Professional Development Update

December 17, 2020

What's in this update

Governor's Task Force releases report

After three weeks of meetings by the Back-to-School Working Group Task Force, a report was released and announced by Governor Polis during a press conference on Tuesday, December 16. The following content is from the Governor's press release.

Using data, science and transparency, this report lays out a number of action steps the State will be taking to help all students return to in-person learning this semester. This includes:

  • Increasing trust and transparency through: 

    • Regular communication with school districts, educators, and parents about disease transmission, emerging resources, and best practices. 

    • Encouraging counties to commit to prioritize in-person learning by considering suspending in-person extracurricular and recreational activities that interfere with cohorting once a county reaches Orange, Red, or Purple on the Dial. 

    • Ensuring in-person, school sponsored activities such as athletics, music, art, and theatre should only occur once full time or hybrid in-person learning is successfully occurring with minimal disruptions. 

    • Providing school data dashboards that are publicly available to ensure public health case and outbreak data is fully transparent and accessible to the public. 

    • Encouraging school districts and schools to prioritize full-time in-person education for the most vulnerable groups, including students with disabilities, students who are low-income, English language learners, students without access to the internet, students experiencing homelessness or in foster care, and children of frontline workers.

  • Preventing and protecting students, families, educators, and staff through: 

    • Continuing to support the CDC, CDPHE, and CDE strong recommendation for all children over the age of 3 to wear a mask. 

    • Because teaching requires constant talking, some educators may prefer a surgical or cloth mask instead of a KN95 mask. The state can continue to provide high quality medical, surgical, or other masks as appropriate for teachers, in-school health care providers, and other members of the school community for different operational or educational needs.

    • Creating evidence-based protocols and supplementary resources for schools to implement symptom screening in the home setting, as recommended by the CDC as well as strategies for in-school screening when home screening is incomplete.

    • Supporting effective cohorting models and protocols to minimize classroom disruptions, and continue to research more effective ways to minimize disruptions from qurantines. 

    • Supporting additional staffing to ensure schools can operate during staff quarantine periods. 

    • Creating resources and tools to improve ventilation in learning spaces including the use of outdoor spaces and outside facing windows remaining open in classrooms.

    • Encouraging hand washing hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting with appropriate products known to be effective against SARS-CoV-2.

    • Supporting effective models for physical distancing in classrooms.

  • Increasing access to testing and vaccines through: 

    • Continuing to provide resources for testing, particularly in the highest viral prevalence communities such as those counties in Red or Purple, as well as those that have greater challenges in accessing testing. This should include offering regular screening for educators and staff interested, for symptomatic individuals that need a diagnostic test, and for individuals who do not have symptoms but have been quarantined after an exposure. 

    • Supporting additional capacity for contact tracing for schools, which may include contact tracing resources at the State level. 

    • Promoting partnerships between the medical and public health community and school districts to help not just provide testing materials, but also the personnel to administer and manage testing programs and contact tracing when positive cases are identified. Facilitate access to in-person or virtual medical evaluation for ill students, teachers, and staff. 

    • Continuing to prioritize educators and school staff in the phased vaccination prioritization. 

    • Providing clear messaging on the vaccine and its safety, effectiveness, and importance to our return to normalcy, including sharing talking points for schools to share with parents and their communities. This messaging should be in Spanish and other languages common in Colorado.

Roadmap to In-Person Learning report
Cover letter for educators and school staff
Cover letter for parents

Take the Pledge for Colorado Students

This year has been anything but normal.

Communities across Colorado have been confronted with both a public health and an economic crisis, the likes of which we have never seen. But we can’t give up now. 

We’ve partnered with organizations across Colorado representing thousands of educators, pediatricians, doctors, nurses, parents, students, local public health officials, and more across Colorado.

Together, we’re pledging to consistently wear masks, wash our hands, and social distance because we believe that it’s up to each and every one of us to do our parts to get Colorado students back to school, rebuild and heal our communities, and get our economy back on track.

Take the Pledge
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View / download a cover photo
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We’re asking you to join us in taking this pledge and to promote this information to your local community. 

Together, we can get Colorado back on track.

School Board Recognition Month

January is School Board Recognition Month! School board members exemplify local citizen control and decision-making in education. They volunteer hundreds of hours and an immeasurable amount of energy to assure that our schools are providing the best education possible for the children of our community. January is School Board Recognition Month and the perfect time to acknowledge their service to our students and our communities, especially during one of the most complicated school years in U.S. history.

Visit the CASB website to access resources to help celebrate School Board Recognition Month:

Sample Artwork

  • Certificate: These can be run through your color printer or photocopied to be presented by the district.
  • Social media images: Use #SchoolBoardMonth on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share how your district is celebrating.

CASB podcasts and webinars

The Multi-Tiered System of Supports for K12 Schools is the newest CASB Connections release and focuses on what board members need to know in regard to the basics of Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for their schools. This system promotes mental health in children in order to keep at bay the onset of mental illnesses. Learn the difference between mental health, social emotional learning, and mental illness. Find out where you can access MTSS training, resources, and much more.

On August 14, 2020, the final Title IX rules went into effect for districts across the country. In response to the changes, CASB released sample policies on July 17, 2020. However, these rule changes have an impact beyond policy that school board members should be aware of this school year. The CASB Conversations: Title IX Overview webinar reviews Title IX and how the changes impact the process at the local level.

CASB Convention recap

Don’t forget that as a registered attendee during our two-day Convention this year, you have access to all of the breakout sessions, general sessions, exhibitors and sponsors, and resources for one year up to December 5, 2021! Simply use the same login information to access the virtual platform and everything is at your fingertips.

If you missed out CASB members can still purchase access to the Convention resources for $200 per person, which gives you access for the year. Use the Convention content from the General Sessions, breakouts, and interactive dialogues to map out your board development for the year. Registering for the Convention platform resources is for individual use only. 

Important to Note: The Friday Opening General Session with Manny Scott is only available until February 4, 2021. The Future of Learning breakout sessions with Ted Lai were not recorded due to an agreement with the session provider. 

Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Paid Sick Leave) Overview & FAQ

SB20-205, which passed during the 2020 legislative session, created the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”), which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees under various circumstances. The law overhauls Colorado’s paid sick leave statutes and was, at least partially, drafted and enacted in response to the ongoing pandemic. CASB has received a number of questions regarding the Act and has developed an FAQ to respond to a number of these questions. The FAQ is intended to provide an overview of SB20-205 (eff. 1/1/21*) and the resulting changes to employee leave eligibility and requirements under Colorado law at C.R.S. § 8-13.3-401 et seq. This FAQ is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific questions should be referred to the school district’s legal counsel. 

Overview and FAQ

CASB is truly grateful for all that you do to serve Colorado's youth, our communities, and public education. 
Wishing you a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.