Gov. Jared Polis (csg copy)

Gov. Jared Polis discusses proposed legislation to improve public school students' math scores during a press conference streamed on Facebook Live Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

Gov. Jared Polis unveiled proposed legislation Tuesday for a new $28 million initiative to improve student math scores over the next two years.

The governor also highlighted the work of 12 schools — including Roosevelt Charter Academy and Chipeta Elementary in Colorado Springs — with a “Math Bright Spot Award” and $50,000 from the federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds.

These schools, the Polis administration said, demonstrated “exceptional growth in math achievement since 2019.” 

The funds will be used for tutoring, expanding student resources and faculty development — among other things.

“We are meeting students, teachers, and families where they are, providing flexibility through meaningful and high-impact out-of-school opportunities that focus on evidence-based math achievement,” Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, said in a statement.

Colorado math scores are down across the board, according to the 2022 Colorado Measures of Academic Success data for grades three to eight. Roughly 40% of students, or fewer, in each grade level met or exceeded expectations in math testing.

Compared to 2019 scores, all grades had fewer students who met or exceeded expectations.

Polis was joined at a news conference Tuesday by lawmakers, educators and parents.

The proposed bill is designed to provide math instruction for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade to bolster math proficiency. 

The Gazette requested, but did not receive, a draft copy of the proposed legislation, which was expected to be introduced Tuesday evening.

The Polis administration trumpeted the announcement as Polis' latest education partnership with the Legislature that includes full-day kindergarten and universal preschool. 

Kate Boyce, principal of Roosevelt Charter Academy, said the District 11 school cited with the “Math Bright Spot Award” has concentrated on developing math intervention plans, including specific goal setting, timelines, strategies for monitoring progress and innovative approaches to student growth.

“But I think (our success) really boils down to our amazing teachers,” Boyce said. “We have teachers who have been in this building for 26+ years. They continue to push themselves, to grow in their profession, and ensure that kids always come first.”

The average teacher tenure at Roosevelt is about 10 years, and staff members are heavily invested in student success, according to Boyce. Students can tell when teachers truly care, she said, and they respond in kind.

Sarah Scott, principal of Chipeta Elementary School in District 11, said the school’s focus on “the whole child” — one in which teachers understand their students as people and as learners — fosters the best environment for academic success.

Teachers use math score data in conjunction with individual student performance to craft their education plans. Sometimes, that means straying from typical instruction of the whole classroom in order to break students into small groups based off of their individualized needs.

“The teachers are really making sure that they’re able to move the kid from their entry point to that next level,” Scott said. “Our community is really strong and inclusive and welcoming. Kids love to come to school.”

Gazette reporters Nick Sullivan and O'Dell Isaac contributed to this report.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.