Colorado’s support mechanisms for low-performing schools are relatively vague.



Colorado’s support mechanisms for low-performing schools are relatively vague.


The state’s plan cites a host of possibilities (e.g., performance management tools, professional learning) and describes a resource list, but lacks details.


The one area the plan should be commended for is its focus on leadership as a target of school turnaround.


Additionally, Colorado does have an “Accountability Clock,” embedded in state law, but the plan does not make clear connections between possible interventions and what’s statutorily required.


Colorado’s plan does provide a description of the tiered system of performance management and technical assistance.


The plan lays out an ongoing process for matching 7 percent of its Title I funds dedicated for school-improvement activities using what is called a “needs-based approach.”


However, the goals outlined by the state appear to be in tension, specifically the intent of “incentivizing innovation” while “providing predictability” to school districts.


Given the importance of the former, a competitive allocation process aligned to the state’s long-term priorities would likely better serve the state’s aspirations.


The state’s plan could be improved if the state took advantage of the Direct Student Services opportunity and articulated how it intends to use those resources to provide greater access to advanced coursework for traditionally underperforming subgroups of students.


New Mexico


New Mexico clearly states what action must be taken in schools that fail to improve three years after being initially identified for comprehensive support and improvement. Schools must choose between a concrete list of intervention options or the state department will choose one for it. New Mexico is committed to providing additional funding to plans that use the strongest base of evidence and to providing “Direct Student Services” to support expanded learning time, AP course access, K-3 literacy and mathematics, pre-k services, personalized learning, and student transportation.


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