The Center for High School Success (CHSS), a program of Stand for Children, announced that Poudre High School in Ft. Collins, Colorado has been named a 2023-2023 Demonstration School. CHSS Demonstration Schools are chosen for their sustained improvement, consistently high 9th Grade On-Track Rates, and exemplary implementation of the CHSS Roadmap.    

Demonstration Schools partner with CHSS to showcase the exemplary 9th Grade Success work to support deep learning for the current national network of high schools and to recruit new schools and districts to engage in 9th Grade Success Work. CHSS spoke to Poudre’s principal, Kathy Mackay about their work. We are excited to share more with you following Poudre’s first demonstration site visit.

MEET POUDRE HIGH SCHOOL IN FORT COLLINS, COLORADO  

Across the three-year partnership with CHSS, Poudre High School, a large, diverse high school in Fort Collins, increased 9th Grade On-Track Rates by 13%. 

Colorado CHSS Director, Judith Martinez shared about experience working with Poudre saying, “The Poudre team is transforming the high school experience by developing year-long transition supports for ninth graders. I’m most proud of the integration of ninth grade success approaches into the school’s pathway model.” 

Poudre High School has been recognized by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and Colorado Governor, Jared Polis, for their transformational work in developing multiple pathways to meet the needs of all students. Poudre was one of the first schools to receive a CDE Ninth Grade Success Grant

Poudre’s work around changing how kids adjust going back to school was recently featured on Fox 31.  

Principal, Kathy Mackay, shared more about Poudre High School.  

Tell us a little about your school community. 

Poudre High School draws students primarily from three middle school feeder sites in the northern part of the District’s boundaries. Each of these schools is uniquely diverse in the types of students served—from mountainous and rural areas, from farms and ranches, from small towns, from bedroom communities to the larger Fort Collins area, from the very lowest income mobile home parks, and from the most expensive homes in old town Fort Collins. At PHS, we have six pathways that students opt into during their transition from 8th to 9th grade– Agriculture and the Environment, Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Design, Entrepreneurship, Health Science and Human Services, or the International Baccalaureate program. All pathways include opportunities to earn college credit and industry certifications. At PHS, we live by the philosophy of Ubuntu, translated as “I am who I am because of who we are.” We are Poudre High School. 

Tell us a little about your school’s history with 9th Grade Success Work?   

We began our journey with full-school pathway development in 2016, and embedded 9th Grade Success Work in 2018. Our pathway structure was perfect to support the 9th Grade Success Work. Our MTSS Coordinator serves as the Student Success Team Leader, and our Counselors oversee each pathway and facilitate the conversations among pathway teams of teachers. This model has been the best model for increasing teacher collective efficacy and truly integrating multi-tiered systems of support. We monitor student progress bi-weekly and intervene early and often. We’ve seen an increase in our on-time graduation rate over the last five years, and we know that this work has been incredibly influential in these gains. 

What are you most proud of? 

I’m proud that we’re using systems of support, rather than attempting random interventions here and there that may or may not be effective. I’m also proud that our staff believe in the work, it has created more collaboration to support students, and it has increased their individual and collective teacher efficacy. 

What has been an obstacle you’ve been able to overcome? 

Time is always the obstacle. There’s never enough of it. We’ve been able to “overcome” this obstacle by embedding the work within our weekly late start schedule and by using virtual meetings to be more efficient with time. 

Finish this sentence. “9th Grade On-Track Work/9th Grade Success Work has been transformational at our school…” 

Period. The Roadmap provides a true roadmap to implementing the structures and practices needed to do the work. The structure creates a teaming model that increases teacher collective efficacy. The data shows us that it’s the right work. We’re keeping students on-track and it’s resulting in better student outcomes, including increases in our on-time graduation rates. 

How has partnering with CHSS been transformative? 

CHSS has been the best support I’ve received as a principal in my ten-year career. The Roadmap, coaching, collaborations, data analysis and training have been invaluable to my growth and the growth of our teams. 

Anything else you’d like to share? 

