Our Focus

SETTING HIGHER EXPECTATIONS

The Colorado Academic Standards, which include the Common Core Standards, describe what students need to learn by the end of a school year. These help ensure that all students, no matter where they live, have an opportunity to achieve success after school.

By reaching for and exceeding Colorado’s high academic standards, our youth will develop the resiliency and skills to excel in college and become top performers in any profession.

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PUTTING KIDS FIRST


By 2020, 74% of Colorado jobs will require some post-secondary education. Currently, only 22 of every 100 high school students end up with that credential. As a result, Colorado schools currently are producing less than half of the workers needed to fill the top 30 occupations with the largest projected openings.

Strong academic preparation will give our children the skills and confidence they need to achieve their dreams.

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READYING OUR KIDS FOR COLORADO’S JOBS

Colorado’s economy is rising to meet the needs of the 21st century but the state’s employers don’t have enough skilled candidates so they increasingly import workers from other states and countries.

With the higher expectations set by Colorado’s new academic standards, which include the Common Core Standards, our students will keep pace with the constant change in our communities, our business climate, and our world.

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The latest news from Future Forward Colorado

Did PARCC pass the test for my son?

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Pamela Nortonby Pamela Norton

Denver resident Pamela Norton is the founder and president of Activate.

Leading up to the controversial Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing in Colorado last month, several friends said they planned to pull their kids from the test.

Other friends said their kids were pressuring them to do so. My child did try that tactic, but he knew I wouldn’t agree.

I told my friends to stay strong so they could learn from the data the test would provide. I asked, “How can you help ensure your children are getting the best education if you don’t know how they are doing compared to children in the rest of the world?”

For years, we have been living on “feel-good” subjective standards that gave some of us a false sense that our school is “blue-ribbon,” with the smartest and brightest students. We’ve had only subjective standards for K-12 ever since the testing conversation began in 1959. Since then, we’ve seen many failed government initiatives and programs, until we finally obtained a bipartisan solution six years ago.

Finally, after all this work and investment, the state has implemented the Colorado Measures Academic Success (CMAS) PARCC tests so we can provide parents, teachers and schools with a benchmark and real insights to ensure our children are competitive.

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Focus on Teachers: William Anderson on Common Core instruction

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By Vicki Phillips

If you watch William Anderson teach, or listen to him talk, two things become readily clear: William sets high expectations for students and he connects with students through assignments that are relevant to them.

WAndersonIn his 7th year in education, William is a teacher and the Social Studies department chair at the Martin Luther King Early College High School in Denver, CO.  He teaches two upper grade classes in ethnic studies and spends the rest of his time working with teachers, including observing, coaching and co-planning with them.

Denver was one of the first districts in Colorado to actively adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  And, when asked about the CCSS, William doesn’t pull any punches: “We need to think about them in terms of curriculum, practice, units, and lessons.  They get framed as accountability but they are really instructional tools. They are about instruction.  We need to move the conversation from ‘here are the standards and here’s the evaluation’ to ‘let’s look at these standards and think about the lessons we are designing.’”

William continues, “In my classroom, I incorporate the Common Core into the curriculum and content I think is important.  We do a lot of critical reading and critical writing. And it works.  Any teacher can do it. The Common Core is really about pointing toward best practice.” more

A Colorado Teacher Shares His View on High Standards

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“It’s really important to have high standards for all students across the board, to truly prepare them for the workplace and for higher levels of education.” — Matthew Johnson, Denver 4th grade teacher

Colorado Educators Discuss the Importance of High Standards

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In this video from America Achieves, Colorado educators discuss the importance of high standards.

Common Core in the Classroom: One Teacher’s Approach

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Curious to see the Common Core in action? This video shows how one second-grade class is using the standards to develop a deeper understanding of the Pledge of Allegiance.

PARCC: What’s it all about?

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This video explains how the PARCC test works, which is known as CMAS in Colorado.

What does “quality assessment” mean?

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The business community talks a lot about the importance of a “quality assessment.” Wondering what that means? Here are the pieces of a quality assessment.

What is a quality assessment?

A Leap Toward Postsecondary Success

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by Paul Lingenfelter

Paul E. Lingenfelter is president emeritus of the State Higher Education Executive Officers association. He is now on the board of PARCC, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Earlier this month, higher education leaders in Colorado took a significant step to close the persistent gap between the number of students who enroll in college and the number who graduate.

Officials at the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) on March 8 announced that Adams State University and Aims Community College will begin using PARCC, the state’s K-12 assessment of college and career readiness, to determine whether entering college freshman are prepared to take college level courses.

This makes Adams State and Aims the first colleges in the state and the nation to agree to use or validate PARCC as a college readiness assessment to determine which students need remediation.

Why is this progress? PARCC assessments, administered through high school and aligned with the requirements for success in college, provide feedback to students long before high school graduation. High school students and their teachers will know well in advance whether they are prepared or on track to being prepared for college-credit bearing courses. more