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Department of Higher Education partners with K-12 to improve Educator Effectiveness

Federal grant to assist rural and urban educators, improve teacher quality


Denver – The Colorado Department of Higher Education (DHE) recently announced an effort to extend professional development and college coursework to educators in large, urban and small, rural school districts, with the goal of boosting K-12 student achievement by improving teacher quality.


The effort is being funded by nearly $680,000 in federal grants, known as the Improving Teacher Quality Grants, to fund partnerships between institutions of higher education and school districts. The grants are part of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind.


“Studies consistently tell us that the greatest potential to influence children's education is a highly effective teacher,” said DHE Executive Director and Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia. “That is why this partnership is so important. The more that higher education and K-12 can work together to improve teacher quality and effectiveness through professional development, the more we are helping our students succeed.”


School districts that will benefit from the partnerships include Denver Public Schools, Greeley District 6, and five east central rural BOCES districts.


These districts failed to meet federal guidelines for qualified teachers and annual student progress for three consecutive years. All of the districts serve student populations, at least 20% of which come from families with incomes that fall below the federal poverty line.


Projects at Colorado colleges and universities to receive grant funding include:


  • The University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education, Denver Public Schools, and the University of Denver’s Division of Natural Science and Mathematics will partner to support elementary teachers in improving their content mastery in order to improve students’ achievement. This project will develop a sustained, coached professional development series to address identified gaps in mathematics and science K-8 content that elementary teachers need to ensure that they are prepared to support all students to achieve in mathematics and science.
  • The University of Northern Colorado’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Greeley District 6, and five east central rural districts will partner to provide professional development in the area of linguistically diverse education with instruction and follow up and on site coaching focused on strategies to build students’ proficiency in English.