CEI 2021-2023 Goal 3

Colorado maximizes the policy and funding opportunities of recovery to enable breakthrough change that drives equity and relevance in high schools

Why This Matters

Most high school students face a one-size-fits-all program that assumes learning is best achieved through in-school learning, during traditional school hours, demonstrated through state assessment scores, which inaccurately indicate a promise of readiness not only to employers or higher education, but to students and families. Such outdated norms prevail despite innovations and advancements in technology; brain science; community leadership; and increased knowledge about gaps in alignment between K12 graduation requirements and college/career entrance requirements. While programs exist to help a few districts innovate at the margins or waive barriers for some students (e.g., Innovative Learning Opportunities Pilot), too many practices and policies threaten scalability and sustainability of current efforts.

CEI is partnering to bring about state and local changes that increase student access to relevant pathways that support equitable development of skills and competencies essential for college and career readiness. COVID spotlighted many of the existing challenges, particularly related to instructional time and scheduling. Districts received waivers to maximize flexibility in school schedules and attendance policies that will likely reverse without learning from exemplar systems who used their waivers for breakthrough approaches.

As a state intermediary, CEI has a rich history accelerating state and local policy through leading and convening at the intersection of P20 policy and practice, with emphasis on high school redesign and implementation of inclusive pathways. In addition to our continued implementation support directly with innovative high schools, we will be working to drive structural changes to sustain this work and seeking partnership across K12, higher education, and workforce along the way.

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Director of Education & Training Innovation Misti Ruthven calls for cross-sector collaboration to connect existing policies and resources and consider areas of need to enable innovation statewide.

CEI’s Secondary Policy and High School Redesign Work