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 

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!  

We are on step closer to House Bill 22-1220 becoming a reality! 

House Bill 22-1220, which will remove barriers to support teacher candidates entering the workforce, passed the House and is being heard in the Senate Education Committee TOMORROW. We need to show Senators how much support there is for this policy, so will you send an email with one click?     

EMAIL SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS

HB22-1220 will:  

  • support teacher candidates by paying them for their student teaching work, 
  • remove financial barriers by paying for teacher exam fees, and
  • expand pathways to licensure by allowing multiple ways to demonstrate competency. 

Read more about HB22-1220 in this Colorado Sun article. We are proud to champion HB22-1220 because we see this policy as a pathway to increasing teacher diversity in Colorado. We know 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. 

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 House and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee on April 27.  

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 House. It now moves to be heard in the Senate.  

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, unanimously passed out of the House Education Committee.  

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, will be signed into law by the Governor on April 25.  

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students passed out of the House Education Committee on a 6-3 vote. This bill updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. 

SB22-004 Evidence-based Training In Science Of Reading, which ensures that principals and building level administrators are trained in current best practices regarding teaching the science of reading, passed unanimously out of the House Education Committee. It was referred to Appropriations.  

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records passed out of the Senate and will now be heard in the House. 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 Senate Education Committee and was referred to the Committee of the Whole. 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 pleased that HB22-1376 passed out of the House Education Committee and we are energized by those who testified in support of the bill.  

This bill makes several updates to Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students including increasing funding for the successful Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant, 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 and promoting best practices and proper training for school security staff. 

Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela, joined us to testify sharing her experience with her son to demonstrate her support. She shared, “the school [my son] attended showed little interest in offering any support for my son’s communication or behavioral needs, much less his social and emotional wellbeing. He was repeatedly sent home from school, moved from one class to another and was often in the principal’s office. As it turns out, the school had not been documenting when he was sent home and why. If that documentation had been provided for us, it would have painted a very grim picture of what the school’s discipline policy looked like and have helped my son get the support he needed earlier.”  

Read Pamela’s full testimony here and learn more in Chalkbeat’s recent reporting here.  

Take Action 

THANK LAWMAKERS FOR REMOVING BARRIERS TO HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT! 

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records, passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support! It now moves to be heard in the House. SB22-099 automatically seals 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. Removing these barriers to housing and employment equips everyone with the opportunity to provide for their families and become more engaged citizens.  

Will you take a minute to send a thank you note to your Senator for supporting pathways for safe and supportive families and communities? 

More Information 

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

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat 

Pamela and her son Tristan in the Colorado state Capitol.

On April 21, the House Education Committee passed HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students on a 6-3 vote. This bill makes several updates to Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students including increasing funding for the successful Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant, 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 and promoting best practices and proper training for school security staff. Parent, community leader, and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela, delivered her testimony in support of the bill.

My name is Pamela Kaspar, I am a District 1 resident, a social work scholar, and a parent. I’m speaking in favor of House Bill 1376.   

With me today is my brilliant and talented son, Tristan, who is 11. Tristan had a rough start in his journey in public schools. We had just moved back to Colorado from Virginia, and in order for me to continue my education and save money, we were living with my parents. These types of life transitions can be challenging even for adults, but are especially more so for young children.   

Tristan lagged in his verbal communication skills; as you can imagine, it was incredibly frustrating for him as he tried to communicate with the world around him.  The school he attended showed little interest in offering any support for my son’s communication or behavioral needs, much less his social and emotional wellbeing.  As his mother, I knew that he was acting out because he was feeling scared, but his school saw an angry, problem child. He was repeatedly sent home from school, moved from one class to another and often in the principal’s office. I had to advocate on behalf of my son to have him see a counselor, it was never offered by the school. We qualified for assistance with a child therapist through the University of Denver, and my son began seeing them. This was all research and work that we had to do on our own with really no great idea of where to begin.   

The decision to change schools finally came when Tristan was once again sent home after crying while in class. I was at work that day, so my mother offered to pick him up. She insisted that his suspension and all prior suspensions be documented for her. As it turns out, the school had not been documenting when he was sent home and why. If that documentation had been provided for us, it would have painted a very grim picture of what the school’s discipline policy looked like, and perhaps have helped my son get the support he needed earlier. 

I’m sharing this experience with you all to illustrate the need for legislation like this. 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.  

Let’s support our kids like Tristian. Please vote yes on House Bill 1376.  

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, is scheduled to be heard for its third reading on the House Floor on April 18.  

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, passed in the House and the Senate and is now headed to be signed by the Governor.  

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 passed out of the Senate.   

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 scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on April 21.  

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students was introduced in the House. This bill updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. 

SB22-004 Evidence-based Training In Science Of Reading, which ensures that principals and building level administrators and are trained in current best practices regarding teaching the science of reading, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on April 21.  

SB22-008 Higher Education Support For Foster Youth, which will give children in foster care who were placed out of Colorado the undergraduate tuition rate, passed in the House Education Committee and is now awaiting a hearing in Appropriations.  

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records is scheduled to be heard in Senate Appropriations on April 19.  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, passed unanimously in the House Education Committee.  

SB22-147 Behavioral Health-care Services For Children is scheduled to be heard in Public and Behavioral Health & Human Services on April 22. This bill creates in the university of Colorado the Colorado pediatric psychiatry consultation and access program (CoPPCAP). The purpose of CoPPCAP is 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. 

SB22-171 Privacy Protections For Educators, which will prevent teachers from being doxed, passed in the Senate Education Committee and was referred to the Committee of the Whole.  

SB22-197 Innovation School Zones With Alternative Governance, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on April 21. This bill allows innovation schools to set up their own form of governance, provided they also provide student success data to the state. 

Colorado Department of Education Update

Colorado is updating our Social Studies standards and the State Board of Education is poised to vote on those updates.  

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

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. Learn more here.  

Schools need to be safe and supportive environments for ALL students! We must ensure that efforts, fueled by misinformation, to omit complete history do not happen in Colorado. Tell the State Board not to erase the identify of the LGTBQ community and censor teachers!    

Our Take 

We are thrilled to announce that bipartisan legislation we have been working on to ensure safe and supportive schools for all students has been introduced: HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments For K-12 Students

We all agree that schools should be positive, safe, and inclusive places for students to learn. A broad coalition of partners engaged key stakeholders to identify updates to Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. Those updates include: 

  • Increasing funding for an evidence-based program (the successful Expelled and At-Risk Student Services Grant) that support students, teachers, and administrators. 
  • 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. 

As Executive Director Krista Spurgin said in a recent Chalkbeat article, “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.” Read the full article here.  

Take Action 

ASK LAWMAKERS TO IMPROVE SCHOOL CLIMATE FOR ALL STUDENTS! 

The changes in HB22-1376 will help ensure we have information about the gaps that need to be filled to ensure safe and supportive environments for every student. 

Please email the House Education Committee and ask them to support this important policy for kids

More Information 

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

Colorado free preschool bill poised to become law, Chalkbeat 

State Board Democrats: Keep LGBTQ issues in social studies standards, Chalkbeat 

Colorado Education Bill Tracker 2022, Chalkbeat