As you have likely seen, we have been celebrating key legislative wins for Colorado’s students, educators, and families after our 2022 legislative session.

Every one of our top priority bills have been signed into law by Governor Polis! We could not have done this work without you – the parents, educators, and community members who contacted lawmakers, signed petitions and delivered testimony at the Capitol! 

We’re excited to share with you this year’s legislative celebration video and encourage you to take a few minutes to hear directly from some of the amazing educators and parents who engaged this session! You can watch the video here.

P.S. You can support our work to center community voice at the Capitol during next year’s legislative session by making a donation today! Your donation supports interpretation services, community workshops, and more! Donate here

Your Voice at the Capitol  

This legislative session, we prioritized bills to ensure principals and administrators are trained in the science of reading, remove barriers to expanding and diversifying our educator workforce, fund Colorado schools equitably, and update policies for safer and more supportive schools and communities.  

But we could not do this without you – the parents, educators, and community members who showed your support and took action to ensure these critical bills passed.   

This legislative session parents, educators, and community members sent more than 5,500 emails to lawmakers and delivered 16 testimonies at the Capitol. 

Why It Matters 

We deeply believe that policy making is most effective when the voices of those impacted are at the center of decision making.   

During a House Education Committee hearing, a representative said he would be changing his vote to support our bill after hearing testimony from Megan Bobroske, an educator who joined us to testify in support of SB22-004 Evidence-based Training in Science of Reading.  

This is why it matters. Your action and your voice changes outcomes. Thank you for standing for students, educators, and families in the 2022 legislative session.  

Read more about what we accomplished together on our rundown of this year’s legislative wins.  

Learn More 

New limits on student seclusion, restraint pass Colorado legislature [Chalkbeat]   

More than a million Coloradans could have criminal records automatically sealed under proposed bill [Colorado Newsline] 

Student teachers are rarely paid. Colorado lawmakers, school leaders want to ensure they’re compensated. [Colorado Sun] 

Three ways Colorado school funding could change this year [Chalkbeat] 

Our Top 5

Highlighting this quarter’s work

We Need a Holistic Approach to Education Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela Kaspar, testifies in support of HB22-1376 

Create Environements for People to Thrive Stand Advocacy Fellow, Natalie Perez, testifies in support of SB22-099   

Traditional Pathways Are Creating Barriers Brooke Sassi, Literacy Interventionist, testifies in support of HB22-1220 

Why I’ve Seen Massive Early Literacy Gains in My Classroom Megan Bobroske, 2nd grade teacher, testifies in support of SB22-004    

In Their Words

Hear from parents, educators, and community members 

“Teachers are working hard to apply Science of Reading in their classrooms. Having administrators and principals trained in Science of Reading as well creates a collaborative, supportive school environment where readers thrive.”

-Megan Bobroske, 2nd Grade Teacher   

“There is a need for a holistic approach to education, where the wellbeing and growth of teachers, caregivers, support staff and scholars are just as important as standardized test scores. Caregivers need resources to assist with addressing problematic behaviors, and as numerous studies have shown, the emotional quotient is as imperative as an intelligence quotient.”

Pamela Kaspar, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow 

Join Us 

We need your support to continue our work. 

DONATE

Donate here to ensure we can continue to center parent, educator, and community voice at the Capitol in 2023! 

Welcome to the June edition of “This Month at the DPS Board”, a monthly newsletter sharing information about the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education.   

Our goal is simple: to share what is happening at school board meetings so you can engage with the board and the district even if you cannot attend hours of meetings every month. 

Note: The DPS Board of Directors is off for the month of July so we will resume our coverage following the August meetings.  

Work Session – June 2, 2022  

LGBTQ+ History Presentation 

In honor of Pride Month, two DPS high school students presented an overview of LGBTQ+ history and the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion in DPS curriculums and schools.  

DMLK Student Presentation: African American Library 

Students from DMLK spoke about their trip to Washington D.C. and shared reflections on their experience and asked the district to commit to ensuring thorough inclusion of African American history in DPS schools by upholding and ensuring implementation of the Know Justice Know Peace Resolution. 

Declining Enrollment Committee Presentation and Discussion 

Superintendent Marrero and district staff presented an update on the district’s Declining Enrollment Advisory Committee work. First, the presentation covered the impact that declining enrollment has on students, teachers, and leaders in DPS such as insufficient opportunities for student interventions, teachers teaching multiple grade levels, lack of mental health/student supports, staff turnover and cutting programs. The Committee’s recommendations for criteria to identify schools for potential consolidation are outlined below.  