At the Arts& Humanities “Kid Talk” student, RB, was brought up by the Social Studies teacher as a student she was concerned about. RB had great attendance but was failing classes because of an apparent refusal to complete or turn in work. As the teachers discussed RB, they noticed that it wasn’t as if he didn’t want to do the work, or was distracted, or didn’t understand. He was pleasant, stayed off of his phone, and was attentive to the work! He just wouldn’t do it. It was determined in the Kid Talk that RB is extremely gifted and only wanted to produce perfect quality work. He would rather not do anything than have it not be perfect. His teachers would beg him to just put down something, even if it wasn’t perfect, in order to earn some points. RB’s science teacher suggested introducing him to a High Dosage Teacher who was working with another student in her class. Once the connection was made, RB started finding success. The tutor helped give him the confidence he needed to get the work done. He had the knowledge but lacked the executive functioning skills to actually ‘do’ the work. The match was so effective that RB requested to continue working with his tutor in his second semester classes and he passed them all! 

We spent time this summer in conversation with parents, educators, policymakers, and community members. Now our team has identified goals that build upon our impact in recent years and act on what we heard in listening sessions. Will you please weigh in on our plans?  

Our Goals for Next Year:

  • Early Literacy
    • Understanding how to better support educators to use the science of reading and evidence-based curriculums and practices in their literacy instruction.
  • Ninth Grade Success
    • Expanding funding for the Ninth Grade Success Grant program.
  • Supportive Schools
    • Promoting educator diversity by securing continued funding for policies that create equity in teacher preparation and alternative pathways to enter the workforce.
  • Justice System Reform
    • Helping prevent recidivism in our justice system by updating probation and parole supervision to include remote check-in options.
    • Expanding access to criminal record sealing for non-violent offenses, helping to remove barriers to housing and employment.
    • Reducing unjust fees for incarcerated individuals and their families. 

We cannot do this work alone – we need your help! Read more about our priorities and let us know which ones you are interested in working with us to advance.  

Top Legislative Priorities Now Law

We are thrilled that all of our top priority bills have been signed into law. 

In our blog, you will find updates on each of the policy priorities we shared prior to the legislative session focused on advancing educational equity, youth and racial justice in Colorado, and making our schools and communities safer and more supportive.  

We are so grateful to the many advocates, partners, and policymakers we worked alongside to bring these policies to fruition. Parents, educators and community leaders participated in listening sessions last summer to identify needs and policy solutions, engaged with lawmakers, testified before committees and shared their experiences with members of the media. Hundreds of advocates sent thousands of emails to policymakers, and 27 shared their lived experiences in testimony before committees nearly 60 times.  These impactful policy changes will mean more and better support for Colorado students and educators. They represent steps toward safer and more supportive schools and communities for all Coloradans. 


Advocates at Stand for Children day at the Capitol

Advocates Join Stand for Day at the Capitol 

More than a dozen parents, educators and community leaders joined our team for a day at the Capitol. These advocates were briefed on the latest on key policies moving through the Capitol, listened to Senate floor debate (and were even invited to sit on the Senate floor), got a tour of the Capitol and shared their policy priorities. “I am very fortunate to be here today with Stand. For many years, I have involved myself into the practices and policies of schools, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to dive in and really make a difference at in the policies that are implemented at the state level. This is really what we need in order to be able to make the changes for our kids.”  Flor Orozco, parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow.


Advancing Language Justice in Denver Public Schools

We are thrilled to announce that after months of collaboration, learning, and relationship-building, Language Justice was added as a priority as an ENDS statement that talks about equity in Denver Public Schools (DPS). ENDS statements are “description of the long-term goals for the district”.  This statement was approved by the DPS Board of Education.

Language Justice is defined as a commitment to ensuring all voices are heard and understood in the process of community engagement. It is more than having access to translators and interpreters, it is a practice to create inclusive and equitable spaces so that community, families, students, and staff can participate in the language of their heart. Read more.  


Funding Expanded for Ninth Grade On-Track Program

$1.6 million for the Ninth Grade Success Grant program was included in HB23-1231, Math in Pre-Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade. This funding will help ensure that more Colorado students finish their 9th-grade year on track and graduate high school prepared for post-secondary success.

Read more about our Center for High School Success. 


