induction program, and
that theme, I think -- I hope that our intention came through -- is that that's really what
runs throughout, that there is a linkage between
-- and I think your point about continuous
improvement, if we don't have the information and transparency, there's no way for us to
know what's working.
REVIEWER #3: Thank you. REVIEWER #1: Reviewer #4:
REVIEWER #4: Throughout the proposal, and, thankfully as well today, in your
presentation, SchoolView is an important element in your plan.
And I'm curious and I have two related questions about SchoolView.
One is how do you monitor the effectiveness at the local level of the user?
I mean, how do you ensure that this isn't just
a stay down, use this? How are you sure that
at the bottom level that this is an effective
program? COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Wenning.
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER WENNING: Sure. I'm going to give a very simple answer
and that it's going to be the improvement seen
in the schools and that's going to be one test.
And the other issue is going to be actually visiting the schools and knowing
what folks are using.
But within SchoolView, and something we're very excited about, is our ability to
connect all educators, that educators are providing feedback on the usefulness of the
tools. We'll be using 2.0 social collaboration
tools within this. And so it's not just the state walking into the door and asking you,
but rather, we'll be able to monitor use through
it, but also to the ratings of the content that's
posted there. So we do expect to have continuous
feedback provided. And that's the nice thing about social collaboration software, you get
feedback fast. Another aspect -- so we'll have a great
feedback loop. The way we've organized our
accountability system in the state, we've made
our new planning structure a linchpin. We've created a very simple planning structure that
requires root cause analysis, researched-based strategies and budget.
All of that gets published on SchoolView, too. Basically, the improvement
plans of every school and district in the state
to their specific strategies is going to become a relational database that will be able to
-- and remember, the public is going to be able
to look at -- combined with the digital content
and the evaluation of the value of that content
by educators, we'll get outstanding feedback
and know what we want to change.
Moreover, the way we're populating that content is both through vetted approaches,
which we will develop, we'll vet, note they're
aligned, approve them and put it there, but we'll also have that marketplace.
Both, though, will have immediate feedback. That's another strength of having
those collaboratives. The CE folks will be involved in that. We're going to -- one thing
we've never had a challenge with is getting very
blunt feedback on how we're doing and we'll have
at least three ways of getting that feedback, both through the technology, as well as through
the on-the-ground work of those collaboratives. REVIEWER #4: That helps a lot. Thank
you. And could you -- if you can tell me where I can find that in the application, that will
be very helpful.
And then the following question is I believe there's a reference to an additional
grant related to your state longitudinal data system, a 17 million dollar grant.
If for some reason you were not successful in obtaining that grant, have you
made provisions for supporting the SchoolView work without that grant?
thanks Commissioner. Two things: At the recommendation of
the Department, we included the app. for SLVS in
two places. We included it in Race to the Top
and we included it in the SLVS. And now it turns out that SLVS won't be -- we won't know
about that until June and we'll know about Race
to the Top first. Win or lose either competition, to get
where we've been has been a public-private partnership. We started with private resources
to develop SchoolView and our funders are still
going to stick with us on this. Our partners are going to pursue I-3
grants that have helped construct this. So we
actually have been pretty resourceful in finding private sector resources to continue to build
out the functionality. In addition, because really one of the
first times under Commissioner Jones' leadership and the Governor's leadership, we're providing
something of value to the field. The field wants more. That's what we
keep hearing: "Please can you get this next version out? We're ready for it." We know
that will put pressure on our state legislature
to begin investing in technology and research
and development at the state level.
So we're confident that, win or lose these federal grants, we're going to be able
to drive that work with SchoolView because it's
valued by the field. And once we hook parents on that
information, it's going to be very hard to ever
turn back. REVIEWER #4: Thank you.
REVIEWER #2: Let me follow up on particularly specifically SchoolView parents.
No habla engles and I don't have a computer. How am I going to get access to
my child's progress? How does School View or
other systems address the diversity in Colorado
and the need to inform parents on how their students
are doing? COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Wenning.
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER WENNING: Well, two things: one, we want to make sure that
parents that aren't comfortable with technology become more technologically savvy.
