If you go
What: Colorado Department of Education content standards stakeholders conference
When: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today
Where: Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel
Online: For more information about the standards review process, click here.
Steamboat Springs When the Colorado Department of Education adopted its model content standards in 1993, the expectations for students were vague and broad.
Jo O'Brien, assistant commissioner for the state Department of Education's standards and assessments, said the department is working to fix that. Stakeholders from the Colorado business and higher education communities have met since January to redefine what the state expects from children in kindergarten through 12th grade, she said.
The 13 standards require proficiency in civics, dance, economics, foreign language, geography, history, mathematics, music, physical education, reading and writing, science, theatre and visual arts.
The stakeholders are meeting today in Steamboat Springs to discuss the revisions, dissemination and implementation of the revised standards. O'Brien said the meeting is open to the public and that there would be time for comments, questions and/or feedback.
"This is an ongoing meeting to get clearer and simpler about what all kids should and can know in school, for every student in Colorado," O'Brien said about today's meeting, the 10th held this year.
The revision will incorporate four changes to the existing standards: adding 21st century skills; ensuring fewer, clearer and higher standards; adding early childhood, postsecondary and work force readiness expectations; and mastering concepts and skills, not just facts.
O'Brien said two more stakeholder meetings are scheduled, in Keystone and Grand Junction. After those, she said, the revised standards likely will go before the state board of education in December for adoption. O'Brien said a campaign to alert the public about what is expected from Colorado school children will start in January 2010.
She said the new standards would take two years to implement statewide. Students will be tested on the new standards, which will replace the Colorado Student Assessment Program, in spring 2012.
"No other state in the nation has tried and succeeded in changing all 13 disciplines in one year," she said, adding that stakeholders are two-thirds of the way through the revision process. "Colorado is one of the few states that has clarified what postsecondary high school graduates should know and threaded (the standards) down to preschool."
Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Judy Harris won't be able to attend today's conference. But she said it's common for the state education department to work with local school districts to review and identify what students should know and are able to do by the time their public education is complete.
"This is a wonderful review we're embarking on, and I hope to get up to speed with the (Steamboat Springs School District management) team when we return for the new school year," she said.