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Colorado’s Department of Education Commits to Involving Communities in ESSA Implementation Process

Colorado’s Department of Education Commits to Involving Communities in ESSA Implementation Process

In order to implement the new federal education legislation the Every Student Succeeds Act in the best way possible, officials from Colorado’s Department of Education (CDE) traveled the state last month to gather opinions from individuals involved in the education community.

ESSA goes into effect in August and most of its provisions will be applicable starting in the 2017-2018 school year; the CDE is relying on community members to for feedback as it begins drafting the state’s ESSA plan.

Referred to as “the listening tour,” CDE officials made stops in several areas of the state to survey individuals about how the state’s ESSA plan should handle standards and assessments, accountability, supports for students and parent and community engagement.

CDE officials told that after contacting about 700 individuals through the tour, the feedback has been extremely helpful and will help create the first draft of the state’s ESSA plan for this fall.

Though the first listening tour has wrapped up, the state expects to have more opportunities throughout the year to include individuals in the drafting process.

For instance, according to CDE’s website, “a September 'back-to-school' summit will kick off the vetting process before the plan will be submitted to the State Board of Education and governor for approval before being delivered to the U.S. Department of Education.”

Other things the CDE has done to include the community in the ESSA implementation process is create a blog for on-going discussion and host an e-mail dedicated to receiving ESSA comments and questions.

The blog includes summaries of the education legislation as well as links to updates from the U.S. Department of Education, a helpful tool for state residents looking to learn more.

ESSA implementation will vary on a state-by-state basis as the new legislation greatly shifts power back to state and local governments. 

The National Education Association has tips for educators and community members looking to help facilitate ESSA implementation in their state, available here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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