Lauren Kinney shares her experience from Day at the Capitol

“I’ve been working with Stand as a fellow and it has invited me to take up space in politics that I never really thought I belonged in or never knew the right entry point. Now because of this I feel inspired to do more community organizing to find ways that I can advocate not only for students but also for members of the queer community, and BIPOC voices. I believe that Stand is doing some incredible work.” Lauren Kinney, educator and Stand Advocacy Fellow


Bri Buentello, Stand Government Affairs Director and former Special Education Educator on legislation that will expand translation of individualized education plans

“I’ve seen the disproportionate impact that a language barrier brings, specifically in Latino kids,” she said. “It’s going to drastically increase parental involvement in the IEP process. This is going to lead to us better serving students.”  

Learn More

Early Literacy Educators: We Want to Hear from You!

Stand for Children Colorado will be publishing a report to give an update on the impact of literacy policy in recent years, including the passage of the READ Act in 2012 and subsequent updates related to evidence-based curriculum alignment, teacher and principal training in the science of reading, and increased funding for early literacy grants.  

We will be centering educator voice and experience, so if you are an early literacy educator and/or K-3 classroom teacher or administrator, please take a few minutes to complete this survey. Our goal is to hear from as many Colorado educators as possible, so please consider sharing this with your colleagues.  

Learn more about our early literacy work. 

Thank you for Standing

Yesterday marked the end of the 30-day period for Governor Polis to sign into law the bills that were passed during the 2023 legislative session. We are thrilled to tell you that all of our top priority bills have been signed into law. 

Below you will find updates on the policy priorities we shared prior to the legislative session focused on advancing educational equity, youth and racial justice in Colorado, and making our schools and communities safer and more supportive.  

We would be remiss if we didn’t, once again, thank the many advocates, partners, and policy makers we worked alongside to bring these policies to fruition. 

Parents, educators and community leaders participated in listening sessions to identify needs and policy solutions, engaged with lawmakers, testified before committees and shared their experiences with members of the media. Hundreds of advocates sent thousands of emails to policymakers and 27 shared their lived experiences in testimony before committees nearly 60 times. 

These impactful policy changes will mean more and better support for Colorado students and educators. They represent steps toward safer and more supportive schools and communities for all Coloradans. 

Stand’s 2023 Top Legislative Priorities

Updates on our 2023 top policy priorities

Expand funding for the Ninth Grade On-Track Program. 

HB23-1231, Math in Pre-Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade, supports math educators with evidence-based training and interventions to help K- 12th-grade students struggling in math. Importantly, this bill includes $1.6 million for the Ninth Grade Success Grant program to help ensure that more Colorado students finish their 9th-grade year on track and graduate high school prepared for post-secondary success.   Status: Signed into law! 

Remove barriers to support teaching candidates, expanding and diversifying the educator workforce.  

HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, a continuation of HB22-1220, expands eligibility for financial assistance and offers loan forgiveness to a larger pool of educators who qualify for state programs. Status: Signed into law! 

HB23-1064, Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, creates a compact to make it easier for active-duty military spouses to transfer their teaching licenses without further testing, thereby allowing them to teach in Colorado classrooms faster. Status: Signed into law! 

SB23-087, Teacher Degree Apprenticeship Program, creates a teacher degree apprenticeship program as an alternative route to teacher licensure and helps to alleviate the educator shortage. Status: Signed into law! 

Ensure equitable school funding. 

SB23-099, Special Education Funding, increases Special Education Funding by $40,203, 671. Status: Signed into law! 

Eliminate the practice of lying to juveniles during interrogation.  

HB23-1042, Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements, increases funding for interrogation training for law enforcement, as well as improves the general reliability of confessions by requiring all juvenile interrogations to be recorded. Status: Signed into law! 

Cap the cost of phone calls from prison or jail.  

HB23-1133, Cost Of Phone Calls for Persons In Custody, mandates that the Department of Corrections (DOC) provide communications services to persons in DOC custody in a correctional facility or private prison. Status: Signed into law! 


OTHER KEY BILLS WE WORKED TO ADVANCE THAT ARE NOW LAW 

HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, creates the sixth through twelfth-grade mental health assessment program.  

HB23-1168, Legal Representation and Students with Disabilities,  requires CDE to create and maintain a list of attorneys qualified to represent a parent in a due process complaint and creates a fund to pay attorneys defending parents against due process complaints filed by an education provider.  

HB23-1223, Task Force to Prioritize Grants Target Population, creates a task force to establish shared goals and guidelines for prioritizing new and existing grant money to reduce youth violence, suicide, and delinquency risk factors. 

