Gates Salutes 32 RISE Fund Grantees Sharing Over $40 Million to Innovate and Transform Public Education - Gates Family Foundation

Today, Governor Jared Polis announced the second round of Response, Innovation, and Student Equity Education (RISE) Fund awardees to innovate and transform public education. The 19 grants announced today are in addition to the first round of 13 grantees announced in November, bringing the total amount awarded through RISE to over $40 million.

Gates Family Foundation sends a warm congratulations to all 32 RISE fund award winners – we are inspired by their ambition and innovation! We believe these efforts have great potential to leverage creativity and investment to create new opportunities for a diversity of students and communities across our state.

The RISE Fund has brought an unprecedented opportunity to support high-needs school districts, charter schools, early childhood councils, federally recognized tribes, and public institutions of higher education to create sustainable innovations to improve student learning, close equity gaps, and enhance operational efficiency for pre-K-12 through higher education. The RISE Fund utilized federal dollars from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, a pool of discretionary funds created by the CARES Act I and II to support emergency assistance and coronavirus relief in education.

Gates supported the Governor’s Office and the RISE Selection Committee with analysis, tools, and facilitation throughout the review process.

Our engagement has been an incredible source of learning for the Gates team. In the coming weeks and months, we plan to share our learning on both the profound needs this crisis has surfaced, and statewide and regional trends in proposed innovations that could transform systems for kids and families into the future. We look forward to elevating these stories of challenge and opportunity this year.

The second-round RISE Fund grant recipients announced today are below:

  • St. Vrain Valley Schools: $2,793,637 for the development of a full-time summer literacy program for K-5th graders at schools with lower performance across the Cheraw, Estes Park, Las Animas, Montezuma-Cortez, and Sheridan school districts.
  • Plateau Valley High School: $283,485 for an internship and capstone program that teaches students the basics of coding, crop sensor use, data analysis, and comprehensive skills associated with agriculture production.
  • Adams State University: $2,581,747 to create a robust program across all 14 San Luis Valley School Districts, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of San Luis Valley to prepare San Luis Valley students to be a resilient and skilled workforce ready to meet rapidly changing industry demands that fuel the region’s economic growth and vitality.
  • Hayden School District: $1,050,500 for a cross-district program between Hayden and South Routt School Districts with a PK-12 s hands-on curriculum and community engagement around the local food system and agricultural/energy production sustainability to help prepare students for careers in the Yampa Valley.
  • Montezuma Cortez School District RE-1: $257,138 to expand and create cohesion across counseling and advising supports for students from grades 6 – 12, with particular attention to students who are most at risk of academic failure.  This program will help students develop skills through flexible schedules, internships, and personal pathways, in collaboration with local employers, to postsecondary success.
  • Northeastern Junior College: $1,937,177 to enable the institution to better meet the needs and demands of its community by expanding Spanish language programs, outreach, and adult basic education, career programs in nursing and solar energy, and helping to remove barriers for non-traditional students.
  • West Grand School District: $792,998 to support families by expanding early childhood education and programming, growing the early childhood education workforce through high school initiatives, and supporting families who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
  • Bennett School District 29J: $2,207,625 to create a cross-district program for Bennett, Strasburg, and Weld Central to provide training, resources and implementation support to improve student mental health across the region.
  • Academy 360 Charter School: $595,700 for eleven charter schools in the Denver Metro area to extend the school year to address the impacts and learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic for high-needs students.
  • Charter School Innovation Consortium: $1,482,800 for a cohort of 13 charter and innovation schools to create the IDLEA (Increase Diverse Learner Engagement and Achievement) Project, which will deliver strategy and tools to increase engagement for students with disabilities, English language learners, gifted and talented students, and students eligible for free or reduced price lunch, and to share resources.
  • Campo School District RE-6: $295,000 to provide entrepreneurship and service learning for students in areas such as commercial sewing, jewelry manufacturing, engineering, photography and metal/wood manufacturing.
  • Colorado Mountain College: $2,957,466 to rebuild, dramatically grow, and sustainably scale concurrent enrollment opportunities for high schools and local institutions of higher education in rural communities.
  • Park County School District RE-2: $343,091 to expand outdoor science school, remove barriers for K-5th graders, and create mobile early learning services to provide vision, hearing, developmental screenings and services for families in remote areas.
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe*: $2,775,000 for the creation of a comprehensive Science, Technology, Engineering, (Native) Arts, and Math (STEAM) program integrated with Ute arts, language and culture that can serve as a model for other American Indian and indigenous communities in CO and beyond seeking to embed their culture, history, and traditions in educational experiences for their youth and provide wrap around services that support the academic, social emotional, and basic needs of students and families.
  • Adams County School District 14*: $2,159,000 to create the Adams 14 Pathway Alliance, a progressive union between Adams 14 schools, a variety of industry partners, the community (including parents, students, and community members) and higher education institutions to create expanded partnerships with industries and connect secondary students with postsecondary/career opportunities through career and technical education opportunities.
  • Cripple Creek-Victor School District*: $1,491,200 to create a community wide “skills to employment” program for both youth and adults that combines relevant, purpose-driven classroom instruction with paid workforce training linked directly to immediate employment opportunities with the goal of skilling and reskilling the population for livable-wage, in-demand jobs that will also support general economic development and to lift the community out of poverty.
  • New Legacy Charter School*: $250,000 to expand its programming to address students’ social-emotional needs and trauma by implementing restorative practices and helping to ensure all students graduate from high school with a certification, internship, and/or college class to increase employability after high school.
  • Santa Fe Trail BOCES*: $365,000 to create a Pathways to Prosperity program in (Cheraw, East Otero/LaJunta, Las Animas, Rocky Ford, Swink, and Wiley) to transform the career and college readiness approach to meet the current moment with online response and alternative delivery.
  • Pueblo Community College*: $2 million to develop an innovative approach to distance learning for low-income individuals living across primarily rural areas in Colorado. Pueblo Community College will lead a consortium of several Hispanic-Serving Institutions to enable course-sharing across institutions and to train instructors in online teaching practices.

*Due to additional resources for GEER from the federal government, grant amounts are subject to additional negotiation with the Governor’s office with an updated end date of September 2023.

RISE Committee members include Mike Johnston, Dr. Tara Raines, Josh Scott, David Olguin, Maurice Robinson, Marty Guitierrez, Elizabeth Thompson-Barrett, Ernest House, Nina Lopez, Pat Chlouber, Dan Baer, Kelly Latterman,  Jill Anschutz, Jeff Durbin, and Allie Kimmel.