So we're trying to make it a very straightforward user experience and make sure
that we have everything translated into multiple languages.
But we only know that's part of the effort. So we want to make the technology
-- REVIEWER #2: So it will be translated
Absolutely, absolutely. We've already done that
with the student reports, as they're translated now into seven languages.
And we're going to be able to make the entire SchoolView -- you know, provide a Spanish
version, for example. That's critical for our
state. But we know that there are barriers to
using technology in many households. So one of
the key features that we believe in is everything you see needs to be available in
a print summary, as well.
Documents, we've already began discussing cable spots to get this word out.
But anything that's available on SchoolView will
also be available through a translated document, in a paper format.
And that's still not good enough because we know that's just part of it.
Our other work is going to be working with our parent networks in the state. And
we're delighted that the Parent Information Resource Network in Colorado is very
enthusiastic about the growth model in SchoolView. They think it's terrific.
And what we absolutely have to do is capitalize on our parent networks. We have
a set of parents that have helped really craft
our accountability legislation. We'll continue
to engage them.
A key focus throughout our plan is whether change agents or this idea of Mavins,
if you can find parents that are highly motivated,
make sure they're working collaboratively, use
the structures that are supporting parents throughout our state to learn, and be the
spokespeople and to help support parents directly in their own communities.
So it's both working with the capacity of individuals, working together through our
Parent Information Resource Centers, having outstanding print documents so what you see
is not just available on the Web, but is available
in your libraries, available to you as a parent, and then let's make the technology as useful
as possible.
And we've been very deliberate about that, interviewing parents and teachers about
what they want to see when they access the technology.
REVIEWER #1: One of our concerns centered around the alternative pathway to
a teaching certificate, especially the small
number of teachers that seem to be taking advantage of it.
Can you explain why that's the case? COMMISSIONER JONES: Ms. Lopez.
MS. LOPEZ: Sure. Well, a couple of things: one, as I said before, about half
of our teaching force actually comes from out of
state and is prepared out of state. So, in general,
the in-state preparation programs only represent about a half of a fraction of that.
In terms of the alternative pathways themselves, we've actually just recently revised
the legislation. We've had a history of legislation.
We started this over -- gosh, I think 2000, or late 1990s actually, with our first
legislation that opened up those pathways. We
pretty dramatically changed them so that we've made it easier for those pathways to come
into existence and that the number of providers
is also broader.
As a result, we've already seen this fall the number of applicants coming in. So
we expect that the number of pathways will
increase. And, again, I think some of our
strategy is specifically around the grow your own strategy for our rural areas. We expect
to also increase the number of educators that
are coming through those pathways.
REVIEWER #1: Okay. MS. LOPEZ: I don't know if that
answered or not, but -- REVIEWER #1: We also had a question on
the critical shortages subject and subject areas. How is this being monitored? How will
you monitor it? I'm sure you're monitoring it
now. Could you explain to me about that? COMMISSIONER JONES: On the --
REVIEWER #1: Monitoring of the critical areas, subject areas that are shortages
of teachers. COMMISSIONER JONES: Linda, do you want
to take that one? MS. LOPEZ: I can do it, too.
MS. BARKER: Go ahead, Nina. MS. LOPEZ: So right now, our primary
method is by looking at emergency authorizations, essentially, which is how
we identify shortage areas, principally.
We also have, as I said, in part, part of the legislation, Senate Bill 160, we created
which streamlined the alternative pathways. We also changed the requirements for
satisfying the highly-qualified requirements in
our state. So they are not just based on course work or clock hours, but also demonstrated
past experience which doesn't answer your first
question. Sorry. But it is primarily at this point or
today has been through those emergency authorizations.
We expect as the educator inducement system gets rolled out, which is, as I said,
has already started in our state, it will then
-- and actually included within that system is
the preparation path, the competence -- not
competence -- the course work and the past experience and that will give us a much more
robust body of information around the skills that our educators have.
