Acronyms & Definitions

Acronym Definition
504 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
Academic content standards The written standards established by Colorado that outline what a student should know and be able to do at each grade level. The state assessment system is based on (aligned with) these content standards.
Accountability Being held responsible for one's commitments and actions.
Accountability committees (district and school) Committee created by law that includes parents, teachers and administrators. Makes recommendations about budget and school improvement.
Administrative unit A sufficiently large school district or BOCES that is responsible for distributing special education funds and delivering education services to students with disabilities.
AED and SAED Amortization Equalization Disbursement and the Supplemental Amortization Equalization Disbursement (Related to the employee contribution of PERA.)
AFT American Federation of Teachers, one of two national teacher unions. The other is the National Education Association (NEA).
Alternative education Schools or classrooms that are designed to serve students who aren't succeeding in the traditional school or classroom environment. Students who are failing academically or may have learning disabilities or behavioral problems may need a different setting. Alternative schools or classrooms may have more flexible schedules, smaller teacher-student ratios, counseling support and modified curricula.
Amendment 23 Constitutional change requiring K-12 funding to increase by inflation plus 1 percent from 2001-2011 and by inflation after that.
Annexation Joining a school district or parts of a district with a receiving district.
AP Advanced Placement. The designation of the College Board for college-preparatory courses that high school students can take to earn college credit. Students must master a generally higher level of coursework and pass an accompanying test to earn college credit.
Assessments Tests or other tools that measure students' skills and knowledge. Formative assessments are used by teachers and students so instruction can be adjusted as needed to improve learning. Summative assessments assess the student's overall mastery of the subject matter.
AYP Adequate yearly progress. The minimum level of academic performance school districts must achieve each year in reading, math and science on the state-mandated criterion-reference tests (Benchmark Exam). Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), each state sets the AYP gains every school must meet to reach 100 percent proficiency by 2014. Parents are notified if their child’s school is not meeting AYP requirements.
BEST Building Excellent Schools Today. This is a state matching-funds program to provide financial assistance to local districts for K-12 capital construction.
BEST Health Plan Colorado Boards of Education Self-Funded Trust Inc., a multi-employer/employee health benefit program.
Blended learning Combination of face-to-face and online student instruction designed to offer more personalized and student-centered learning.
Boardsmanship A term to describe the skills school board members need in order to work together effectively and ensure competent governance of a local school district.
BOCES Board of Cooperative Educational Services. BOCES are a group of districts that join together for a better use of funds.
CAP4K Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (SB 08-212). Sets a plan for establishing P-20 standards and assessments.
CASB Colorado Association of School Boards
CASE Colorado Association of School Executives
CASSA Colorado Association of Superintendents and Senior Administrators
CBA Colorado BOCES Association
CCC Colorado Children's Campaign (education advocacy organization)
CCHE Colorado Commission for Higher Education
CCSSO Council of Chief State School Officers
CDE Colorado Department of Education
CDHE Colorado Department of Higher Education
CEA Colorado Education Association (an affiliate of the National Education Association)
CFT Colorado Federation of Teachers (an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers)
Charter school A public school operated by a group of parents, teachers and/or community members as a semi-autonomous school of choice within a school district, operating under a contract or "charter" contract between the members of the charter school community and the local board of education.
Chartering authority The ability of a local board to determine, alone or in conjunction with CDE , whether to open charter schools in the school district.
CHSAA Colorado High School Activities Association
CIPA Children's Internet Protection Act
Classified staff School district employees who aren't required to have Colorado teaching credentials as a condition of employment. Bus drivers, janitors and cafeteria workers are some members of classified staff.
CLCS Colorado League of Charter Schools
CLF Colorado Legacy Foundation. CDE 's 501c(3) corporation that receives grants and promotes work in select areas.
CMAS Colorado Measures of Academic Success
CML Colorado Municipal League (Represents Colorado's cities and towns.)
Colorado Growth Model Collection of data enabling parents, educators and community members to easily evaluate growth in student achievement over time at public schools across the state.
