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


A+ Stay Sharp: 9.24.2020

By Nate Faflick

Good morning! We hope that in the midsts of serving the state of Colorado and our students, you’ll be able to get out and enjoy the golden leaves during this first week of fall.

In this week’s Stay Sharp newsletter, you can find:

  • A conversation with ALG and TEN about the challenges students are facing during online education.
  • A blog post about the RISE Education Fund announced earlier this month. Applications for up to $4 million are open now.
  • A statement about DPS’s Know Justice, Know Peace Resolution which  Board of Education is voting on today and how it’s a step forward for civics education in Colorado.
  • News and events from the Colorado education ecosystem.

What we’ve been up to this week

Research, reporting, and writing from A+ Colorado

Interview with African Leadership Group and Transform Education Now // A+ Colorado

A+ Colorado’s Director of Advocacy, Valeria Contreras, recently spoke with Ousman Ba with the African Leadership Group, and Transform Education Now Co-founders Ariel Smith and Nicholas Martinez.

They discuss challenges that students and families are experiencing as they navigate the return to online education.

“I spoke to a parent recently, whose child is in a critical year. Their biggest fear is their student being behind, and that impacting their future. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, and not understanding the inequities; and disparities throughout the education system is scary for families,” said Ousman Ba.

This interview illuminates the experiences of families in a variety of districts throughout the state, how the education community is monitoring student’s academic progress during remote learning, and more. You can view the full conversation on the A+ Colorado YouTube channel.

Learn about the Colorado RISE Education Fund: $32.7 million toward learning during COVID-19 // A+ Colorado 

On Wednesday, September 9, Gov. Jared Polis announced the Colorado RISE (Response, Innovation, and Student Equity) Education Fund. Grants ranging from $250,000 and $4,000,000 will be awarded to applicants “to address the learning challenges related to the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19.”

The Brookings Institute reported that the “COVID slide” may affect math and reading comprehension for years to come. Estimates already show one year of growth in these subjects may be lost for younger students.  The New York Times editorial board has dubbed this the “COVID generation,” as students may be academically affected for years to come.

Since March, teachers and administrators have been working extremely hard and innovating daily to reach and engage students against extreme challenges. They have been moving mountains to provide an education with restrictions they never would have (nor could have) imagined before.

With Gov. Polis’ announcement, the state of Colorado is stepping up in a tangible way to support these educators who are filling in the gaps for our state’s students.

Here’s what you need to know about the RISE grants.


Hot takes 

Musing, questions, and ideas from this week in education. 

This musing comes from A+’s president, Van Schoales. 

Denver Public Schools announced the “Know Justice, Know Peace Resolution on Friday.” According to reporting by the Denver Post, the resolution “seeks to ‘add more comprehensive historical and contemporary contributions of Black, Indigenous and Latino communities to K-12 curriculum’ districtwide” and is named after a podcast hosted by students from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College.

You can hear Vernon Jones Jr. reflecting in his video “Why aren’t we doing this,” on how a school trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. last year was the inspiration that led to the initiative led by DMLK high schoolers.

“Recognizing & honoring student power is a baseline expectation, not innovation. Same is true for parent & staff power. Power does exist, it shouldn’t be circumvented but connected to, so WE co-create a desired reality. Innovation status is the freedom to deliver with WE power,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Major props to Principal Grayson and all the educators and community members who responded in a way that said ‘that’s a darn good question (listening to young people and giving power to their voice and ideas), let’s do it (growth, learning, change, action)!’,” replied Dr. Jesús G. Rodríguez executive director of the BUENO Center at CU Boulder.

The resolution will be presented to the Board of Education today (Sept. 24) and voted upon in October.

If the resolution passes (which we hope it does), it will be a positive step towards creating a more equitable education which reflects students’ lived experiences, and centers education around student voice.

Civics education is vital to teaching anti-racism in schools, including “teaching that the United States was not created based on shared ancestry,” as it is highlighted by Max Booth in his Washington Post column about civics education.


Working for the students

News, dispatches and highlights from organizations working tirelessly to improve public education in Colorado and beyond.

Denver Public Schools announced the “Know Justice, Know Peace Resolution on Friday.” According to reporting by the Denver Post, the resolution “seeks to ‘add more comprehensive historical and contemporary contributions of Black, Indigenous and Latino communities to K-12 curriculum’ districtwide” and is named after a podcast hosted by students from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College.

You can hear Vernon Jones Jr. reflecting in his video “Why aren’t we doing this,” on how a school trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. last year was the inspiration that led to the initiative led by DMLK high schoolers.

“Recognizing & honoring student power is a baseline expectation, not innovation. Same is true for parent & staff power. Power does exist, it shouldn’t be circumvented but connected to, so WE co-create a desired reality. Innovation status is the freedom to deliver with WE power,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Major props to Principal Grayson and all the educators and community members who responded in a way that said ‘that’s a darn good question (listening to young people and giving power to their voice and ideas), let’s do it (growth, learning, change, action)!’,” replied Dr. Jesús G. Rodríguez executive director of the BUENO Center at CU Boulder.

The resolution will be presented to the Board of Education today (Sept. 24) and voted upon in October.

If the resolution passes (which we hope it does), it will be a positive step towards creating a more equitable education which reflects students’ lived experiences, and centers education around student voice.

Civics education is vital to teaching anti-racism in schools, including “teaching that the United States was not created based on shared ancestry,” as it is highlighted by Max Booth in his Washington Post column about civics education.

We want to hear from you

As we reflect on our “Education Justice Now” webinar, we want to hear from you about future webinars and resources you’re interested in.

  • What questions do you have about navigating the tricky education system during COVID-19?
  • Who would you be interested in hearing from about access to education? Experts, policy makers, teachers, etc.

Connect with A+

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Want to directly chat with a member of our team? Reply to this email or contact Mary Willson, director of communication and engagement at Mary@apluscolorado.org directly. Meet our staff here.