HB23-1249, Reduce Justice Involvement for Young Children, funds the expansion of existing local Collaborative Management Programs (CMP) statewide to serve 10-12-year-old children that come into contact with law enforcement and child victims with support from the Department of Human Services. 

HB23-1263, Translating Individualized Education Programs, permits the multidisciplinary team that creates an individualized education program (IEP) for a child, who may be eligible for special education services, to translate the IEP draft documents into the dominant language spoken in the home of the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian.  

HB23-1290, Proposition EE Funding Retention Rate Reduction, refers a ballot issue to the voters at the November 7, 2023, statewide election to allow the state to retain and spend state revenues that would otherwise need to be refunded. If voters approve the ballot measure: the money set aside will be transferred to the preschool programs cash fund and the general fund and the nicotine tax will stay at the rates required by proposition EE. 

HB23-1291, Procedures For Expulsion Hearing Officers, addresses due process rights for students by mandating the sharing of evidence during an expulsion hearing, prohibiting conflicts of interest for the hearing officer, as well as requiring annual training regarding student development, restorative justice, and special education and the law.  

SB23-004,Employment Of School Mental Health Professionals,  authorizes a school district to employ health professionals, who are not licensed by the Colorado Department of Education but hold a Colorado license for their profession. 

SB23-039, Reduce Child And Incarcerated Parent Separation,  requires the Department of Human Services to prioritize and facilitate communication and family time between children and their parents who are incarcerated. 

SB-23-287, Public School Finance, increases the statewide base per pupil funding for the 2023-24 budget year by $598.25 (to account for inflation) and creates a public-school finance task force. 

HB23-1100, Restrict County Jail Contracts with ICE, prevents the state from contracting with a private company to detain individuals for federal immigration purposes and begins a review process of these contracts over the next two years. 

Why 9th Grade Matters  

9th grade has come to be well known as the make-or-break year. How well students perform academically in 9th grade can predict their future success. The first year in high school has a huge impact on whether students graduate. In fact, students who end 9th grade on-track are three times more likely to graduate from high school than their off-track peers. (toandthrough.uchicago.edu

To be on-track means a 9th grade student has earned at least a quarter of the credits needed to graduate and received no more than one F in any course. Research shows that on-track status is a stronger predictor of high school graduation than race/ethnicity, level of poverty, and test scores combined!  

At Stand Colorado, we prioritize policy solutions and implementation efforts to ensure that high schools across the state are implementing a 9th grade success approach, a proven strategy to improve graduation rates.  

What’s happening in Colorado  

In 2019, the Colorado state legislature created the Ninth Grade Success Grant Program. Informed by the research around 9th grade success, the grant supports schools to implement key components of a 9th grade success approach including establishing Ninth Grade Teams, implementing data systems and transition programs, and providing targeted instructional support for ninth grade students. Stand Colorado championed efforts to secure $800K for the Grant Program to maximize the number of Colorado students who finish 9th grade on-track.  

There are currently nine Colorado school districts receiving funds through the grant. In Colorado, the Center for High School Success (CHSS), a Stand for Children program, partners with four of those districts, Denver Public Schools, Center Consolidated Schools 26JT, Poudre, and Pueblo 60, to increase 9th Grade On-Track Rates. Colorado’s Center for High School Success, which currently partners with eight total districts across Colorado provides coaching, training, collaboration, and data and technical support. In the 2021-22 school year, On-Track Rates in schools that partner with CHSS in Colorado grew an average of 19 percentage points, drastically increasing the number of students who will graduate in 2025.  

It’s clear that implementing a focused 9th grade success is changing the trajectory for Colorado students. By ensuring that students finish their 9th grade year on-track, we ensure students graduate high school prepared for post-secondary success.  

TAKE ACTION

The Senate Education Committee is considering HB23-1231, Math in Pre-Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade a bill to support math educators with evidence based training and interventions to help K- 12th grade students struggling in math. The bill also includes $1.6 million for the Ninth Grade Success Grant program to help ensure that more Colorado students finish their 9th grade year on-track and graduate high school prepared for post-secondary success. 