Colorado Sunshine Law The law states that a gathering of a quorum or three or more individuals of a local board may constitute a meeting. Emailed messages discussing pending actions may also constitute meetings. A private meeting is a meeting where the discussion of public business is not the central topic.
Common Core Standards The Common Core State Standards are academic standards set by a coalition of states to establish the common core of knowledge and skills that students should develop in K-12 education so they will graduate from high school prepared for college or careers.
Community engagement Approach to community problem-solving in which citizens are deeply involved in the process.Citizens come together and consider relevant facts and values; listen to one another in order to think critically about the various options; consider the underlying tensions, tough choices, and varied consequences inherent to addressing public problems; are willing to refine and adapt their opinions and interests; and ultimately seek to come to some conclusion for action.
Consolidation Joining two or more school districts or parts of districts to create a single new school district.
CORA Colorado Open Records Act requiring that most public records be available to the public.
CSFP Colorado School Finance Project
CSI Charter School Institute (an agency within the CDE that can authorize CSI Charter Schools)
Curriculum The subject matter, skills and processes that are taught so students will achieve identified standards of knowledge and skill. Curriculum is singular and curricula is plural.
DAC District Assessment Coordinator or District Accountability Committee
Disaggregated data Information that has been sorted according to certain criteria or subdivisions. For example, test results can be sorted by groups of students who have similar characteristics, such as economic disadvantage, race or ethnicity, disabilities, or limited English proficiency. Teachers and parents can then determine how each group is performing.
DOE Department of Education (Usually in reference to the federal department.)
Drop-out rate The proportion and time at which students leave school before graduating for reasons that may include failing grades, suspension or expulsion, lack of interest, economic hardship, pregnancy, marriage, peer conflict, incarceration, lack of attendance and use of alcohol or drugs.
ECS Education Commission of the States
ELL English language learners. Also, programs or approaches used to teach English to those who don’t speak English as their first language.
ESEA Elementary and Secondary Education Act, aka No Child Left Behind.
Ex officio Literally meaning "by virtue of one's office," the term refers to the practice that allows a member of an official group, such as a school board, to designate someone to fill a certain role at the group's request.
Executive session A private portion of a meeting of a school board or other governing body that can be held only for purposes specified by law and from which the general public and press are excluded.
FERPA Family Education Rights and Privacy Act – federal law governing privacy of student information
Fiduciary The concept of stewardship, referring to a person or persons having duties that require good faith, trust and special confidence. Fiduciary duty is to act for someone else's benefit, while subordinating one's personal interests. The term is often used in conjunction with managing money or property, using a very high standard of care. For example, a school board acts as the community's trustee of public funds for the schools and therefore has a fiduciary responsibility for using those funds.
Fiscal year (FY) All financial accounts are to be completed by the end of the 12-month period known as the fiscal year, which begins July 1 and ends June 30.
Free-and-Reduced Lunch Program See National School Lunch Program
FRN Federal Relations Network (The National School Boards Association and CASB program for federal lobbying.)
FTE Full-time equivalent (Refers to a full-time position.)
Gallagher Amendment Enacted in 1982 as an amendment to the Colorado Constitution (It set forth the guidelines for determining the actual value of property and the valuation for assessment of such property.)
GED General Education Development test. A nationally recognized measure of high school-level knowledge and skills. In Colorado, GED has been replaced by “high school equivalency examination.”
Good faith The duty to act in a fair and equitable manner, without coercion, intimidation or threats of coercion or intimidation.
GPA Grade point average
Grievance A formal, written complaint from an employee regarding working conditions or treatment of from another community member.
Gifted education Refers to children identified with above-average intellectual potential.
HB Abbreviation preceding legislative bill originating in the State House of Representatives.
Head Start A federally sponsored comprehensive child development program that serves children from birth to age 5, pregnant women and their families. They are child-focused programs and have the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (Protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information.)
Home school A school conducted by parents or legal guardians for their own children.
ICAP Individual Career and Academic plan (Required for all students by Colorado law.)
IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A federal law that requires states to provide all eligible children who have disabilities with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) from infancy through age 21, consistent with a state’s more specific legal provisions.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) A written instructional plan for students with disabilities who are designated as special education students under federal law.
J or JT At the end of a school district name. Joint, crosses county lines.
JBC Joint Budget Committee. Made up of members from both the House and Senate.
LEP Limited English proficiency (former acronym). Current acronym is ELL, English Language Learners.
Licensed staff Within a school district these are employees who, by law, must hold certain Colorado credentials as a condition of employment. This level of personnel, sometimes referred to as nonclassified or licensed staff, includes teachers, counselors, principals and others.
Mill One thousandth of a dollar, a mill is a rate similar to a percentage (a percentage is one hundredth). One mill = .001/$1, or one tenth of one penny.
Mill levy A tax rate, measured in mills, representing the portion of a property's value collected by a government entity's tax (called a levy) to fund its budget.
NACSA National Association of Charter School Authorizers
NAEP National Assessment of Educational Progress. Often referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP is a standards-based test that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education as a means for measuring student achievement so that student performance in one state can be compared with that of another. NAEP exams are given to a representative sample of the student population in grades 4, 8 and 12 in every state.
NASBE National Association of State Boards of Education
National School Lunch Program Formerly know as the federal Free- or Reduced-Lunch Program, meals that are provided free or at a low cost to children who are determined eligible according to federal guidelines based on family income.
NCAA National Collegiate Athletic Association
NCLB No Child Left Behind. The name for the current authorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The law is built on four principles: accountability for results, more choices for parents, greater local control and flexibility, and an emphasis on doing what works, based on scientific research.
NCSL National Conference of State Legislators
NEA National Education Association, one of two national teacher unions. The other is the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
NREA National Rural Education Association
NSBA National School Boards Association (The national organization that is a federation of state school boards associations.)
PBIS Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. PBIS is a program used by many districts.
PEBC Public Education Business Coalition
PERA Public Employees' Retirement Association. Manages pensions and other benefits for public employees.
PLACE Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators (Usually references an exam.)
Policy A general statement a school board or other governing authority adopts to indicate a desired condition, direction or belief.
Policy Governance® Policy Governance® is a governance model that some school boards use to provide policy leadership. It is a system of interrelated principles that uses policies to express board values and perspectives in all areas with clear authority and accountability for all significant roles.
Poverty rate The economic level of a school's student enrollment, which is generally determined by the percentage of students who are eligible to receive free or reduced-cost meals.
PPA Per pupil allocation
PPOR Per pupil operating revenue
PPR Per pupil revenue
Professional development Ongoing, systemic learning activities designed to enhance the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes of educators to achieve specific objectives toward the goal of increasing student achievement. Also known as in-service training.
Proprietary functions In a school district, they include such activities as hosting athletic contests, leasing or renting school-owned facilities, or engaging in any similar revenue-yielding activity.
PSF Public school finance
PTA Parent Teacher Association
PTO Parent Teacher Organization
Public engagement or public involvement The sustained, active interest and participation of parents, community members and other taxpayers in supporting and improving schools.
Quorum Defined by statute or in the bylaws of a board or other governing body as the number or proportion of members that must be present in order to conduct business. Commonly, a majority of members constitutes a quorum.
R or RE At the end of a school district name (reorganized)
READ Act The Colorado READ Act establishes a process for districts to identify K-3 students who read below grade level and work with their parents to provide extra reading support before students reach the fourth grade.
Referendum C Approved by Colorado voters in 2005 to temporarily override TABOR limits on state revenues and allow the state to keep and spend the excess of TABOR revenues it collected for five years.
Referred measure Any ballot question or ballot issue submitted by the General Assembly or the governing body of any political subdivision to the eligible electors of the state or political subdivision.
Regular board meeting A scheduled board meeting that is held at least monthly during the school year, but may also be held when school is not in session.
Remediation The process of providing extra instruction to help a student improve in a particular subject area identified in the student's Academic Improvement Plan (AIP).
RIP Reduction in Force. When a teacher's contract is canceled as a result of budget or program cuts.
