Project Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis has had an enormous impact operationally, educationally, and economically on P-12 school districts, charter schools, and institutions of higher education, as well as students, parents, and families. To address the learning challenges related to the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19 and promote innovation, Colorado is awarding $40 million in grants to educational institutions using federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds. The Colorado Lab is supporting several awardees in moving their programs along the steps to building evidence to ensure that these new and innovative approaches grow to be effective in improving student and family outcomes. Additionally, the Lab is working to ensure that lessons learned from these efforts are documented and communicated to other schools who might benefit from similar approaches. 

Agencies: 

Colorado Governor’s Office

Research Partners: 

University of Denver, Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab

Centennial BOCES, the state’s largest Migrant Education Program, serves immigrant and migrant families across northern Colorado. RISE funds are supporting the development and implementation of three-pronged Project READY. READY for Technology focuses on increasing internet access and building adult learners technology and English language skills. READY for School focuses on building parental self-efficacy to support young children’s language acquisition and preschool readiness. READY for Graduation focuses on near-peer mentoring, paring high school students with first-generation college students to build skills and connections.

Montrose County School District (Montrose, Olathe and surrounding areas) is using RISE funds to establish a comprehensive Student Wellness and Engagement (SWE) program, building a tiered system of supports to ensure students have their social-emotional needs met. The first year has focused on working with six elementary schools to develop referral and support systems to increase access to preventive services and mental health resources. SWE is grounded in a philosophical shift in the way staff respond to behavior (from punitive to restorative). By focusing on addressing the root causes of disengagement, these efforts are designed to improve student engagement and academic persistence.

This project involves nine Denver-area charter schools, representing six non-profit organizations (AUL Denver, Colorado High School Charter, Academy 360, Girls Athletic Leadership Schools, RiseUp Community School, and Highline Academy). Each is working to mitigate the academic and social-emotional impacts of COVID-19 by delivering summer programs that include academic, social-emotional, and experiential components as well as opportunities for mental health support and strategies to engage families. School leaders are coming together as they are building their programs to learn from each other, reflect on successes and challenges, and collaboratively problem solve.

A Toolkit to Support the Design and Implementation of K-12 Summer Programs: Learning from Six Denver-area Charter Schools

Denver-area Charter Schools: Infusing Social-Emotional Learning into Summer Programs

Academy 360 Elementary School

Highline Academy Elementary School

RiseUp Community School

AUL Denver High School

Colorado High School

Girls Athletic Leadership Schools of Denver

Five school districts in southwest Colorado, Fort Lewis College, and Pueblo Community College are creating two new career pathways targeting first generation, rural, low income, Native American, and diverse learners in the region’s high schools: Building Trades (through Pueblo CC) and Environmental Science (through Fort Lewis). The Building Trades pathway will ensure that graduates are able to immediately enter the local workforce and earn a living wage. The Environmental Science pathway will inspire students interested in science and climate change to develop passions leading to collegiate and career success. Mobile learning labs will facilitate program access.

Related Resources

Evaluation of Support Provided by the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab to Recipients of Colorado’s RISE Education Fund
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