Decades of research shows that ninth grade students who are on-track at the end of their first year of high school are as much as four times more likely to graduate from high school than their off-track peers. Ninth graders who earn at least a quarter of the credits required for graduation and receive no more than one “F” are on-track to graduate. Schools and districts implementing ninth grade success strategies are showing results. Implementing a focused 9th grade success approach is changing the trajectory for Colorado students.

Please email members of the Senate Education Committee and ask them to support Colorado educators in preparing the next generation of students.  

Why 9th Grade Matters  

9th grade has come to be well known as the make-or-break year. How well students perform academically in 9th grade can predict their future success. The first year in high school has a huge impact on whether students graduate. In fact, students who end 9th grade on-track are three times more likely to graduate from high school than their off-track peers. (toandthrough.uchicago.edu

To be on-track means a 9th grade student has earned at least a quarter of the credits needed to graduate and received no more than one F in any course. Research shows that on-track status is a stronger predictor of high school graduation than race/ethnicity, level of poverty, and test scores combined!  

At Stand Colorado, we prioritize policy solutions and implementation efforts to ensure that high schools across the state are implementing a 9th grade success approach, a proven strategy to improve graduation rates.  

What’s happening in Colorado  

In 2019, the Colorado state legislature created the Ninth Grade Success Grant Program. Informed by the research around 9th grade success, the grant supports schools to implement key components of a 9th grade success approach including establishing Ninth Grade Teams, implementing data systems and transition programs, and providing targeted instructional support for ninth grade students. Stand Colorado championed efforts to secure $800K for the Grant Program to maximize the number of Colorado students who finish 9th grade on-track.  

There are currently nine Colorado school districts receiving funds through the grant. In Colorado, the Center for High School Success (CHSS), a Stand for Children program, partners with four of those districts, Denver Public Schools, Center Consolidated Schools 26JT, Poudre, and Pueblo 60, to increase 9th Grade On-Track Rates. Colorado’s Center for High School Success, which currently partners with eight total districts across Colorado provides coaching, training, collaboration, and data and technical support. In the 2021-22 school year, On-Track Rates in schools that partner with CHSS in Colorado grew an average of 19 percentage points, drastically increasing the number of students who will graduate in 2025.  

It’s clear that implementing a focused 9th grade success is changing the trajectory for Colorado students. By ensuring that students finish their 9th grade year on-track, we ensure students graduate high school prepared for post-secondary success.  

Take Action 

The House is considering HB23-1231, a bill to support math educators with evidence-based training and interventions to help K- 12th grade students struggling in math. The bill also includes $1.6 million for the Ninth Grade Success Grant program to help ensure that more Colorado students finish their 9th grade year on-track and graduate high school prepared for post-secondary success. Ask your representative to support HB23-1231 with one click!   

On Thursday, March 16 the House Education Committee heard HB23-1231: Math In Pre-kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade, which requires CDE to create and offer free, optional trainings in evidence-based practices in mathematics, including a training specifically designed for elementary school educators and a training specifically designed for secondary school mathematics educators. The bill also amends the ninth-grade success grant program and requires the CDE to prioritize applicants that propose programming focused on evidence-based mathematics skills and intervention strategies, including a focus on students who are below grade level or struggling in mathematics and have academic achievement levels in mathematics that are consistently ranked the lowest for public high schools in the state. Funding for the Ninth Grade Success Grant program is a top priority of Stand Colorado. Below is the testimony in support of HB23-1231 of Krista Spurgin, Stand Executive Director.

“Good afternoon Mr. Chair, House Education Committee Members, my name is Krista Spurgin and the Executive Director with Stand for Children Colorado. Stand for Children is an education advocacy and racial justice nonprofit that supports parents, teachers, and community members in their fight for excellent public schools and systems changes that directly impact all of Colorado’s kids.

We are very supportive of HB1231 as a whole and want to specifically speak to the section of this bill that increases funding for the 9th Grade Success Grant program and prioritizes schools focused on math.

The 9th Grade Year has been called the Make Or Break year because Students who are on track at the end of the 9th grade year – meaning they are passing core class such as math and are meeting attendance expectations – are 3 times more likely graduate on time.

Research actually shows that on-track status is a stronger predictor of high school graduation than race/ethnicity, level of poverty, and test scores combined!  

In School year 21-22 schools focused on 9th grade success work increased 9th grade on-track rates by an average of 19 percentage points putting 2,300 additional students on track to graduation.

