These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.

A+ Stay Sharp: 8.27.2020

It’s been a pivotal week throughout the education ecosystem as the majority of public schools throughout Colorado have returned for the 2020-21 school year. This is poised to be one of the most challenging semesters for educators, administrators and families alike. A+ Colorado will continue to keep our readers in the know on the latest updates from this unconventional school year.

A+ Updates

Outliers Highlight

Outliers 2020 – High School + Beyond
Students may choose from a variety of paths after high school, and we believe that any student who wishes to, should have the capacity to enroll in an institution of higher education without needing to pay for skills they should have attained in high school. This chart explores measures of college-readiness, including SAT scores for various students across Colorado’s school districts. A+ Colorado’s research and policy team is able to facilitate a responsive conversation with your organization and community about the research findings from this Outliers report. If you or your community group want us to speak about our results or findings, please reach out to 

Recap of the SPF vote from DPS School Board
The Denver Public School Board recently voted 6-1 to drop the district’s School Performance Framework and utilize the Colorado Department of Education’s SPF which has lower standards, is more tied to socioeconomic status of the student and does not include any indicators related to equity. While A+ is pleased the school board listened to community and has committed to providing far more information about schools with a new dashboard, we are disappointed the board is “following a process of indeterminate length for community engagement” after having already spent a year doing community engagement on this issue. The district needs to be working on building some draft dashboards for community input rather than adding more undefined community processes.

Mary Willson joins the A+ Colorado team 

Mary Willson joins the A+ team as the Director of Communication and Engagement. Mary is a Colorado native and attended Poudre School District, Front Range Community College, and Colorado State University. She joins us from EducationNC, a nonprofit newsroom with the goal of improving public education in North Carolina through analysis and storytelling. Previously, she was an early employee at the innovative newsletter startup, 6AM City, which distributes hyperlocal news and engages in conversations with audiences in 7 Southeastern cities. She is passionate about supporting local journalism and has worked at the Fort Collins Coloradoan and at the Denver Westword.

A+ wants to hear from you! 
A+ Colorado is asking you for stories  about the first week of school. How has your school responded to the unique challenges of this school year? Highlight a teacher’s adaptability or a school administrator’s relentless encouragement of staff and send your story to

Schmidt Futures: Tools Competition
The Futures Forum on Learning: Tools Competition invites teachers, students, researchers, technologists, and ed tech leaders to propose a tool, technology, platform, or research project that can accelerate recovery from COVID-19-related learning loss for students between grades K-12, and advance the field of learning engineering.

Nice White Parents – Podcast from Serial and the New York Times
A new podcast series explores themes familiar to those working in public education in Denver. Chana Joffe-Walt, reporter for National Public Radio digs into decades of school reform and attempts at integration in New York City Public Schools, focusing on the story of one particular school building in Brooklyn. “..when Chana Joffe-Walt, a reporter, looked at inequality in education, she saw that most reforms focused on who schools were failing: Black and brown kids. But what about who the schools are serving? In this five-part series, she turns her attention to what is arguably the most powerful force in our schools: White parents.” Check out the series here.

Colorado Youth Congress – Coaching opportunity
The Colorado Youth Congress is looking for two Campaign Coaches to help our members become transformative leaders. This person will be the facilitator of a group of 20-25 of the top high school leaders throughout the state. If you’re an accomplished facilitator, you care deeply about issues of justice and you’re highly organized, please consider applying before the deadline of September 11th.

Education Week: A guide to help students catch up
There are some proven methods for identifying students who fall behind academically and intervening to help them catch up on learning, but there are some essential pieces that schools need to have in place for any of the academic supports to be successful. Here’s a guide to what that looks like.

The New Teacher Project – School response toolkit
The New Teacher Project (TNTP) has created a COVID-19 school response toolkit that includes resources for navigating extended school closures during the coronavirus outbreaking and planning for reopening. You can browse the toolkit to find resources about at home learning, engaging families, navigating state and federal policy among other topics.

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