Declining Enrollment Advisory Committee Recommendations  

The Committee proposed three criteria for identifying Elementary and Middle Schools that are potential candidates for consolidation. Any school identified by one or more of these criteria is considered a potential candidate for consolidation. 

Criteria 1: Identify District-run schools with critically low enrollment  

Criteria 1 identifies District schools with critically low enrollment that are unable to provide quality programming without budget assistance or external sources of funding. Any District Elementary or Middle School with fewer than 215 students (not including ECE students) is considered a potential candidate for consolidation with neighboring schools.  

Criteria 2: Proactively Identifying District-run Schools with Declining Enrollment  

Criteria 2 proactively identifies District schools that are declining in enrollment before they enter a state of critically low enrollment. Any District Elementary or Middle School with fewer than 275 students and projecting an approximately 8-10% reduction over the next 2 years is considered a potential candidate for consolidation with neighboring schools.  

Criteria 3: Financially Insolvent Charter Schools  

Criteria 3 identifies Charter schools that are failing to remain financially solvent. Any Charter Elementary or Middle school that is not financially solvent for two or more years and identified as “High Risk” according to their Financial Performance Framework (FPF) and the Enrollment sub-section to be considered. 

Equity Guardrails 

If a school is identified as a potential candidate for consolidation, it then moves to the next phase where all three equity guardrails must be satisfied. Additionally, a community-centered process for designing healthy consolidation plan must be in place.  

Equity Guardrails:  

  • Ensuring Appropriate Programming for Students with Unique Needs  
  • Providing Access  
  • Promoting Equity 

The Committee also made recommendations for implementation  

  • Preserving programming 
  • Considering consolidation radius  
  • Identifying adequate facilities 
  • Providing clarity of timelines 
  • Honoring school choice and retaining families in DPS  

The board discussed the proposal identifying questions and concerns including the consideration of charter partner engagement, academic considerations, and plans to communicate with the DPS community.  

Community Engagement Planning 

Director Quattlebaum and Director Baldermann presented an overview of the proposed Community Engagement Governance Policy which aims to ensure the Denver Public Schools Board of Directors has a sustainable connection to the community in alignment with district Board Policies. 

The board is expected to vote on whether to adopt the policy by the end of the summer.  

Updates/Presentation of Healthy Start Times Committee Work & Discussion 

In April 2021, the DPS Board of Education passed the Healthy Start Times Resolution stating that all middle schools and high schools (district-managed and charters) start no earlier than 8:20 a.m. each school day to support healthy sleep habits in adolescents. Multiple studies have demonstrated the benefits of changing to a later school start time including better academic outcomes, better attendance rates, higher graduation rates, less depression, and fewer car crashes.  

The Committee began community engagement in October 2021 to collect information on opportunities, concerns, and support needed. The committee collected feedback from 12,000 community members, primarily via survey. New Healthy Start Times were shared in May 2022 to “allow ample time for families to plan for 23-24 School Choice”. The current focus is on school specific mitigation and implementation planning and the Committee will continue to collect leader feedback and support highly impacted stakeholders.  

Transportation Impact of Healthy Start Times  

Schools that will have full transportation cuts beginning 2023-2024 include Denison Montessori, Denver Language School, Polaris, STRIVE- Sunnyside.  

Denver School of the Arts will only receive service to the Far Northeast region.  

Morey Middle School will maintain Highly Gifted and Talented transportation services in the Southwest, Central, and Far Northeast regions and will maintain general education and special education routing as well.  

Shuttle service will not be impacted. Schools not serviced by DPS transportation will be able to select bell times for the 23/24 Choice window.  

District 5 Vacancy Discussion 

Board members discussed priorities for selecting the candidate for the district 5 vacancy including a commitment to equity, Black Excellence plans and the Know Justice Know Peace resolution. Additionally, board members stated a desire for the candidate to demonstrate a willingness to collaborate to implement policy governance and to build a relationship with Dr. Marrero and district staff.  

The board discussed individual candidates and shared strengths and concerns about each.  

