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Education Briefs

More scholarships for Colorado students

The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative announced late last week the addition of 12 new organizations as Community Partner Programs offering two-year post-secondary grants of between $50,000 and $75,000 for underserved populations.

The Scholarship Initiative was created to increase the opportunities of post-high school degrees for students of color and those coming from low-income households. Starting in 2014, $6.8 million was awarded to 28 programs serving more than 14,000 students and directly impacting more than 15,500.

More than 90 percent of those students came from traditionally underrepresented populations, and the initiative will now offer $800,000 to New Partner Programs in 2016-17, as well as $2 million in continuing funding to first-round grantees who are known as "Legacy Partners." An additional $450,000 will go toward collective impact initiatives across the state.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education has made a commitment to reducing the "attainment gap," which is the rift between Coloradans who are accustomed to attending college and their peers who are historically less likely to do so. The department continues to work toward that goal through a variety of strategies, including addressing college affordability through programs like the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.

The new Community Partner Program grantees are:

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Business and Schools in Collaboration (BASIC): $75,000

Coldharbour Institute and Western State Colorado University: $70,000

Colorado UpLift: $75,000

Community College of Aurora and Aurora Public Schools: $54,000

Emily Griffith Technical College: $75,000

Front Range Community College, Thomson School District and AVID: $75,000

INSPiRE: $50,000

Kids at Their Best: $75,000

Northeastern Sedgwick County Economic Development Corp. and Colorado Economic Developers (NECO) partnerships: $70,000

Success Foundation and Weld County School District 6: $75,000

The Education Foundation for St. Vrain Valley and Collegiate Crossings: $50,000

YESS Institute: $50,000

State Board maintaining accountability counts

Earlier this month at its regularly scheduled meeting, the Colorado State Board of Education (CDE) advised staff to continue counting groups of historically disadvantaged students separately for points in the state's school and district rating system.

The proposal to use a combined group of historically disadvantaged students, such as English language learners and students eligible for free and reduced-cost lunch, grew out of a discussion among schools including charters, districts and others participating in an accountability work group formed in 2015. Under that group's proposal, each of these traditionally disadvantaged populations are reported individually on the performance reports, but combined for the purposes of assigning points for accountability ratings.

The board's updated recommendation will help the CDE proceed with developing accountability ratings for schools and districts. As done in the past, this is completed by assigning points based on the performance of English language learners, students eligible for free or discount lunch, minority students and students with individualized educational plans, or IEPs.

"This has been a challenging issue with strong opinions voiced by districts, parents and advocacy groups," Steve Durham, board chairman, said in a news release. "After considering all the viewpoints, we advised staff to continue with the current system. At the same time, we would like staff to continue working to develop a hybrid or comprise that will meet the needs of both small and large districts."

CMC adding electric vehicle stations

Colorado Mountain College will add four more electric vehicle charging stations to some of its existing locations with them already.

The Colorado Energy Office is providing a $25,000 grant to CMC through Charge Ahead Colorado — a program that provides funding to both private and public organizations to establish a statewide network of electric vehicle stations. CMC is putting up 20 percent of the total cost of the new project, or a little more than $14,000, for a total cost of approaching $40,000 for all four stations.

In 2014, CMC installed a charging station at six of its campuses, in Breckenridge, Carbondale, Leadville, Rifle and Steamboat Springs, in addition to one at its central administrative offices in downtown Glenwood Springs. That project was also spurred on by a grant from the Colorado Energy Office, and all of the stations offer free charges to employees, students and the general public.

The new grant, which was awarded in early-May, will cover new stations in Aspen, Edwards, Spring Valley and at the Glenwood Center in Glenwood Springs. The new stations will also be free for those who can take advantage.

Construction on the four stations is schedule to begin on July 1, and should be completed by late-September. For more information on electric vehicle charging stations, go to: http://www.chargeaheadcolorado.com.

— Compiled by Kevin Fixler