A Brief History of CO ASCD
CO ASCD is a professional education organization for educators in Colorado. We have a small and hard-working board of directors who partner with like-minded organizations and individuals to further our mission and vision ultimately to benefit each Colorado learner – whether they are a student, teacher, or community member.
CO ASCD is reinventing how we serve its members. We are reinventing the traditional hierarchical approach by teaming with all types of organizations and businesses. CO ASCD is finding and developing common interests inside and outside education, connecting with a variety of organizations and businesses.
Today’s CO ASCD experience is filled with networking opportunities and innovative events and resources. We pride ourselves in our ability to bring together the most significant and effective tools from a variety of organizations to equip Colorado educators with what they need.
CO ASCD was incorporated on August 30, 1991 as a non-profit corporation in Colorado. CO ASCD is a state affiliate of ASCD, an international non-profit education organization and has remained in good standing with the state of Colorado to this day. The organization membership had dwindled in the early 2000s, and in the 2010s, CO ASCD became dormant for a few years. In 2013, following an informal networking event at a regional conference, educator interest in re-launching the organization was gauged, and a team of enthusiastic educators gathered in October that year, committed to leadership roles, and created a plan to move forward with a new vision, mission, and strategic plan. This group of volunteers created a vision and mission that breathed new life into the organization: The CO ASCD mission and vision have guided our organization in everything we do, and they guide all of our communications, programs, projects, activities and strategies.
Who We Serve
CO ASCD is representative of the educators of Colorado. We continue to seek membership of all Colorado educators so that our impact and support can be felt and seen in every classroom by every student in the state.
In 2016, we came to the realization that we didn’t want this organization to be funded solely through membership dues, which the teachers whom we hoped to serve could not easily afford to pay. We wanted to be able to provide resources and support for all educators in the state, regardless of membership. A long-term plan was formulated, and our first action was to give a full year of free membership to all administrators in the state of Colorado, with the hope of building a relationship and trust so that they may see the value of our work and support membership for their teachers. A good number of these administrators have chosen to continue their membership and support teachers as members as well. From this, we developed four tiers of membership plan with corresponding benefits, regular membership, premium membership, institutional membership and partner. A key and innovative part of this plan was providing a means for “partners” to join through a donation of any size. This has opened up our ability to communicate and share resources with a larger number of educators in the state. Through continued growth and innovation, CO ASCD now serves 2065 members and partners through its community partnerships, programs, professional learning, resources, and advocacy. Approximately 200 are professional, dues-paying members of the organization annually.
Niche: Teacher Leadership
During strategic planning in 2017, we sought to further understand our membership needs, and also to determine our niche to remain laser-focused on achieving our mission and vision. In assessing the other organizations in the state who serve educators, and also evaluating the best research-based approach to achieve our vision and mission, the CO ASCD board realized that focusing our efforts for professional growth on development and growth of teacher-leaders would provide a viable and innovative path to achieve our mission and vision, while helping a group of educators in Colorado who were not currently being served by other professional organizations. Thus, our focus on providing advocacy and resources for teacher leadership began in earnest.
CO ASCD Practices
The CO ASCD Board meets monthly online using Zoom software. Board members are located across the state in various regions of Colorado. We are a working board, meaning everyone contributes by serving as members or in some cases leading our committees, working on our products, designing professional learning, workshops, and contributing our knowledge and skills to support the work of our partner organizations, such as the Colorado Dept. of Education and Belouga. This work is usually done by individual or small groups of CO ASCD members using our subscription to Zoom. When it is necessary to meet face to face, the CO ASCD budget covers minimal expenses involved in those meetings for travel and supplies, unless our partner organizations fund these expenses..
The professional development and work with our parent organization, ASCD, occasionally requires CO ASCD members to attend national face-to-face meetings and leadership conferences. A small portion of the CO ASCD budget is reserved to cover travel expenses for CO ASCD members who request funds to defray travel costs to attend these events. Each individual who receives funding to attend a conference must be approved by a majority vote of the board of directors.
Programs, Projects, & Activities of CO ASCD
“The Promise of Hope” Four Corners Conference
In 2014, CO ASCD was invited to collaborate with ASCD affiliate organizations in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico to plan a conference to focus on strategies for early intervention, geared to provide professional learning for early childhood educators in our four states. This was a huge undertaking for our newly re-launched organization, but a great opportunity to build and support our membership. The conference was held on September 11 & 12, 2015 in Farmington, New Mexico, featuring expert speakers and breakout sessions. The focus was on building upon the strengths a child presents and meeting them where they are to build bridges to future knowledge, taking into consideration native languages, addressing issues of poverty and health, and reaching the needs of the whole child and family. CO ASCD members served in various roles in the planning and delivery of the conference, from advertising for and selecting speakers to budgeting, logistics, marketing, and technology support. After expenses, proceeds were shared among the organizations involved in the planning according to a profit share agreement based on the amount of support provided by each of the organizations.