Focus on Achievement – June 6, 2022 

Strategic Regional Analysis 

Staff presented the Strategic Regional Analysis (SRA), which represents what is happening across the district in terms of enrollment and school capacity. Overall, enrollment is forecast to continue to decline through 2026 and likely to continue beyond. This year’s SRA includes census data, which is unique. This decline in enrollment started in 2014 and has continued due to “slowing birth rates” and increasing housing costs leading to smaller household size. These factors lead to smaller elementary enrollment and then declines at the middle and high school levels as those students move through the system. According to the SRA, a growing proportion of DPS students are white, while the percentage of Hispanic students has steadily declined. The percentage of Black and other minority students has remained steady. Any growth expected is in the northern part of Central Park and the DIA Gateway area.  

Multilingual Education District-Wide Advisory Committee (MLE-DAC)  

The Multilingual Education District-wide Advisory Committee (MLE DAC) meets monthly and provides a forum for parents whose children speak a language other than English to learn how DPS is supporting their children and other multilingual learners. Multilingual councils should exist at the school level as well. There are 205 languages spoken throughout DPS. The top eight most spoken languages are provided interpretation services as standard practice and interpretation is available in other languages as requested.  

Superintendent Update: DPS Thrives  

Dr. Marrero presented an update on the strategic plan, which is being called DPS Thrives and is framed as a roadmap. The process of developing the roadmap has been done in three phases: phase one was the listening and learning tour, phase two was engagement with the transition team to develop recommendations, and phase three is developing the next “strategic roadmap.” The goal is to finalize this roadmap by early summer 2022. The updated mission statement for DPS is informed by their equity statement and is as follows:  

Educational equity is our collective responsibility. We prepare students for career, college, and life. We create conditions and partnerships where students, families and team members belong and thrive.  

Emergency Procedures Communications  

Staff presented emergency or crisis situation communication protocols. There are three communications protocols that are used depending on the situation and timing.  

School Board Meeting – June 9, 2022 

The board honored Director Reverend Brad Laurvick’s as it was his last meeting as part of the board. A resolution to select a replacement was voted on and Charmaine Lindsay was selected to fill the District 5 vacancy.  

Executive Limitations 12 Revisions 

Revisions for Executive Limitation (EL) 12 were read. EL 12 allows for more flexibility for innovation schools and their contracts. There was discussion about the viability of passing this revision, but the board voted to hold discussion and the 2nd reading until the next board meeting on June 16.  

Consent Agenda 

The board voted to deny three charter school applications, STEM, 5280, and RAAD. STEM was denied prior to public comment but 5280 and RAAD were held for after public comment. 5280 was denied because of questions around “viability” and even though the board agreed that RAAD’s arts programing is needed in the district, they voted to deny the school with the suggestion to add this type of programing to an already existing district school.  

Board Retreat – June 16, 2022 

Community Engagement 

The board stated a commitment to ensure a variety of voices are heard in decision making, explain to the community their role as board members and opportunities for the board to hear concerns. Board members shared ideas about ways to incorporate this work including holding recurring community meetings or visiting schools.   

Public Comment Discussion 

The board considered a draft proposal around changing where monthly public comment occurs (GP.15). If passed, these changes would go into effect for the September board meeting. Currently, public comment happens during the monthly board meeting and the board is working to adjust the timing, so they have a gap between public comment and voting during the board meeting.  

This proposal would shift public comment to the Monday prior to the monthly board meeting. It was suggested during the retreat that the “Focus on Achievement” meeting be renamed to be called “Public Comment and Progress Monitoring” meeting. Public comment would still take place in person (with access to free parking) and virtually to allow individuals to determine what works best for them. Board members also discussed how to remove barriers for students to engage. They are considering allowing students to submit a recorded public comment for board members to watch prior to the meeting. 

Special Board Meeting – June 16, 2022 

The board voted to approve the EL 12 Revision, closing the board’s 2021-2022 fiscal year.  

The board is officially off for the month of July and will reconvene for the new year in August.  

Engage with the Board

Do you want to let the board know your thoughts on any of these topics? You can sign up for public comment and speak directly to the board about what matters to you. You can sign up here

We are shattered. Again. Gun violence has cruelly and senselessly taken the lives of children and their teachers in a place that is supposed to be safe: their classroom. Our words feel hollow, so we are sharing resources to help you support your children right now.  

