Boulder Valley School District



File: IKE (pdf)
Adopted: February 26, 1987  
Revised: August 24, 1995, April 23, 1998, November 9, 2004, May 12, 2015

Associated Regulation: IKE-R


It is the intent of the Boulder Valley Schools to provide the most appropriate academic environment and to promote students annually.  However, under certain circumstances a student may be retained or may be accelerated. Because each student brings a unique background to the school setting, the decision to retain or accelerate must reflect all of the circumstances surrounding the student's progress in school. Schools will provide reasonable student interventions and supports. As a matter of practice, students shall only be retained once during their school career. Additionally, acceleration shall be utilized in accordance to the student’s needs. In all cases, placement of the student will be in the most appropriate academic environment.

Retention Process and Considerations

English Language Learners
Retention of English Language Learners may not occur based solely on language proficiency in English. Instructional strategies, materials and assessments must be differentiated to address the English Language Learners’ needs prior to consideration of grade retention.  Retention may not be used if instructional strategies, materials, assessments have not been differentiated to meet their linguistic needs. Decisions must include a collaborative approach/committee and it must include an English Language Development Teacher. English Language Learners who have been in an English language development program for fewer than two years should not be considered for retention. Parents/guardians must be informed in a language and format they can understand.

Students with Individual Education Plans (IEP)
An IEP team does not make a grade placement decision; rather, it is a general education decision made by following the procedures set out in this policy and accompanying regulation. (See: Policy IGBA)  Information about a student can and should be gathered from parents/guardians as well as any and all staff who support the student for the consideration of retention or acceleration.  Special Education staff shall be a part of the conversations to share during the retention/acceleration determination process.

Elementary Level
Retention is defined as having a student repeat the same grade for a second year. Retention is only appropriate when there is reasonable assurance that the student will benefit from the decision. The decision is made as a result of a process that involves the collection and consideration of information regarding academic, cognitive, social/emotional, and physical development of the student.  Consideration for retention may only occur after multiple efforts to intervene have proven ineffective. The recommendation to change the typical order of progress shall be made following consideration by a team that includes parents/guardians and school personnel, and the student when appropriate. After consulting with the student’s parents/guardians, teacher and other professional staff, the principal, in consultation with the assistant superintendent, shall determine whether it is in the best interest of the student to be retained for such reasons. The principal shall communicate the recommendation to the assistant superintendent and together they determine whether to retain or promote the student.  

The procedure to retain a student in kindergarten, first, second or third grade due to the student’s significant reading deficiency shall be in accordance with the READ Act. It is the policy of the Boulder Valley School District that retention for any reason, including significant reading deficiency, is the decision of the school principal in consultation with the assistant superintendent.

Middle Level
The curriculum in middle schools is constructed as nearly as possible to permit students to proceed from year to year in classes designed to meet their needs and abilities.  Upon the recommendation of the principal, a student will be promoted to the next grade in school at the end of the school year if he or she has not failed more than two academic subjects.  Subjects failed must be made up through arrangements with the principal as appropriate.

There are some conditions that may make it desirable for a student to remain in the middle school environment or to be placed in the high school environment.  This may be done upon the recommendation of the middle school and high school principals and in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians, teachers and other professional staff.  The principal and the assistant superintendent together shall determine whether it is in the best interests of the student to be retained for such reasons.  The district will provide appropriate and reasonable supports to ensure student success in academic areas.

High School
All students must meet graduation requirements. In order to meet graduation requirements, students may make-up missing requirements through arrangements with the school counselor(s) and/or principal in consultation with the student’s teacher(s). (See Graduation Requirements Policy IKF) Interventions will be applied as soon as possible to provide support for struggling students.


A student who is accelerated will be one whose needs cannot be met in his or her present placement.  A student may be accelerated in subject area or grade placement when a preponderance of evidence indicates that his or her levels of academic achievement, social, emotional, physical, and /or cognitive development would indicate that a higher grade placement, either full or part-time, would be more appropriate in order for the student to be successful.  The process involves the principal, teacher(s), parent(s)/guardian(s), Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership, and other school personnel as appropriate. A student may be accelerated in a subject area or grade placement at any time with consideration of the most appropriate transition time and when adequate supports are in place.  

Many sources of information and data (also known as "a body of evidence") will be used for decision-making and may include an observation period, teacher-made and/or standardized assessments, input from the counselor, and/or interview(s) with the student and parent(s)/guardian(s).  A preponderance of evidence must indicate that the student has mastered current standards across content areas and the new placement is the most appropriate academic environment. The Office of Student Success may be a resource in assisting with assessments.  

Appeal Process

If the parent/guardian disagrees with a decision regarding retention or acceleration of his/her student, then the parent/guardian may appeal the decision in writing to the superintendent. The superintendent’s decision shall be final.

IGA, Basic Instructional Program
IGBA, Programs for Handicapped Students (Special Education)
IHBB-R, Programs for Gifted Students
IKF, Graduation Requirements (Applicable for the Classes of 2017-2020)

C.R.S. 22-32-109 (1)(hh)
C.R.S. 22-7-1207 Read Act

AE, Accountability/Commitment to Accomplishment
IA, Instructional Goals
IKA-IKAA-IKAB, Grading Systems/Final Examinations/Student Progress Reports to Parents
JEC-4, School Admissions (Regulation)
JEC-R E1, Early Access Exhibit
JECD, Assignment of Transfer Students to Classes and Grade Levels

End of File: IKE