The Colorado State Board of Education just voted to focus the $132 million in federal COVID-relief funding toward strategies to re-engage students and accelerate learning.
Colorado’s plan includes:
- $30 million to support high-dosage tutoring, summer school, as well as before- and after-school programs,
- $25 million for high-risk students, tribal nations, and special education students,
- $10 million to $12 million for high-quality instruction materials,
- $15 million for Career and Technical Education,
- $7 million to $10 million in state infrastructure for data collection, grant management, and program evaluation, and
- $5 million for educator professional development.
This year’s Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) results reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant student learning loss and exacerbated gaps in achievement for students of color and low-income students. High school students also fell behind on graduation requirements and college and career readiness, with many failing or nearly failing courses this year.
Colorado Succeeds joined 20 school districts and education partners in advocating for work-based learning and career exploration as key strategies to re-engage high school students. This approach makes coursework relevant to post-secondary career opportunities and encourages the development of transferrable, essential skills to help students explore career options and encourage re-engagement.
In a letter to the State Board, the coalition urged the state to invest in strategies to address high school disengagement by:
- Prioritizing career-connected learning,
- Supporting regional partnerships and collaboration,
- Expanding seat-time flexibility to encourage and facilitate learning outside the classroom,
- Increasing flexibility in community college service areas to encourage concurrent enrollment, and
- Incentivizing blended learning and schedule flexibility.
Colorado Succeeds applauds the State Board for taking bold action to invest in strategies and programs that are valued by students and support their long-term success.
We strongly support the investment in high-dosage tutoring, summer school, before and after-school programs to address learning needs, as well as the investment in career connected learning to re-engage high school students.