Resources to Talk to Children: 

photos of Stand Advocacy during the 2022 legislative session

At Stand for Children Colorado, we advocate for policy solutions in the areas of early literacy, high school success, and safe and supportive schools and communities. 

This legislative session, we prioritized bills to ensure principals and administrators are trained in the science of reading, to remove barriers to expanding and diversifying our educator workforce, to fund Colorado schools equitably, and to update policies for safer and more supportive schools and communities.  

We deeply believe that policy making is most effective when the voices of those impacted are at the center of decision making. This legislative session parents, educators, and community members sent 5,500 emails to lawmakers and delivered 16 testimonies at the Capitol. 

Read on to learn more about our top five priority bills!  

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students 

HB22-1376 updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. Those updates include:  

  • Updating restraint and seclusion policies and ending practices that have been shown to harm students. 
  • Requiring better data collection on disciplinary incidents and indicators of school climate. 
  • Promoting best practices and proper training for school security staff.  

The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

In Chalkbeat’s recent article, Stand Executive Director, Krista Spurgin said, “This is a game-changing first step in making sure we know what experiences our students are having in school, including restraints, including discipline… There is work ahead of us, but the data we’re collecting here will give us a transparent view of how we need to support our schools and our teachers and our students differently.”  

“There is a need for a holistic approach to education, where the wellbeing and growth of teachers, caregivers, support staff and scholars are just as important as standardized test scores. Caregivers need resources to assist with addressing problematic behaviors, and as numerous studies have shown, the emotional quotient is as imperative as an intelligence quotient.” Pamela Kaspar, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow

HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation 

HB22-1220 will remove barriers in educator preparation to support teacher candidates entering the workforce by: 

  • supporting teacher candidates by paying them for their student teaching work,  
  • removing financial barriers by paying for teacher exam fees,  
  • expanding pathways to licensure by allowing multiple ways to demonstrate competency. 

We are proud to have championed HB22-1220 this year because we see it as a pathway to increasing teacher diversity in Colorado. We believe that removing financial barriers and increasing pathways to licensure will ensure a more diverse educator workforce, which is critical for all of Colorado’s students to experience just and supportive schools. 

The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

“The traditional pathways to teaching are creating artificial barriers to BIPOC teacher candidates from entering the profession in greater numbers. Unpaid student teaching is another barrier that reduces the diversity of the teaching force, requiring some students to take on second and third jobs in their attempts to satisfy the requirements of their programs. Addressing these issues would remove some of the barriers that are keeping Colorado schools from diversifying their teaching staff.” Brooke Sassi, Literacy Interventionist    

HB22-1202 At-risk Student Measure For School Finance 

HB22-1202 makes important updates to the way schools are funded in Colorado, giving us an opportunity to ensure the students who need support the most can get.

The school finance formula allocates targeted investments for our students and communities living in poverty and experiencing the most barriers to opportunity using the at-risk factor in the funding formula. HB22-1202 expands the at-risk factor by identifying students at-risk based on enrollment in public benefit programs and census block data. These updates help make sure we fund our schools more equitably. 

HB22-1202 was signed into law by Governor Polis! 

“The reality is that different students have different needs. [HB22-1202] expands the way we identify those who may need more targeted support to be successful in their education and will ensure that we fund our schools more equitably.” Tina Carroll, parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow 

SB22-004 Evidence-based Training In Science of Reading 

SB22-004 will ensure principals and administrators who oversee K-3 teachers will be trained in the science of reading. Over 30 years of research shows that there are scientifically backed ways to teach students to read. Principals and administrators should be trained with the most up-to-date, research-based knowledge of how students learn to read so that they can support teachers in effectively utilizing the science of reading in their literacy instruction.   

The bill passed out of the Senate and the House and has been sent to the Governor for signature!  

“Teachers are working hard to apply Science of Reading in their classrooms. Having administrators and principals trained in Science of Reading as well creates a collaborative, supportive school environment where readers thrive.” Megan Bobroske, 2nd Grade Teacher  

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records 

SB22-099 will automatically seal the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense if the person has completed their sentence, completed a waiting period of several years, and has not committed another criminal offense.  

Nearly a third of Colorado’s population is currently listed in state databases as having a criminal record. Many have no criminal history beyond a single, low-level, and non-violent offense. Removing barriers to housing and employment equips everyone with the opportunity to provide for their families and become more productive citizens. When people are better positioned to care for and provide for themselves and their children, all Coloradans benefit.   