REVIEWER #1: Thank you. REVIEWER #3: I have a question about
your unique strategy around the turnarounds, the
center. So I'm just curious in terms of how are
you going to hold that center accountable for
delivering on the large investment and the results you're expecting there?
And what happens with that about sustainability long-term? I mean, after Race
to the Top, there's an external, you know, entity
and you're interested, but you're not running it. So where does the commitment for making
sure that stays alive -- because as much as I'd
like to see all the low-performing schools go
away by X-time, I think we're going to be in
this for the long haul. So I just -- how will you guarantee
that, you know, somebody is going to be looking over that and that it's going to be around?
COMMISSIONER JONES: Yeah. On the turnaround center, there's a couple of
approaches. And, actually, thank you for the
question and the opportunity to clarify. Even though we want to start a non-
profit to allow nimbleness, as well as to make
sure that we research best practices, that still
is going to be connected to the Colorado Department of Education.
So we are not just giving that away. REVIEWER #3: Okay. But describe the
connection. COMMISSIONER JONES: Sure.
REVIEWER #3: Specifically, where the bottom line hits the road or results.
COMMISSIONER JONES: Yeah, I'll be glad to.
You probably heard during our presentation that I've already started a unit
that focuses on turnaround within the Colorado Department of Education. I don't plan to
dissolve that unit if we're funded with Race to
the Top. That unit will still actually oversee
the turnaround effectiveness center and we will
actually identify different components and how
we want to administer certain work, what research we want to do to figure out what's
working and as well as holding ourselves accountable.
Now, a couple of components that -- you may have also noted that we have partnered
with Mass Insight, because we think for turnaround
schools in Colorado, that we're going to be looking at ninety to a hundred of them based
on the metrics that we've been using.
The Department had not built that kind of capacity. We want to build that capacity
through the center, but not just turn it over. We're going to stay connected and ultimately
we will be funding the grants that will be going
out to support that work. So we will still BE
closely connected. And, again, I've put an Assistant
Commissioner that answers directly to me, not
through a Deputy, but directly to me so that we
stay focused on that. The other piece for sustainability I
think is critical. One of the things that we
know is that when the dollars run out on Race to
the Top, we want to continue to do that work because we don't think we'll be done.
But we think how we can do that -- and that's why we wanted the public-private
partnership -- we want to actually match the dollars that will come out of Race to the
Top through private.
We have a lot of private funders right now that are really wanting to support that
work, but it hasn't been coordinated or organized.
So we believe that we can coordinate those dollars and continue to fund that work
and fund those districts that are taking the hard
steps to try to turn around their lowest- performing schools.
REVIEWER #4: Commissioner, just to clarify on that, too -- and that was most
helpful and I'm glad Reviewer #5 asked that --
but the turnaround office is oversight then for
the turnaround center. So in other words, there aren't dual
tracks? COMMISSIONER JONES: That is absolutely
correct. It is oversight. Right now, the turnaround office is
doing the turnaround work for the School Improvement Grants.
Once you approve our Race to the Top application, then we believe that that will
be oversight and will help set direction, as
well as our partnership with Mass Insight.
But that will -- we will downsize that department, but it will still have a high
level that will answer directly to the Commissioner.
REVIEWER #3: But I guess that's what I was trying to get at, is where is the bottom
line, where the rubber hits the road. I mean, who has got the accountability
to fire, hire, release the money because I didn't see that there was going to be any,
you know, governing board. I thought that somebody
maybe said something about advisory. So I still am trying to get some -- you
know, just be clear in a very simple way of where the rubber hits the road on this, because
you can have oversight and direct, support and
all that, but I want to know the accountability bottom line.
COMMISSIONER JONES: And let me say that that will rest directly with -- in the
Commissioner's office, that we will actually contract for that support with clear
deliverables, and that will come directly through the Assistant Commissioner, but directly
through me as Commissioner. And then I will also be the direct
person that will appoint that board. So that is
a piece, based on what I know and what we've done and how hard that work is, that I'm going
to keep my hand directly in it. So it is me. REVIEWER #5: I want to thank you.
