Eagle County Schools receives some funds from statewide emergency program | VailDaily.com

Eagle County Schools receives some funds from statewide emergency program

Fund to address pandemic impacts will help purchase smart classroom technology at local high schools

In June, Gov. Jared Polis announced $44 million in funding for school districts, schools, and institutions of higher education, and other education-related entities to address the impact of COVID-19. The funding, also known as the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds or GEER, will go toward addressing pandemic impacts and student needs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges across our state, but it has also created new opportunities to support innovation, increase equity, and improve our ability to offer high-quality blended instructional models across our state,” Polis said in a release. “We are grateful to our federal partners for providing flexible funding that we can utilize to support Colorado students from preschool to higher education, increase capacity in rural areas, and invest in innovative approaches to improving student learning that can be replicated and scaled for years to come.” 

According to a release, the funding will be split and distributed into four areas:

  • Around $33 million will be distributed via a grant program intended to address the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning, with a specific focus on students and schools that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic
  • Between $5 million and $6 million will go toward increasing capacity for Colorado Empowered Learning, which is a state-supported online program for learning
  • $1 million will go toward providing financial support and aid for students pursuing higher education
  • $3 million will be invested in educator recruitment and retention

Locally, Eagle County Schools did apply for the grant program established by the funding. According to Sandy Farrell, the district’s chief operating officer, it applied for $1.3 million from the fund but was not awarded any money.

However, Farrell added that Colorado Mountain College applied and did receive a grant for “smart classroom technology for a classroom at each high school for expanded on-site concurrent enrollment class opportunities.”

The technology is currently being installed within the district, after being delayed “due to the delay in receiving supplies,” she said.

“Each participating school district will receive grant funds to support initiatives to improve concurrent enrollment access for its students,” Farrell said.

The district and college have been working together to expand concurrent enrollment, also known as dual enrollment, courses over the past few years. The program allows high school students to simultaneously earn high school and college credit. Eagle County Schools also pays tuition expenses for students who pass the classes.

These funds will be awarded to schools incrementally and to date, the Eagle County School District has received a total of $189,124, Farrell said.

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