The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

“I have seen how friends and family members cannot find homes to live in because of having criminal records. Many come out of prison with high hopes, ready to make a better life for themselves and when they try to get a job, they are turned down because of their past…We need to allow them to make a better life for themselves, and by passing this bill we will do just that.” Natalie Perez, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow  

At the Capitol 

We are incredibly grateful to the parents, educators, and community leaders who testified at the Capitol this session. Thank you for sharing your perspectives and experiences to ensure that lawmakers act in alignment with the needs of those most impacted.  

Don’t miss these powerful testimonies in support of our top priority bills!  

We Need a Holistic Approach to Education Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela Kaspar, testifies in support of HB22-1376 

Create Environements for People to Thrive Stand Advocacy Fellow, Natalie Perez, testifies in support of SB22-099   

Removing Insurmountable Barriers Stand Advocacy Fellow, Theresa Newsom, testifies in support of HB22-1220 

We Need Diversified Educators Asia Zanders, U.S. Government and Social Studies teacher and parent, testifies in support of HB22-1220 

Traditional Pathways Are Creating Barriers Brooke Sassi, Literacy Interventionist, testifies in support of HB22-1220 

I’ve Never Seen Growth Like This Before Molly Veliz, instructional coach and early literacy teacher, testifies in support of SB22-004 

Real Results For My Scholars Laura Haller, special education teacher, testifies in support of SB22-004 

Why I’ve Seen Massive Early Literacy Gains in My Classroom Megan Bobroske, 2nd grade teacher, testifies in support of SB22-004       

In the Media  

We are proud to have been featured in Chalkbeat’s reporting this legislative session and are grateful for their work keeping Coloradans informed of some of the most pressing issues facing Colorado’s students, educators, and families.  

New limits on student seclusion, restraint pass Colorado legislature [Chalkbeat]  

Executive Director Krista Spurgin celebrated the passage of HB22-1376 saying, “This is a game-changing first step in making sure we know what experiences our students are having in school, including restraints, including discipline… There is work ahead of us, but the data we’re collecting here will give us a transparent view of how we need to support our schools and our teachers and our students differently.” 

Colorado bill seeks changes to school discipline, less use of seclusion and restraint [Chalkbeat] 

Executive Director Krista Spurgin shared why Stand championed HB22-1376 saying, “We want to set kids up for success…If kids are constantly getting in trouble or being told they’re a troublemaker or even getting arrested, you start to see that cycle repeat itself.” 

Colorado bill to improve school climate, limit seclusion and restraint advances [Chalkbeat]  

Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela Kaspar, testified in support of HB22-1376 sharing her experience with her son’s suspensions not being documented, “Had that documentation been provided for us, it would have painted a very grim picture of what the school’s discipline policy looked like, and we would have picked a different school for him sooner.” 

Her 11-year-old son, Tristin, also testified saying, “I hope this bill passes…So then kids like me, who are afraid of having the same experience as I did, they don’t have to, and they can have a school that is justice.” 

Science of reading training may be required for Colorado principals [Chalkbeat] 

Instructional coach and literacy teacher, Molly Veliz, joined Stand to share her testimony in support of SB22-004 saying, “School leaders make decisions about budgets, hiring, curriculum, spending, on and on. If they don’t fully understand, or even believe in the science of reading, that thinking impacts their decisions.” 

2nd grade teacher, Megan Bobroske, also joined Stand to testify in support of SB22-004 saying, “Principals and administrators need to be aware and knowledgeable in best practices in literacy instruction, in order to support, mentor, lead, and coach their teachers well.” 

For More Information  

Read the following articles to learn more about our top priority bills!  

More than a million Coloradans could have criminal records automatically sealed under proposed bill [Colorado Newsline] 

Student teachers are rarely paid. Colorado lawmakers, school leaders want to ensure they’re compensated. [Colorado Sun] 

Three ways Colorado school funding could change this year [Chalkbeat]

Welcome to this year’s final edition of Capitol Week in Review, our weekly update on policy at the Capitol! Wednesday, May 11 marked the end of Colorado’s 2022 legislative session, and we are excited to share updates on our top priority bills this session!  