We are barreling through our questions and we
really appreciate your sharp answers to these questions. It's very helpful for us to get
through these. I apologize. I need to go back to
alternative certification for just a minute, pathways to certification, and this is just
one further clarification question about that.
Reviewer #1 had already asked a question about, you know, the participation
rates, which you've answered. But it appears that there are a lot of
approved programs that could offer alternative certification in the state, but some of them
are dormant at a given time and then some are
active and some are more active than others.
And so the question arises about the quality and the content of those programs.
Why are some dormant, why are some, you know,
more popular, and how do you reactivate a program
that hasn't been activated or why doesn't it
just go off the books, you know? So just some general questions about that.
COMMISSIONER JONES: Sure. Ms. Lopez, you want to continue.
MS. LOPEZ: Sure. Just three things really quickly.
The first is that there are many of our preparation paths in the past that historically
have been created just for a single purpose. So, for example, we have some charter
schools to become authorized as alternative pathways and really they're not looking to
serve more than their own schools.
So in many cases, historically, what we've had is a lot of alternative preparation
providers that are not looking to serve more than a very limited number of schools or
districts. Again, we believe that as part of the
streamlining process that occurred as a result of Senate Bill 163 -- or 160, I'm sorry, that
it will make it more attractive and easier for
folks who really want to be a true, statewide alternative pathway provider to come into
our state.
The second thing I just want to say really quickly is we actually already started
the work of revising how we hold our preparation programs accountable.
And so we're looking at the Teacher Performance Standards, which are part of that
process. As I said before, we're also starting some work both through Blue Ribbon that the
Commissioner co-chairs around the clinical preparation, as well as TPAC. I can't remember
what it stands for, but it stands for looking at
performance assessments within our preparation paths.
So we're embarking on a variety of pathways that will allow us to essentially
identify which preparation programs are succeeding for a variety of reasons: one,
again, 107
we want to increase that link with the employers.
We also want our teacher candidates and our principals candidates to be able to figure
out who's actually doing a good job. I want to
go teach ELL students down in Durango. Who's actually doing a good job of preparing teachers
to go into that environment and succeed. And what Rich spoke about before is
changing the marketplace so that folks can figure out where best -- or which preparation
path is going to serve them. REVIEWER #5: Okay. So in some sense,
some of these programs are just (inaudible) and
they were created and maybe not used anymore. That's very helpful. Thank you.
REVIEWER #1: And we're going to turn to Reviewer #2 who is going to ask the last
question. REVIEWER #2: I need to clarify a
question. You were asked in your application the
108 budget for education in Colorado. The question
was very specifically has the amount of money budgeted for education gone up or down over
the last year and the application indicates that
actually the amount of money in education has
gone up, but it's a smaller percentage of the
total state budget. Help me understand. Can you clarify
that? LT. GOVERNOR O'BRIEN: We have in our
constitution Amendment 23, which I helped pass,
which forced the legislature to restore funding cuts over the previous decade, plus inflation.
So the idea is that by 2011, the state funding for education would be on par with
1991 equal with student population growth and
inflation. So basically it's going to make us even
and that is coming up to an end. So, yes, you're right. Up until now, there have been
big additions to education, even when other programs
are being cut, but we are now starting to look
at cuts to public education to balance the budget as we budget for the incoming fiscal
year because we Amendment 23 will have run its
course and we have cut everywhere else.
And our administration's perception -- and we're not entirely in agreement with
everyone on this... Ms. Barker: Just on this one issue. [Laughter}
LT. GOVERNOR O'BRIEN: -- is that education has to
help share the pain, even though we hate to do
it. So we will be seeing some cuts to
public education, but it's the only part of the
budget that has, you know, five-and-a-half percent increases, things like that, even
during this economic downtime.
REVIEWER #1: I think that's about it. We have one minute and 20 seconds.
REVIEWER #4: I just have a very quick one. You are closing the achievement pilot,
when did that start?
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER WENNING: That started two years ago, so it would have been
in 2008.
REVIEWER #4: And it's a three-year pilot?
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER WENNING: It's a three-year, so we're just finishing up year
two of that project.
REVIEWER #1: Thank you all.