We believe that prioritizing grantees that have a plan to focus on math is a great use of the funding and the program.  I appreciate your time today and ask for your support of HB23-1231.”

Colorado’s 2023 Legislative Session is in Full Swing 

At Stand for Children Colorado, we advocate for policy solutions in the areas of early literacy, high school success, diversifying and supporting the teacher workforce and safe and supportive schools and communities. This session we are proud to be championing and supporting key bills to support Colorado’s students, educators, and families.    

This session, we are prioritizing policies to: 

  • Expand funding for the Ninth Grade On-Track and Expelled and At-Risk Student Services (EARSS) grant programs. 
  • Expand and diversify the educator workforce. 
  • Fight for equitable school funding. 
  • Create protections for juveniles through interrogation and detention reforms
  • Update probation and parole supervision to include remote check-in options and early release for education credits earned. 
  • Create access to free phone calls from prison or jail. 

Centering Parent, Educator and Community Voice at the Capitol 

At Stand Colorado, we deeply believe that policy making is most effective when the voices of those impacted are at the center of decision making. That’s why we support parent, educator, and community advocates to share their testimonies with lawmakers during Senate and House committee meetings. We’re sharing a few of those testimonies here:  

Let’s provide mental health assessments for students | parent and Stand Community Organizer, Natalie Perez, testifies in support of HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment.  

Young people are especially vulnerable to falsely confessing under the pressure of deception | community leader, Lindsay Saunders-Velez, testifies in support of HB23- 1042, Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements.   We cannot afford not to invest in our education workforce | Colorado educator, Anthony Abel-Pype testifies in support of HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs. 


Expanding and Diversifying Colorado’s Educator Workforce 

Stand Colorado has championed efforts to develop and pass, and now continue to advocate for, innovative policy solutions to address financial and other barriers to educators entering the workforce to ensure an expanded and more diverse educator workforce, which is critical for all of Colorado’s students to experience just and supportive schools.  

In 2023, we are support three key bills to remove barriers and expand and diversify the teacher pipeline in Colorado – HB23-1001 Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, SB23-087 Teacher Degree Apprenticeship Program, and HB23-1064 Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact.  Learn more here


The 9th Grade Approach: A CHSS Showcase 

This January, we hosted a virtual event, The 9th Grade Approach: A CHSS Showcase in partnership with Colorado’s Center for High School Success (CHSS), a project of Stand for Children. Educators, lawmakers, and community members joined us to learn about the research driving the 9th Grade Success model, coaching and support CHSS provides in Colorado’s schools, and demonstrated student outcomes in the 2021-22 school year.


Yaeel Duarte, Stand Advocacy Fellow, testifies in support of HB23-1042 

“I cannot imagine the powerlessness parents might feel to know that their children could be in a position where an adult in power could be using dishonest tactics to drive them into confessing something false. Nobody, including adults, can think clearly about future consequences under such pressure.”   

Learn More


Anthony Abel-Pype, Colorado Educator, testifies in support of HB23-1001 

“Bills that can offer incentives, financial and otherwise, for people in general, and people of color in particular, to choose a career path in education, and to stick with it, will go a long way to improving student outcomes in the state of Colorado.”  

 Learn More


Stand up for Language Justice 

We are working to expand the practice of Language Justice in Colorado and we want to hear from you! Please take a few minutes to tell us about your experience with language justice in your school district. We will be sharing what we heard with district leadership. Complete our survey here

Thank you for Standing

Welcome to a Special Edition of Capitol Week in Review!   The First Session of the 74th General Assembly kicked off this week with mostly pomp and circumstance. Members were sworn in, leadership elections took place, committee assignments were made, and legislation started being introduced. Capital Week in Review is back to bring you news of bills we are tracking around our priorities of advancing educational equity and racial justice in Colorado and making our schools and communities safer and more supportive. This week we are sharing key information about leadership in the general assembly, updates from the State Board of Education and Governor’s office as well as a rundown on our priorities for this session.

Legislative update

HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, which supports student teachers toward the goal of diversifying the teacher workforce was introduced in the House.  

HB23-1003, School Mental Health Assessment, which creates the sixth through twelfth grade mental health assessment program was introduced in the House.  