A special thanks to Sen. Jeff Bridges, Sen. Bob Rankin, Rep. Cathy Kipp, Rep. Barbara McLachlan, Sen. Don Coram, Sen. Dennis Hisey, Sen. Robert Rodriguez, Rep. Kerry Tipper, Rep. Colin Larson, Rep. Leslie Herod, Rep. Julie McCluskie, Sen. James Coleman, Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, Rep. Mary Young, Sen. Kevin Priola, and Sen. Faith Winter who sponsored our top priority bills. Thank you for standing for Colorado’s students, educators, and families.  

Early Literacy

Senate Bill 22-004 Evidence-based Training in Science of Reading 

SB22-004 will ensure principals and administrators who oversee K-3 teachers will be trained in the science of reading. 

Status: The bill passed out of the Senate and the House and has been sent to the Governor for signature!  

Next step: It is waiting to be signed into law by the Governor. We will keep you updated!  

“Teachers are working hard to apply Science of Reading in their classrooms. Having administrators and principals trained in Science of Reading as well creates a collaborative, supportive school environment where readers thrive.” Megan Bobroske, 2nd Grade Teacher, testified in support of SB22-004   

Just and Supportive Schools and Communities 

House Bill 22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation 

HB22-1220 will remove barriers in educator preparation to support educator candidates entering the workforce. 

Status: The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature!  

Next Step: It is waiting to be signed into law by the Governor. We will keep you updated! 

“The traditional pathways to teaching are creating artificial barriers to BIPOC teacher candidates from entering the profession in greater numbers. Unpaid student teaching is another barrier that reduces the diversity of the teaching force, requiring some students to take on second and third jobs in their attempts to satisfy the requirements of their programs. Addressing these issues would remove some of the barriers that are keeping Colorado schools from diversifying their teaching staff.” Brooke Sassi, Literacy Interventionist, testified in support of HB22-1220     

Senate Bill 22-099 Sealing Criminal Records 

SB22-099 will automatically seal the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense if the person has completed their sentence, completed a waiting period of several years, and has not committed another criminal offense. 

Status: The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

Next Step: It is waiting to be signed into law by the Governor. We will keep you updated!  

“I have seen how friends and family members cannot find homes to live in because of having criminal records. Many come out of prison with high hopes, ready to make a better life for themselves and when they try to get a job, they are turned down because of their past…We need to allow them to make a better life for themselves, and by passing this bill we will do just that.” Natalie Perez, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow, testified in support of SB22-099   

House Bill 22-1202 At-risk Student Measure For School Finance 

HB22-1202 expands the at-risk factor by identifying students at-risk based on enrollment in public benefit programs and census block data. 

Status: HB22-1202 was signed into law by Governor Polis!  

“The reality is that different students have different needs. [HB22-1202] expands the way we identify those who may need more targeted support to be successful in their education and will ensure that we fund our schools more equitably.” Tina Carroll, parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow, testified in support of HB22-1202 

House Bill 22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students 

HB22-1376 updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. 

Status: The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

Next Step: It is waiting to be signed into law by the Governor. We will keep you updated! 

“There is a need for a holistic approach to education, where the wellbeing and growth of teachers, caregivers, support staff and scholars are just as important as standardized test scores. Caregivers need resources to assist with addressing problematic behaviors, and as numerous studies have shown, the emotional quotient is as imperative as an intelligence quotient.” Pamela Kaspar, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow, testified in supoprt of HB22-1376 

Other key bills we supported 

HB22-1064 Prohibit Flavored Tobacco Regulate Synthetic Nicotine, which prohibits flavored tobacco, was postponed indefinitely.  

HB22-1131 Reduce Justice-involvement For Young Children passed out of the House and Senate and is off to the Governor for signature! The bill will create a taskforce to study the prosecution of children ages 10 – 12.   

HB22-1260 Access To Medically Necessary Services For Students passed out of the House and the Senate and is off to the Governor for signature. This bill would ensure that physically, cognitively, or emotionally impaired students will be able to access services in their schools with local providers. 

HB22-1358 Clean Water In Schools And Child Care Centers, which would provide filters to schools for lead-free drinking water, passed out of the House and Senate and is off to the Governor for signature. 

HB22-1373 Court-ordered Restitution Paid By Juveniles, which eliminates the requirement for kids to pay back insurance companies for damages, passed out of the House and Senate and is off to the Governor for signature! 

