STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
COMMITTEE ON JOINT EDUCATION
|Time:||07:37 AM to 08:41 AM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
|Teacher Cadet Program|
Briefing on Senate Bill 09-163
07:37 AM -- Teacher Cadet Program
Sheryl Mitchell, representing the Colorado Teacher Cadet Program, shared the mission of the organization and a packet of information with the committee (Attachment A). She also discussed the historical background of the teacher cadet program, which was founded in South Carolina. She explained it is a year-long, honors elective course with college-level material, and students must meet certain enrollment criteria in order to be eligible for the program.
Ms. Mitchell noted that the required elements of the program are: an application process, statewide syllabus, prescribed curriculum, required artifacts, portfolio, and certificates of field experience hours and portfolio credit recommendation. She also reviewed the teacher cadet course content, which is broken out into themes: experiencing learning, experiencing the profession, and experiencing the classroom. Ms. Mitchell explained the Colorado implementation of the teacher cadet program, and the supports given to the teachers who are chosen to teach the program. She noted that over 1,200 students have taken the Teacher Cadet class as of May 2008, and that 37 programs are operated in 21 school districts.
Ms. Mitchell stated that she is trying to expand the program beyond the Front Range, and is working with rural schools to provide distance learning. She shared that the curriculum aligns with the Colorado Teacher Licensure Standards, and the program has articulation agreements with the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, University of Colorado - Denver, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, and the Colorado Community College System. Representative Merrifield asked if there is a way to standardize the articulation agreements. Ms. Mitchell replied that it is a challenge because of the variety of education programs offered at the higher education level.
Ms. Mitchell noted that it is also difficult to find the right person at the university with whom to discuss the program. Representative Todd asked if Ms. Mitchell has spoken with Director Skaggs of the Department of Higher Education. Ms. Mitchell replied that she had not spoken with him directly, but that she is a member of the P-20 Council. Ms. Mitchell further explained that she says there is room for improvement in streamlining the process. Representative Todd asked if this program has been discussed in P-20 Council. Ms. Mitchell replied that other issues have been the focus, such as teacher certification and alternative certification, but she hopes that this year there will be more discussion on the teacher cadet program.
Senator King mentioned that he is working on a guaranteed transfer pathways bill that may address some of the concerns Ms. Mitchell presented. Senator King explained that the bill creates five pathways, two of which are focused on education. Ms. Mitchell said that the local schools or counselors do not know how to access information once the legislation is passed. Ms. Mitchell continued her presentation by discussing the program benefits to students. She also shared her vision for the future of the program and the future needs for the program's viability. She explained that her work is completely grant-funded, and that the program would be a good fit with the teacher licensure division at the Department of Education.
Representative Merrifield asked what is grant-funded. Ms. Mitchell explained that her position is grant-funded, and that she manages the administration of the program. Representative Merrifield asked if teachers who teach the course receive a stipend. Ms. Mitchell explained that there is CTE funding for teacher training and coursework. Representative Merrifield asked about how students are recruited into the program. Ms. Mitchell explained that it is hard to do on a limited budget. Senator Romer asked if the program has a connection with Teach for America (TFA). Ms. Mitchell explained that TFA is a college program, and that the teacher cadet program is a high school program.
Representative Todd asked how she could find out where the programs are being offered. Ms. Mitchell explained that the website has the listing of high schools offering the program. Representative Solano asked if the teachers are compensated or credit. Ms. Mitchell explained that the teachers can receive graduate credit or certification credit. With that, the presentation on the teacher cadet program concluded.
08:08 AM -- Briefing on Senate Bill 09-163
Richard Wenning and Kady Dodds, representing the Colorado Department of Education, presented on Senate Bill 09-163 and shared a packet of information with the committee (Attachment B). Dr. Wenning reviewed the key provisions of the bill, and noted that the bill eliminates the CSAP penalty and the weighted index.
Dr. Wenning explained that the bill lays out four indicators: student academic growth, student achievement levels, the student achievement gap, and postsecondary readiness. He further noted that the bill aligns with federal expectations of the department, and streamlines reporting requirements under current law, and that there will be a web-based portal that the public and schools can access to view reporting, eliminating the current print version of the School Accountability Report (SAR). Dr. Wenning explained that the bill takes the funding from the savings of discontinuing the printing of the SAR to fund software developers in the department for the new web portal.
Dr. Wenning noted that the bill assigns accreditation categories, which designate six levels of school and school district performance. He also explained that a school that ranks l in the lowest categories for 5 years will trigger an automatic review on the future of that school.
Representative Solano asked how assessment requirements passed in Senate Bill 08-212 interact with the growth model for a continuity of data. Dr. Wenning explained that the growth model is not contingent upon the assessments, and that data can be calibrated to work with the growth model. Senator Romer asked about the federal stimulus funding to be used for innovation in education, and that a group of states would be able to participate in the program, and if the department plans on requesting participation in the program.
Dr. Wenning responded to Senator Romer's question about the federal stimulus package, and explained that Colorado is well-positioned to be participants in the program that Senator Romer mentioned. President Groff asked if Dr. Wenning could provide an outline of the opportunities available in the federal stimulus package. Representative Solano asked about turnaround plans for schools with low performance, and the role of the external partner in the turnaorund plans. Dr. Wenning explained that it is undefined in the bill and will need to be promulgated by rule.
Representative Solano asked who would decide who the external partner would be. Dr. Wenning explained that it would be a decision between the school and the department, and that would be reviewed by the state board. Senator Hudak explained that in Virginia certain higher education institutions have experts on turnaround plans, and she hopes that Colorado would move toward that model, and perhaps the UNC Innovation Institute could serve in that role. Senator Romer expressed concern about how to turnaround schools that are on the brink of closure. Senator Romer asked when the five year period begins, if it is at the enactment of the bill, or retroactive. Dr. Wenning explained that is left to the state board to determine.
The committee adjourned.