The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Colorado a $15 million supplemental award to continue to improve school readiness, the state announced on Wednesday.
The grant is in addition to a $29.9 million award the state received in December for its “Race to the Top: Early Learning Challenge,” which aims to have every child ready for kindergarten and every third-grader reading proficiently.
“Colorado’s efforts to build the nation’s best Early Childhood Education System continue to be recognized on a national level,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said. “These additional funds will help provide high-quality early childhood educational experiences and services that prepare Colorado’s children for successful outcomes.”
The grant money will increase access to high-quality early learning programs and help develop the capacity of programs and services for children with the highest needs.
“Colorado’s commitment to ensure that children start kindergarten ready to fully engage in learning continues to be recognized and rewarded,” Lt. Governor Joe Garcia said. “This administration has placed a high priority on making sure that all children are valued, healthy and thriving. Securing these additional federal funds will bolster Colorado’s work that is already well underway to enhance quality early childhood services.”
- Evolve the statewide tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to ensure children receive the highest quality programming in all licensed settings and implement a shared services model in high-needs communities for business stability and quality improvement.
- Integrate early childhood learning and development guidelines within all early learning system elements including workforce competencies, comprehensive assessments systems, TQRIS, and parent training and tools.
- Leverage the state’s comprehensive assessment systems to ensure early identification and effective interventions and supports for children with high needs, leading to kindergarten readiness.
- Create a highly-qualified early childhood workforce through a competency based system that supports both formal and informal education opportunities and allows an evaluation of educator effectiveness, linked to Colorado’s K-12 system.
- Expand the kindergarten entry assessment to ensure that Colorado’s children are on the right path to achievement at third grade and beyond.