SB22-070 Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade Licensed Personnel Performance Evaluations passed out of the Senate and House and is off to the Governor for signature. This bill is designed to downsize administrator paperwork, while also assuring quality professional evaluation and feedback for educators.   

SB22-087 Healthy Meals for All Public School Students did not pass. This bill creates a program to reimburse school food authorities for free meals provided to students who are not eligible for free or reduced-price meals. 

SB22-127 Special Education Funding, which increases the amount of funding for students who receive special education services, passed out of the Senate and the House and is off to the Governor for signature.  

SB22-202 State Match For Mill Levy Override Revenue, which will allocate more money to school districts with a leaner municipal tax base, passed out of the Senate and House and is off to the Governor for signature.  

For More Information

New limits on student seclusion, restraint pass Colorado legislature, Chalkbeat 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

Welcome to this week’s edition of Capitol Week in Review, a weekly update on education policy at the Capitol! 

Legislative Update 

HB22-1202 At-risk Student Measure For School Finance, which will update the school funding formula as well as how at-risk students are counted, was signed into law by the Governor.  

HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation, which will remove barriers in educator preparation to support educator candidates entering the workforce, is headed to the Governor for signature. 

HB22-1260 Access To Medically Necessary Services For Students, which ensures that physically, cognitively, or emotionally impaired students will be able to access services in their schools with local providers, is headed to the Governor for signature. 

HB22-1358 Clean Water In Schools And Child Care Centers passed out of House Appropriations and is awaiting second reading debate on the House floor. This bill would provide filters to schools for lead-free drinking water. 

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students passed out of the Senate Finance Committee and will move to a vote on the Senate floor on May 9. This bill updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. 

SB22-004 Evidence-based Training In the Science of Reading, which will require principals and administrators to be trained in the science of reading, is awaiting final vote in the House. 

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records passed out of the House Appropriations Committee and is now headed to the Governor for signature. This bill will automatically seal the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense if the person has completed their sentence, completed a waiting period of several years, and has not committed another criminal offense. 

SB22-197 Innovation School Zones With Alternative Governance, passed out of the House Education Committee. This bill allows innovation schools to set up their own form of governance, provided they also provide student success data to the state and sets up a dispute resolution process. 

Our Take 

We are incredibly excited that two of our top priority bills are headed to the Governor for signature and are so grateful to the parents, educators, and community members who signed petitions, emailed lawmakers and testified at the Capitol. Hear directly from parents and educators why these bills are so important.  

Brooke Sassi, Literacy Interventionist, on HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation    

“The traditional pathways to teaching are creating artificial barriers to BIPOC teacher candidates from entering the profession in greater numbers. Unpaid student teaching is another barrier that reduces the diversity of the teaching force, requiring some students to take on second and third jobs in their attempts to satisfy the requirements of their programs. Addressing these issues would remove some of the barriers that are keeping Colorado schools from diversifying their teaching staff.”  

Natalie Perez, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow, on SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records  

“I have seen how friends and family members cannot find homes to live in because of having criminal records. Many come out of prison with high hopes, ready to make a better life for themselves and when they try to get a job, they are turned down because of their past…We need to allow them to make a better life for themselves, and by passing this bill we will do just that.”  

Take Action 

Stay tuned! Colorado’s 2022 legislative session is quickly coming to an end, and we’re excited to celebrate all that we, alongside you, accomplished for Colorado’s students, educators, and families. Keep an eye out for updates in the coming weeks!  

More Information 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

This Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re especially grateful to the educators who have joined us to share their experience and expertise at the Capitol. This legislative session, AsiaMegan, BrookeMollyTheresaLaura, and others delivered testimony at the Capitol to advocate for policies that will ensure high quality and equitable education opportunities in Colorado. Thank you investing your time and sharing your experience so that policymakers can learn from you and understand the impact of potential changes on students and teachers.

Early literacy educator Megan Bobroske testifies before the Senate Education Committee on Senate Bill 22-004.

Welcome to this week’s edition of Capitol Week in Review, a weekly update on education policy at the Capitol!  

Legislative Update

HB22-1010 Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit, which gives educators a tax break for dollars they spend in their classrooms, passed out of the Senate Finance Committee and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations.   

HB22-1052 Promoting Crisis Services To Students, which will earmark funds to promote awareness about public mental health resources, was passed by the Senate Education Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee.       

