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CDE's Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan


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


Ensuring equity and opportunity for every student, every step of the way.

CDE's Key Initiatives: Strong foundations, All means all, Quality schools, More options and Educators matter.

Equity Plan

CDE leadership is committed to learning more, taking action and advocating for change to create a more inclusive organization at CDE and a more equitable school system where regardless of skin color, students have access to equal opportunities in their lives.

Read CDE's Internal Action Plan for Increasing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (PDF).

Goals by 2022

The department has five 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).

  • By the end of third grade, all students can read at grade level.

  • Regardless of demographics and learning needs, all students meet or exceed state academic standards.

  • All students and families have access to quality schools that meet their students' needs.

  • Students graduate high school with knowledge, skills and experience needed for college and career success. 

  • High quality educators in every classroom; strong leaders in every building.

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.

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 make the shift from learning how to read to using reading skills to master more complex subjects. 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, we are failing to ensure that students from historically underserved backgrounds - specifically those from economically challenged communities, highly mobile families, racial minority groups, English learners and students with disabilities - report academic outcomes that are truly reflective of their talents so they have a wide variety of options to thrive in our communities and succeed in today’s economy. 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 systems all have different needs based on the context of their communities. By working with each district and school to understand their needs and invest in evidence-based strategies to be successful, we will help them progressively improve and maintain their academic performance.

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. Three out of four jobs in Colorado (three million jobs currently) require education or training beyond high school.

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 will 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, a 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

By committing to excellence in our core programs and functions, we can support each of our key initiatives and ultimately accomplish our goals. Several teams within the department are responsible for essential programmatic and operational functions that allow the department to achieve our broader goals. These teams include School Finance, Human Resources, Accountability and Continuous Improvement, Standards, Assessment, Educator Talent, Communications and Information Management Services.

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.