Colorado gets early education award


The federal Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services are giving the state of Colorado a $15 million supplemental award to Colorado. This funding is in addition to the previous $29.9 million dollar award Colorado received last December from the Race to the Top: Early Learning Challenge.

In December, Colorado received $29.9 million to help fund the state’s plans to improve school readiness. 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. The supplemental money will accelerate Colorado’s vision of having every child ready for kindergarten; and every third-grader reading proficiently.

In order to do this, state education officials plan to change the 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. Training parents is also included as part of the evolution of this program.

Teacher training and child evaluations will also go through changes to improve the overall education workforce and more accurately identify children’s abilities starting at pre-kindergarten through elementary school.

The Race to the Top program provides merit based education funding grants to states that submit improvement plans for their local education system. As a supplement, the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services launched an early childhood education focused initiative to improve pre-kindergarten and early elementary school programs.

“Colorado’s efforts to build the nation’s best Early Childhood Education System continue to be recognized on a national level,” Governor Hickenlooper said.