New bill defines community schools in Colorado

DPS sees improvement after initiative, Daniels Fund Scholars announce


Gov. Polis signs Community School Bill

On April 8, Gov. Jared Polis signed SB 19-102, or the Community Schools Bill, into law. The bill defines a community school and allows public schools to include in its innovation plan that it will operate as a community school.

Community schools offer a range of services to students and parents that address some of the challenges they face outside of the classroom. They strengthen students, support parents and build up neighborhoods by aligning schools with community resources through strategic partnerships, according to a news release from the Colorado Education Association.

“While some Colorado school districts are threatening to turn over the public education of our children to national, for-profit companies, this law gives power to local people who want a better path forward to meet the diverse needs of the students they know and hold dear,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association, in the release. “Community Schools are a phenomenal opportunity for all stakeholders to engage and find local solutions that will support students, families and educators.”

Denver Public Schools already runs a handful of innovation schools in the district, according to its website. For more information on the types of schools in DPS, go to

For more information on SB 19-102, go to The bill was sponsored by Sen. Rachel Zenzinger and State Rep. Brianna Titone, both Democrats representing Jefferson County.

DPS sees boost in student achievement after 2011 initiative

In 2011, DPS started a six-year initiative with new “principal pipelines.” The program implemented rigorous leader standards, high-quality preservice preparation, selective hiring and placement, and on-the-job support and evaluation for its principals, according to a district news release. The initiative cost $85 million for all six participating districts and was funded by the Wallace Foundation. DPS received $12.5 million of that.

A new RAND Corporation report shows that all six districts participating in the initiative, including DPS, saw improvements. Schools with newly placed principals in pipeline districts outperformed comparison schools by 6.22 percentile points in reading and 2.87 percentile points in math, the release said.

RAND is a nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization. For more information on the study, go to

The district hired 176 new principals through this initiative, 63 percent of which are still working in DPS today.

Daniels Fund awards scholarships to 218 students

Last month, the Daniels Fund announced the 218 recipients of its annual scholarship from among 1,850 applicants from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Of the recipients, 134 were from Colorado, a news release from the foundation said. A list of Daniels Fund Scholars can be found at,

The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation. It first began offering the scholarships in 2000 and has since awarded $188 million to more than 4,000 students, including the ones from this year.


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