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CDE's Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan


All students graduate ready for college and careers, and are prepared to be productive citizens of Colorado.


The mission of the Colorado Department of Education is to ensure equity and opportunity for every student, every step of the way.

Strategic Plan

Financial Plan

Strong foundations. All means all. Quality schools. More options. Educators matter.

Goals by 2022

The department has four overarching goals that are focused on supporting students through every step of their schooling. The goals are described in greater details in the strategic plan (PDF).

  • 88% of students will be reading by the end of third grade.
  • 80% of schools needing support and academic improvement will raise and maintain their performance.

  • 66% of students will earn a postsecondary credential, degree or certificate after high school.
  • 20% more historically underserved students will achieve academic expectations.

Key Initiatives

Smiling elementary girl to represent key initiative of strong foundations for strategic plan

Strong Foundations

Support High Quality Early Learning and Literacy for All Students

Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning how to read to using reading skills to master the more complex subjects in fourth grade and beyond. In fact, students who cannot read by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. By focusing on support for our youngest students and their educators, the department can ensure more students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade and build a strong foundation for continued success in school.

Children with hands meeting in the middle to show teamwork and represent key initiative of strategic plan All Means All

All Means All

Expand Access and Opportunity for Historically Underserved Students​

In Colorado, students from a number of historically underserved backgrounds ─ specifically those from economically challenged communities, racial minority groups and students with disabilities ─ continue to fall short of their academic potential and are missing the skill sets to compete with their middle-class peers. By concentrating on equity as a foundational construct of our work at CDE, we will empower schools and districts in their efforts to increase access and opportunity and ultimately reduce the pervasive influence that systemic inequities have on student outcomes.

Young boy wearing backpack pumping fist in the air to represent key initiative quality schools for strategic plan

Quality Schools

Prioritize and Maximize Support for Schools and Districts Identified for Academic Improvements

Schools and districts that are identified for improvement through the state and federal accountability systems all have different needs, based on the context of their communities. By working with each district and schools to understand their needs and invest in strategies to be successful, we will help them progressively improve and maintain their improvement on the state performance frameworks.

High school boy working with test tubes to represent more options key initiative of strategic plan

More Options

Expand High School Options to Ensure All Students Are Ready for College and/or Living-Wage Jobs​

Students who graduate and work in Colorado need in-demand skills that meet business, industry and higher education standards. By 2020, three out of four jobs in Colorado will require education or training beyond high school. That adds up to three million jobs.

By increasing options for high school students and fostering expansion of successful high school models, we can ensure that at least 66 percent of the class of 2022 go on to earn a postsecondary credential, certificate or degree within five years. When we achieve this goal, we will fuel Colorado’s economy with educated students who are prepared for a college education, good paying job or military service.

Teacher at front of a classroom to represent educators matter key initiative of strategic plan

Educators Matter

Develop a Strong Pipeline of High-Quality Teachers and Principals and Provide Deeper Support for School and District Leaders

Research shows that teachers have a bigger impact on student performance than any other school-based factor. And the number one reason teachers leave is lack of support by a high-quality principal. We can learn from the workforce development approaches of public and private industries that focus on growing talent in a strategic and intentional way by recruiting, developing and supporting their workforce. By developing, deploying and supporting talent management and human capital development strategies for districts and schools, we can ensure that every classroom has an effective educator and all students are prepared for college, career and life.

Chalk board with networking circles to represent key initiative of organizational excellence

Organizational Excellence

Underpinning our success with each of our key initiatives will be our commitment to excellence with each of our core programs and operations. By holding ourselves to the highest degree of excellence in customer service and performance, we will effectively implement our key initiatives and accomplish our goals.

The State of Education

The State of Education (PDF), developed by Colorado's Education Leadership Council, is designed to help Colorado achieve a world-class education system. The plan is a roadmap for educators, policymakers, business and community leaders, and others to identify ways to drive Colorado's education system forward, together.

The State of Education plan consists of three key elements:

  • A vision framework, which identifies what Coloradans want from their education system
  • The principles of a world-class education system that can help us achieve that vision
  • Practical improvement strategies that align to these principles

Download The State of Education (PDF)

If you need an alternate version of this document, please Contact Us.

For additional information, email Stacey Macklin,