RTI Response to Intervention
RTTT Race to the Top. Federal competitive education grant opportunity.
Rules/Regulations Mandates issued by the State Board of Education or other state and federal agencies to guide, require or limit school district operations. Rules stem from state statutes or federal law and may identify procedures for carrying out the requirement. Rules used to be called regulations.
SACPIE State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education
SB Abbreviation preceding bills originating in the Colorado State Senate
SB 08-212 A 2008 state law requiring new state standards and setting a P-16 framework in place.
SB 09-163 Educational Accountability Act, passed in 2009.
SB 10-191 Educator Effectiveness Bill, passed in 2010.
SB 15-213 Bill related to school safety and prevention of violence that adds some liability while removing some immunity.
SBE State Board of Education
School board  The local legislative unit of school district governance charged with operating the district according to the mandates of laws and regulations.
School district A defined geographic and governmental area, overseen by a locally elected school board and managed by a superintendent, in which the public schools serve students who either live within the area's borders or enroll through school choice or a legal transfer from a different school district.
School in need of improvement This is the term No Child Left Behind uses to refer to schools receiving Title I funds that have not met state reading and math goals for at least two years. In some instances, a school labeled as needing improvement may receive extra financial, staffing or programmatic assistance. Students in the school may be eligible for such services as extra tutoring or may transfer to another public school in their district, within certain guidelines.
School-community partnership A voluntary relationship between a school and a community group or business that meets the needs and uses the resources of both partners for their mutual benefit.
School-wide programs Comprehensive school improvement programs accessible to all students, particularly those who are low achievers and at risk of failure. The programs are funded by a school's Title I programs, which are based on an enrollment of at least 40 percent low income.
SDFSC Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities
SEA State Educational Agency (see CDE)
SES Socio-economic status
SFP School Finance Partnership (a state organization)
SIG School Improvement Grant. Federal money to assist schools and districts in "turnaround" or "needs improvement" status.
SIP School Improvement Plan. The plan required by law for schools to improve student achievement.
SMART Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Research-based, Time-phased. Usually references elements of well-written student learning objectives for kids with and without disabilities.
SOA School of accountability
SOP State operated program
Special board meeting A board meeting convened for a special purpose by the proper procedures to decide a specific item of business.
SPED Special education for students with disabilities
SRO School resource officer
Standards-based test An assessment that tells how a student's performance compares to some standard of knowledge or skill. A criterion-referenced test (CRT) is a standards-based test.
STAR Standardized Test for Assessment of Reading
Statutes Laws created by state or federal legislation.
STEM Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Throughout the U.S., school leaders and educators are being challenged to offer students a rigorous course of study in STEM content and to promote competencies toward careers in STEM fields to ensure that our nation stays strong and competitive in the global economy. Also STEAM includes “arts.”
TABOR Taxpayers Bill of Rights. (Provisions in Colorado's Constitution that limits revenues and requires voters to approve tax increases.)
TCAP Transitional Colorado Assessment Program
TELL Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning. An anonymous statewide survey of licensed, school-based educators to assess teaching conditions at the school, district and state level.
 TIF Tax Incremental Funding. An economic development funding program that permits municipalities to use tax revenues resulting from economic development to fund new public construction.
Title I  The largest federal aid program for elementary and secondary schools. Funding is based on the number of low-income students enrolled in a school. Title I money pays for extra educational services for children who are behind or at risk of falling behind in school.
UIP Unified Improvement Plan. Used to streamline improvement planning components of state and federal accountability requirements. Shifts from planning as an "event" to planning as a component of "continuous improvement." UIPs also provide a mechanism for external stakeholders to learn about schools' and districts' improvement efforts.
URS  Uniform Readiness Screening. A state-mandated, developmentally appropriate assessment used to determine if a student has substantial difficulty reading.
USDE  United States Department of Education
State Board of Education  The regulatory body for public elementary and secondary education throughout Colorado. The board has nine members appointed by the governor for a single seven-year term.
PARCC Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The new multistate testing program Colorado has joined
P16/P20 One name for education, preschool through higher education.