HB22-1131 Reduce Justice-Involvement for Young Children was passed by the House and now will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill will create a taskforce to study the prosecution of children ages 10 – 12.  

HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation, which will remove barriers in educator preparation to support educator candidates entering the workforce, passed out of the Senate Education Committee as amended, and was referred to the Appropriations Committee.  

HB22-1260 Access To Medically Necessary Services For Students, which ensures that physically, cognitively, or emotionally impaired students will be able to access services in their schools with local providers, was passed by the House and now will be heard in the Senate.  

HB22-1295 Department Early Childhood And Universal Preschool Program, which establishes the Department of Early Childhood to elevate early childhood education and ensures that early childhood care is easy to navigate for all Colorado families, was signed into law by the Governor.   

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students passed out of the House Appropriations Committee and passed the House second reading. This bill updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. 

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records passed out of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously and now will be heard by the Appropriations Committee. This bill will automatically seal the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense if the person has completed their sentence, completed a waiting period of several years, and has not committed another criminal offense. 

SB22-127 Special Education Funding, which would increase funds for each child who receives special education funding to $1,750 (rather than the current $1250) and require the amount to increase by the rate of inflation each budget year beginning with the 2024-25 school year, was passed by the House and is headed to the Governor. 

SB22-147 Behavioral Health-care Services For Children passed the House and is headed to the Governor’s desk. This bill creates in the University of Colorado the Colorado Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation and Access Program (CoPPCAP) to support primary care providers in identifying and treating mild to moderate behavioral health conditions in children in primary care practices or school-based health centers.  

SB22-197 Innovation School Zones With Alternative Governance, passed out of the Senate and is now will be heard by the House Education Committee. This bill allows innovation schools to set up their own form of governance, provided they also provide student success data to the state and sets up a dispute resolution process. 

SB22-202 – State Match for Mill Levy Override Revenue passed out of the Senate. This bill will allocate more money to school districts with a much leaner municipal tax base.  

Our Take

We are thrilled that SB 22-1220, Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation, was passed by the Senate Education Committee.  This legislation is one of our top priority bills this year because it provides a pathway to increasing teacher diversity in Colorado and addressing the teacher shortage. Removing financial barriers and increasing pathways to licensure will ensure a more diverse educator workforce, which is critical for all of Colorado’s students to experience just and supportive schools.  

Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela, testified in favor of SB-1220 saying,  “What this bill does is address the barriers that people pursuing a career as a teacher face. Barriers that impact people of color as well as those in poverty most….As we continue to correct the inequities that exist in our education system, we should acknowledge that nothing can replace a person’s lived experience. It shouldn’t be assumed that everyone is starting at the same point on the same starting line. That everyone has the privilege to obtain their credentials without amassing a crippling amount of debt, or is able to work full time hours without being monetarily compensated for their time and skill.” 

Take Action

Ask Policy Makers to Support Innovation in Our Schools with SB-197! 

14 years ago, legislation was passed to create innovation zones and schools. Senate Bill 22-197 updates that policy and codifies lessons learned over the last 14 years in innovation schools and establishes fair processes to resolve issues if they arise between Innovation Zones and their local districts.

Email House Education Committee Members and ask them to support SB 22-197 with one click!  

For More Information

These four states already have universal preschool. What can Colorado learn from them?, Chalkbeat 

Lawmakers propose matching fund to help property-poor Colorado school districts, Chalkbeat 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

We must ensure that efforts, fueled by misinformation, to omit teaching complete history and censure teachers do not happen in Colorado! As you may know, Colorado is updating our standards Social Studies and the State Board of Education is poised to vote on those updates. 

The Committee updating the standards recommended to the State Board to remove any reference to gay, lesbian, and transgender people in standards for students under 4th grade. We need you to weigh in with the State Board! 

EMAIL THE STATE BOARD

Early elementary lessons might look like understanding that some children have a mom and a dad while others have two moms or that trucks aren’t just for boys and dolls aren’t just for girls or knowing that gay people fought for their civil rights like other groups.

When students have the opportunity to learn an accurate, fact-based account of U.S. history, it enables them to avoid repeating mistakes of the past, succeed in diverse workplaces and communities, and work toward creating a better and just society.

Schools need to be safe and supportive environments for ALL students! Tell the State Board not to erase the identify of the LGTBQ community and censor teachers!