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

StaySharp newsletter: 11/12/20

Good morning Colorado,

We know it’s been a crazy post-election week. Last Thursday, we sent out a special email digging into what the election results mean for students and schools as a follow-up to our election guide.

In case you missed it, here is a summary of the outcomes related to education, curated from local media across our state. A huge shoutout to the tireless journalists working to keep us informed during this important election.

Colorado residents voted to increase funding for students through multiple ballot measures:

  • Proposition EE | Tobacco tax
  • Amendment B | The Gallagher Amendment
  • Mill Levy & Bond – 4A & 4B – DPS

Below, learn about the second deadline for the RISE fund, a new Aurora coalition, and more. 

Congrats to the first round of RISE Fund Winners // Learn about the Colorado RISE Education Fund: $32.7 million toward learning during COVID-19

The first round of the Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) Fund winners were announced this week. The $32.7 million grant fund was announced in September by Governor Polis, which will use federal funds from the Emergency Education Relief Fund, “to support high-needs school districts, charter schools, and public institutions of higher education in creating sustainable innovations to improve student learning, close equity gaps, and enhance operational efficiency for pre-K-12 through higher education.”

Thirteen community-designed projects were given funding, from 86 first-round applicants.

The second-round grant deadline is Dec. 19. We put together a guide to the RISE grants – check it out here.

Updates from A+’s advocacy and research teams
New Aurora Coalition

Valeria, A+’s Director of Advocacy is involved with starting an Aurora Coalition, with the goal to holistically support Aurora students.

“We want trust and strong relationships in the Aurora Coalition. This space is for folks to be able to share updates and ask/get support and or feedback, a time to brainstorm. We also want to be aligned and work on things that organizations and folks are already working on vs. creating a new campaign and possibly duplicating or co-opting current efforts. Our goal is to holistically support Aurora students.”

If anyone has any ideas, and or suggestions for the Aurora Coalition please reach out to Valeria at

Congrats to Stephen Fusco for a successful PhD dissertation proposal
On Monday, A+’s VP of Policy and Research, Stephen, officially became a doctoral candidate. He passed the oral defense for his dissertation proposal with no revisions.

Stephen’s area of scholarship as he finishes his PhD in Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Denver is the overidentification of students of color with dis/abilities and the impact of  legal cases involving special education issues.

Are you interested in having Stephen speak on this subject, in an effort to disrupt cycles of ableism and racism in future education leaders? Reach him at

ICMYI: How student engagement with remote learning is a shared responsibility for working families// A+ Colorado

Valeria Contreras is the Advocacy Director at A+ Colorado. During the pandemic, she has been working from home and supporting her niece and nephew with online schooling. This is a first-person perspective. 

“I am in a position of privilege and have the opportunity to work from home since I can do most of my work from my computer and over the phone. My sister, and a like many other folks across the country, do not have that privilege.

My sister is not the only person that has had to figure out how to support her children in school while also having to continue working to provide financially for her family. In our house and family, we truly live by the saying, “todos necesitamos de todos.” It’s a proverb that my mother constantly says to us and it’s similar to the African proverb, “it takes a village.” While my sister is at work, I am supporting my niece and nephew with their online schooling at home. We’re doing what we can to make sure our students are successful. And I know that we are not alone.

Historically, family engagement in schools from families of color has always looked different.”

Continue reading Valeria’s perspective here.