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Video: State project aims to improve teaching

State officials on Monday kicked off a project designed to coordinate efforts to improve educator effectiveness across Colorado.

Education Commissioner Dwight Jones said the project is intended to “look at all the moving parts and align them. … For the first time, the Department of Education is trying to unify its efforts.”

The two-year project, funded by the Rose Community Foundation and the New Teacher Project, was launched formally during an early-morning event at the Denver Museum of Science & Nature. Speakers included Jones, Colorado Legacy Foundation Director Helayne Jones, New Teacher Project President Tim Daly and Department of Education administrator Nina Lopez, who will coordinate the effort.

Tim Daly, president of the New York-based New Teacher Project, spoke at the launch of the CDE's Educator Effectiveness Project on Monday.
Tim Daly, president of the New York-based New Teacher Project, spoke at the launch of the CDE's Educator Effectiveness Project on Monday.

“The goal of this project is to provide an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective principal in every school,” Jones said.

Referring to Colorado education reform efforts, he said, “There is no state with a better road map of legislation … but legislation alone doesn’t get the job done.”

Jones said the effort is intended to complement and coordinate the work of educator effectiveness groups that already are operating, including the State Council for Educator Effectiveness, the Quality Teachers Commission and the School Leadership Academy, plus efforts launched by individual districts and different offices within CDE.

Amie Baca-Oehlert, an Adams 12 Five Star teacher who’s on the effectiveness council, asked how the project would relate to the work of the council, which was assigned a lengthy list of duties by the new effectiveness law, Senate Bill 10-191.

“The work we’re doing here is to better position the department to implement” what the council recommends, said Lopez.

Daly referred to “a national landscape that is changing rapidly” on the issue of educator effectiveness, adding that Colorado and other states with new effectiveness laws have to figure out how to help school districts make those laws work.

The project’s detailed tasks include:

  • Identifying comprehensive state polices that support the preparation, recruitment, development and promotion of effective educators.
  • Adopting statewide goals to increase the numbers of effective and highly effective educators, reduce the number of ineffective educators and address equitable distribution of effective educators.
  • Recommending necessary rules or legislation to the State Board of Education and the legislature.

The project intends to develop resources and best practices for educators and districts and recognize the accomplishments of the state’s most effective educators.

The launch event was attended by about 50 to 60 people, including members of the state board, legislators, foundation and interest group representatives, and members of the Colorado Education Association.

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