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


A+ Stay Sharp: 9.3.2020

By Nate Faflick

As September is officially underway, students and educators have begun the most unconventional school year they’ll likely face in their lifetimes. As teachers navigate the terrain of delivering online instruction and district leadership navigates challenging decisions on reopening plans; A+ Colorado is committed to providing you with news and resources throughout this semester. 

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

  • Outliers Spotlight: District enrollment with a focus on students receiving instructional supports and services.
  • Lessons from the start of schools reopening from A+ Colorado President, Van Schoales. 
  • Resources and opportunities from the education community, including a webinar we are hosting in collaboration with Transform Education Now and Faithbridge featuring local experts who can answer your questions about your rights and the responsibility of schools to provide an equitable education.

A+ Updates

Outliers spotlight: District enrollment with a focus on students in instructional supports and services

Outliers 2020 focuses on information that we know about where students were at academically before COVID-19 swept the globe and our local communities. This dashboard allows you to explore district enrollment trends over the past five years by instruction programs and support services and by race and ethnicity.

Data highlight | This Outliers dashboard shows: 

  • The percentage of students in each district who are experiencing homelessness (the state defines this as any youth who lacks a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence”).
  • Which districts have the highest share of students receiving special education services.
  • Where the largest emerging multilingual student populations are in the state.
  • Plus, how these student populations have changed in the past five years.

Our hope is that this report and interactive data visualizations will help public education stakeholders see how different groups of students were doing academically within and across different school districts across the state before COVID-19, as leaders assess a path forward.

Explore the online interactive data here. 

Rambles blog 

Opening Lessons: Kids need to learn from one another and adults | Van Schoales 

“Going into September, most schools have opened throughout the land: Some in-person, some partially in-person, and some fully online. I have been trying to track what I am hearing and seeing through conversations with folks on the ground — and with lots of reading.”

What is Van learning? Read his Rambles Blog post here. What have you been learning? Reply to this email and let us know.

A+ in the News

Denver Post | Guest Commentary: Denver schools should facilitate learning pods to reduce disparities 

Van Schoales, President of A+ Colorado, recently published guest commentary in the Denver Post on why Denver Public School should facilitate learning pods, and commentary in Complete Colorado on the message being sent from the DPS school board to families.

“The Denver School Board’s recent letter to families asking them to prioritize the school district’s interests above the interests of their children is a remarkable sign that the DPS School Board has completely changed direction after a 20-year march to better meet family needs,” Schoales writes. Read the full commentary here.


Educational Justice Now webinar |  A+ Colorado, Transform Education Now, and Faithbridge 
Families are experiencing grave injustices that deny children an equitable education. Navigating the bureaucracy can feel like an impossible task when there’s no guidance on understanding the rights of your student.

Join the U.S. Office of Civil Rights, ACLU Colorado, and Kate Gerland, special education law attorney as they answer your questions about your rights and the responsibility of schools to provide an equitable education. The event is sponsored by A+ Colorado, FaithBridge, and Transform Education Now.

The event will be a Zoom Webinar, on September 15, from 7-8 p.m. MDT. Stay tuned for the registration link. Interested in being reminded when registration opens? Send nate@apluscolorado.org an email we’ll add you to the list.

Webinar series: Advancing Racial and Ethnic Equity in Head Start | Office of Head Start
This virtual event series will promote anti-bias and anti-racism strategies early childhood education programs can use in their practices, services, and systems.

  • Anti-Bias Teaching and Learning Environments in Head Start and Early Head Start Programs | Sept. 10, 1-2:30 p.m. MST
  • Health Disparities: Responding with a Lens on Race and Ethnicity | Sept. 17, 1–2:30 p.m. MST

COVID-19 recovery will require education data | Data Quality Campaign

“As leaders at the local, state, and federal level weigh tough decisions during the COVID-19 crisis, they will need to prioritize data. From state leaders to those closest to students, no one should make decisions in the dark—especially during this unprecedented and unpredictable crisis.”

Explore Data Quality Campaign’s recent database of information featuring resources in the form of downloadable reports and resource pages, including the following categories:

  • Leveraging Education Data for COVID-19 Recovery
  • Ensuring Access to Data on Student Progress
  • Understanding the Federal Role in Recovery
  • And more.

Western Educational Equity Assistance Center virtual college | Metro State University 

The WEEAC Virtual College is an online learning format designed for educators to participate in workshops that increase awareness in equity related topics. Current courses offered include “Equity in K-12 Education,” “Who Has Bias? We All Do!,” and more. These classes are free to all, and are self-paced.

Podcast: Using 2020 as a teachable moment in education | Aspen Ideas Now 

“The pandemic and social unrest around racism make it a challenging time for students and educators, but it’s also a period of opportunity. Janice Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, says it’s time to address long-standing inequities in education. In her district, the third largest in the country, students have been learning about justice and restorative practices — even before the death of George Floyd. With today’s crises unearthing large disparities, how can educators avoid returning to the status quo?” Listen to this 1 hour podcast from Aspen Ideas Now here.

“Learn with Me at Home” programming | Department of Education & Colorado Education Initiative partner with RMNPBS

“Governor Jared Polis, the Colorado Department of Education, and Colorado Education Initiative are partnering with Rocky Mountain Public Media (RMPBS, KUVO JAZZ, The DROP) to provide K-3 students, their families and caregivers with direct-to-home remote lessons in literacy, science, art and math though Colorado Classroom: Learn with Me at Home.”

The programming starts Sept. 7, and will air for 15 weeks on RMPBS on cable and online. The website, which will include accompanying lesson plans for families, caregivers and their children will launch the same day at: rmpbs.org/ColoradoClassroom.


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