From the State House to District Schools: Colorado Prioritizes More Learning Opportunities for Its Students

Expanding learning opportunities for students is a priority for Colorado’s education leaders, with budding initiatives in districts across the state. The state’s bold vision to redesign the school experience for its students was developed by the statewide Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Commission which released its report in the fall. Interest is particularly deep and wide in Colorado’s mile-high city where Superintendent Tom Boasberg has made expanded learning time a priority for middle schools. In August, as many as seven Denver schools are expected to launch expanded school schedules after participating in a nine-month planning process to redesign their school days and years. With ongoing technical assistance from NCTL and district leadership, these schools are poised to become district pioneers for expanding learning time.

Just north of Denver in the Adams 12-Five Star Schools district, four schools are also studying how an expanded school calendar could benefit their students. District and school leaders from Adams 12 participated in a “Seeing is Believing Tour” of Expanded Learning Time schools in Massachusetts in February and in onsite coaching with NCTL throughout the year. School leaders in Sheridan, Boulder Valley, and Aurora are also taking advantage of expanded learning time opportunities to propel student growth and school improvement. Colorado’s teachers are deeply involved and invested in the conversation about expanded learning time, as NCTL and the Southwest Teachers Union Reform Network have an ongoing partnership to ensure that their teachers are well-educated about and participate in the planning for expanded learning time.
Much of NCTL’s work in Colorado is the result of its partnership with the Colorado Legacy Foundation (CLF) and the Rose Community Foundation to build awareness of the benefits and opportunities of expanded learning time. Below is a great video produced by CLF on this topic.