Fort Lewis College received $3.6 million for the Southwest Colorado District Collaborative, a partnership between FLC, Pueblo Community College, and southwest Colorado school districts to pool resources and build strong postsecondary pathways for students in the build trades and environmental sciences.
The Southwest Colorado District Collaborative is one of the first awardees in Governor Polis’ Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) Fund. In September, Gov. Polis announced the $32.7 million RISE fund, which supports high-needs school districts, charter schools, and public institutions of higher education in addressing the learning challenges related to the economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19.
“Bringing this type of education straight to the schools and Tribes will break the rural and COVID-19 barriers for students receiving the education they need to become productive and contributing citizens," said La Titia Taylor, director of education for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. "The Southern Ute Indian Tribe Education Department supports Fort Lewis’ vision of building trades pathways.”
“The RISE program provided the ideal opportunity for educational institutions in the Southwest Colorado Collaborative to come together to serve the needs of our diverse students and our local business community," said Fort Lewis College President Tom Stritikus. “We will all be better off because of the Governor’s commitment to innovation and educational outcomes.”
The Southwest Colorado District Collaborative and all RISE grantees will create sustainable innovations that improve student learning, close equity gaps, and enhance operational efficiency for pre-K-12 through higher education.
"We are so thrilled to be able to provide well-deserved resources to implement inspiring projects, partnerships, and ideas. As a former educational entrepreneur, I feel passionate about innovation and excellence in education and look forward to these targeted investments making a real difference for kids and families."
COLORADO GOVERNOR JARED POLIS
“This is an exciting day for Colorado, a real opportunity to learn from the challenges that kids, families, and teachers are going through this year to double down on innovation, better serve students, and improve our schools,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We are so thrilled to be able to provide well-deserved resources to implement inspiring projects, partnerships, and ideas. As a former educational entrepreneur, I feel passionate about innovation and excellence in education and look forward to these targeted investments making a real difference for kids and families."
“As a champion for college and career readiness, this grant will allow us to move quickly forward with the work of an ambitious team of regional K-12 and higher education partners who are ready to enhance the real-life skills of our rural youth across Southwest Colorado,” said Kevin Aten, superintendent for Bayfield School District. “We have been collaborating on this high school and college partnership for over a year, and we are excited to continue the regional work to connect our students with high-paying jobs and careers in the building trades and environmental science.”
All of the recipients were chosen by a group of parents, students, and education leaders.
"These initial recipients of the RISE Fund represent a diverse and forward-focused group of organizations that are each uniquely positioned to support the students and communities who have been hit hardest by COVID," said Mike Johnston, chair of the RISE grant selection committee and CEO of Gary Community Investments. "These innovative leaders will not only help us find solutions to the crises created by COVID, but will also envision and build new approaches to solving some of the long-standing educational inequities that need powerful, fresh ideas built from the ground up."
RISE award winners come from diverse geographic regions, including Pikes Peak, Southwest Colorado, Northwest, West Central, North Central, and the Metropolitan regions. RISE award winners represent a wide range of eligible applicants, including small and mid-size school districts, BOCES, charter schools, and mid- and large-size public institutions of higher education.
RISE Committee members include Mike Johnston, Dr. Tara Raines, David Olguin, Maurice Robinson, Marty Guitierrez, Elizabeth Thompson-Barrett, Ernest House, Nina Lopez, Pat Chlouber, Peter Goff, Jill Anschutz, Jeff Durbin, and Allie Kimmel.