HB23-1042, Admissibility Standards For Juvenile Statements, which increases funding for interrogation training for law enforcement, as well as improves the general reliability of confessions by requiring all juvenile interrogations to be recorded was introduced in the House and assigned to the Judiciary Committee.  

SB23-029, Disproportionate Discipline In Public Schools, which requires each school district board of education, institute charter school board for a charter school authorized by the state charter school institute, or governing board of a board of cooperative services (BOCES) to adopt a policy to address disproportionate disciplinary practices in public schools was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the Education Committee.  

SB23-043, Continue School Access For Emergency Response Grant Program, extends the SAFER grant program for 5 years, until July 1, 2029. The SAFER Grant Program provides funding to encourage and provide training for seamless communivations between schools and first responders.

Senate and House Leadership Elected

Senate
President
Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder)
Minority Leader Paul Lundeen (R-El Paso)
 
House of Representatives
Speaker of the House Julie McCluskie
(D-Summit) Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R-Larimer)

Education Committee Members NaMED

Senate Education Committee Members

Chair: Janet Buckner

Vice-Chair: Janice Marchman  

House Education Committee Members

Chair: Barbara McLachlan

Vice-Chair: Matthew Martinez

Governor Polis Sworn in for Second Term

Governor Jared Polis was sworn in for a second term on January 10, 2023 in front of the State Capitol in Denver. During his inaugural address he highlighted some of his accomplishments such as free full-day kindergarten. While education was not a centerpiece of his speech, he did mention implementation of universal preschool. He also called for unity as Coloradans and acceptance of differences throughout his remarks, “No matter what part of Colorado you call home, who you are, or who you love. No matter your race, or your gender, or how you worship, or how you vote. Colorado belongs to all of us and we will all help shape our future.”

Stand Government Affairs Director, Bri Buentello joins our partners at Healthier Colorado at inaugration this week. 

Members of State Board of Education Sworn In

This week, recently elected members Kathy Plomer, Steve Durham, Rebecca McClellan, and Rhonda Solis were sworn in to the State Board of Education. Rebecca McClellan was named chair and Lisa Escárcega was named vice-chair of the State Board. Read more about the roles and responsibilities of the State Board of Education.

Members of our team attended the swearing in ceremony for the new State Board of Education members.

Our Take: Priorities this Session

Stand advocates for educational equity and racial justice in Colorado through meaningful partnerships with families, educators, schools, and policymakers by prioritizing early literacy, high school success, and safe and supportive schools and communities. During legislative session this year our team will be advocating alongside our partners for a variety of policies aligned to our mission.

Our top priorities include:

  • Expanding funding for the Ninth Grade On- Track and Expelled and At-Risk Student Services (EARSS) grant programs.
  • Repealing deceptive interrogation tactics for juveniles, updating expulsion policies, eliminating cash bail, and raising the age for detention from 10 to 13.
  • Finalizing the updated school funding formula to include a new proxy for poverty, ensure a dedicated English Language Learner (ELL) weight, create a better balance for cost-of-living adjustment amounts, and fully fund special education services across districts.

Continuing work towards diversifying the teacher workforce. 

What We’re Reading

2023 Colorado General Assembly: The people’s guide to following education issues, Chalkbeat  

First day: Colorado lawmakers pledge ‘thoughtful’ school funding debate amid budget constraints, Chalkbeat    

CSU’s teacher preparation program wins state approval, gets kudos for science of reading shiftColorado voters may be asked to forgo their future, Chalkbeat  

TABOR refunds so the state can boost school funding, Colorado Sun

On Thursday January 5, 2023 at 4:30 pm Colorado’s Center for High School Success will be hosting a showcase to highlight the 9th grade approach. Hear directly from a Colorado principal whose On-Track Rate was 92% in the 2021-2022 school year! You will also learn about:

  • the research driving the ninth-grade success model,  
  • coaching and support CHSS provides in Colorado schools,  
  • and demonstrated student outcomes in the 2021-22 school year

The Center for High School Success (CHSS), a Stand for Children program, supports high schools and districts in raising 9th Grade On-Track Rates in service of raising graduation rates and increasing readiness for postsecondary success through our CHSS Roadmap for 9th Grade Success. On-Track means a 9th grade student has earned a quarter of the credits needed to graduate and received no more than one F in any course. (toandthrough.uchicago.edu)