Next State of Learning

CO

Colorado
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Next State of Learning

Colorado

"We had gotten ourselves into a situation where we were really chasing numbers. But now I know we’re doing the right things for kids. We’re giving them chances to be successful -- and that feels very good."

Stephen Hoel, Principal, Rocky Mountain Elementary


In Colorado, state policymakers are following the lead of local communities -- not issuing edicts from above. According to Gretchen Morgan, the Colorado Department of Education’s Interim Associate Commissioner of Innovation, Choice, & Engagement, that’s the sort of arrangement more states should be preparing to follow. “I think our role at the department isn’t necessarily to seek specific legislation. But we are in a unique position to know who’s doing things in different parts of the state. And so, being able to bring them together so they can learn and build momentum is our role; it’s to help facilitate those conversations.

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A COLORADO STORY OF CHANGE

St. Vrain School District

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CO

Colorado
2006
St Vrain School District (SVVSD) decides to recast Skyline High School to have a STEM focus
2008
SVVSD secures a $189 million bond to fund extensive renovations of Skyline High School
2009
SVVSD provides leadership training for its parents
2010
SVVSD receives a $3.6 million Innovation in Education (I3) grant
2011
SVVSD aligns all of its strategic goals to be standards-based
2012
SVVSD receives a $16.5 million Race to the Top-District grant
2015
The Colorado legislature passes HB 1270
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Patty Quinones

"Teaching is an art. And we’ve gotten sidetracked to where it’s testing and assessments -- and we need those things -- but we need to bring back the art of teaching and we need to give people back the sense of how important this work is."

Stephen Hoel

"That’s the beauty of what’s happening right now -- some of our kids haven’t been successful at any academic thing ever, but they get in front of one of those design challenges and then they do something that blows you away."

Gretchen Morgan

"I think there is a very important tension right now between having a way to hold the system accountable for not leaving anybody out and being able to personalize to kids and help ignite what is unique and awesome about each of them."

Heidi Ringer

"This was a building where there were a lot of fights. There was a lot of clash of cultures that no one really had addressed or looked at."