Friday, February 10, 2012

State Board of Education hears two charter school appeals

Board also briefed on progress in licensing backlog

The Colorado State Board of Education met this week for regularly scheduled meetings on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and Thursday, Feb. 9. Highlights from the meeting include:

Charter School Appeals

The State Board of Education heard two charter school appeals on Wednesday. The first, an appeal by Northeast Academy Charter School was based on a decision by the Denver Public Schools Board in November to close the charter school’s kindergarten and sixth-grade, based on the school’s inability to meet important performance milestones. The State Board of Education voted that the decision by the local board was not in the best interest of the students and remanded the local board’s decision to impose unilateral conditions back to the local board with written instructions for reconsideration.

Monarch Montessori of Denver Charter School also filed an appeal of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education’s decision to deny the school’s charter application. The argument of the local school board was that the school did not have the capacity to serve its target population and the school was not financially viable. Monarch’s argument was that the school would ideally serve its target population. The State Board of Education voted in favor of Monarch Montessori, that the decision by the local school board was contrary to the best interests of the pupils and the community and remanded the matter back to the local board with written instructions for reconsideration.

Educator Licensing

The Educator Licensing Office at CDE has been working hard to improve the licensing backlog. Staff has reduced the time it takes for an educator to get a license from six months to two-to four-weeks processing time. The office continues to work on its error rate, at 1.6 percent, and hopes with additional upgrades over the next couple months that the system will continue to improve.

Educator Effectiveness

The State Board approved the notice of rulemaking for the process by which a nonprobationary teacher may appeal a second consecutive performance rating of ineffective. The State Council for Educator Effectiveness made recommendations for appeals of educator evaluation performance ratings. In order for the state board to approve rules and submit them to the General Assembly for review during the 2012 legislative session, the department recommends the following timeline:

•February 24 (special session board meeting)—department presents updated draft of rules

•March 7-8 (regular board meeting)—rules are information item on board agenda

•March 30 (special session board meeting)—state board holds public hearing

•April 11-12 (regular board meeting) - SBE votes to adopt rules

Race to the Top Round Three

CDE is working with local education agencies to secure participation in the grant. To participate in the Race to the Top program, LEAs must submit a signed Memorandum of Understanding by Feb. 24. Those that chose to participate must then complete a Scope of Work by March 14.CDE is in the process of setting up the office that will manage the grant, to be called Vision 2020. Vision 2020 is a reference to the year 2020, when the students who are in Colorado’s education system now, will graduate. For more information, visit

Rulemaking Hearing

The board conducted a rulemaking hearing on the Rules for Student Possession and Administration of Asthma, Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Medication or Other Prescription Medications. The rules outline the requirements for student possession and administration of prescription medication, should a local school district board of education, including the Charter School Institute choose to adopt and implement a policy for the management of student possession and administration of prescription medication. The board heard public comment and staff will revise the rules before the final board vote in March.

Departure of Deputy Commissioner Diana Sirko

Deputy Commissioner Diana Sirko will retire at the end of the fiscal year, through June. Having worked in education in Colorado for 38 years, she’s decided to spend more time with her family, and take some time to enjoy her grandchildren.

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