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Colorado 2010 Validation Grant Abstract


School District No. 1 of the City and County of Denver, State of Colorado

PR Award Number:


Project Title:

Collaborative Strategic Reading Colorado (CSR Colorado)

Project Director:

Elma Ruiz

Amount of Award:


Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP1: Effective Teachers and Principals

List of Partners (with states for each):

Padres Unidos, Inc. (CO)
University of Colorado at Boulder (CO)
University of Colorado at Denver (CO)

Project Website:


Description of Project:

Denver Public Schools (DPS) will collaborate with the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) to validate an innovative, research-based intervention, collaborative strategic reading (CSR), in content-area classrooms in eight middle schools. Padres Unidos, Inc., a community-based organization that works on education equality issues with Spanish-speaking and other minority parents and youths in Denver, will work with DPS and CU-Boulder to educate and engage parents in support of CSR Colorado. CSR Colorado will catalyze a whole-school strategy to increase teacher, principal, and staff effectiveness and academic achievement for English language learners (ELLs), students with learning disabilities (LDs) and struggling readers. CSR facilitates reading comprehension for these and other students.

Built on a foundation of reciprocal teaching and incorporating features associated with effective instruction (such as collaborative group work and interactive dialogue), CSR Colorado addresses four challenges—namely, how to promote (a) students' reading comprehension, particularly of discipline-specific expository text; (b) text-based content learning among ELLs, students with LDs and struggling readers; (c) student engagement in high-level academic discussions; and (d) ELLs' language acquisition through academic discourse with peers.

CSR Colorado will be a strategic lever for districtwide change. Program objectives are to (a) validate CSR with ELLs, students with LDs and struggling readers in middle school content-area classrooms; (b) based on the results of the validation study, ensure that the DPS definition of teacher effectiveness includes best practices for ELLs and other high-needs students; (c) increase principals' professional development opportunities to drive instructional leadership that supports ELL achievement; (d) increase the capacity of school staff to support ELLs, students with LDs and struggling readers; (e) align DPS professional development requirements to best practices for ELLs, students with LDs and struggling readers; and (f) develop a learning trajectory that accurately captures ELL student learning in language and content. Outcomes will be measured by increased reading comprehension; increased student achievement overall; a closing of achievement gaps; wide dissemination of findings; revised definitions and measures of teacher effectiveness; increased percentages of principals, teachers and staff members participating in coherent professional development opportunities; increased parental involvement; and improved assessments that more accurately reflect ELLs' learning trajectories.

A total of 5,200 students in eight middle schools will be directly impacted by the project. Once CSR Colorado is integrated into the curriculum districtwide, more than 10,000 additional students will be served. This number will grow in the years following the grant period.

Description of Evaluation:

The CSR Colorado program evaluation will employ a rigorous experimental design that mirrors the teachers-as-own-controls experimental design used in a CSR study by the Institute of Education Sciences. A qualified external evaluator will be hired to design and carry out an independent evaluation of the project.

Project Evaluator:



SRI International

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Last Modified: 08/10/2011