Colorado Gov Now!

  • K-5 Teachers: FREE Computer Science Workshops

    K-5 Teachers: FREE Computer Science Training

    School Districts: Deadline for Online Applications 2/28/19

    Up to 1,500 elementary school teachers across Colorado could receive training this year to teach basic computer science concepts in their classrooms, thanks to a new partnership between Colorado School of Mines and the Colorado Department of Education.

    The state will provide funding to the Mines Computer Science Department for free, one-day workshops for K-5 teachers across the state. School districts can begin recruiting teachers for this professional development opportunity and apply for training slots including funds to provide stipends to participating teachers who complete the training.

    “The goal is to train at least one teacher per elementary school in the state of Colorado,” said Tracy Camp, professor and head of the Computer Science Department at Mines. “Over the years there's been a lot of research on how we change the demographics in computer science and one of the conclusions from that research is we need to get down into the K-12 level. Computers in the classroom today are being used more as a tool, not as a potential career. Students are learning computer skills such as how you develop a presentation on the computer, not how you can process data or develop new tools that could be useful for whatever you’re working on.”

    The state’s Computer Science Teacher Education Grant Program, launched in 2017, provided $440,000 in professional development grants for teachers in its first year and another $380,000 in 2018. The grants have been awarded to districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services and charter schools for professional development in computer science for K-12 teachers. The state legislature in 2018 allocated an additional $500,000 specifically for teachers at the elementary school level, a portion of which will fund the Mines-CDE partnership.

    “We have thousands of computer science jobs available and not enough students graduating with degrees to meet the demand," said Education Commissioner Dr. Katy Anthes. “Through this partnership with the Colorado School of Mines, elementary school teachers across the state will get the proper training to help expand the learning opportunities for our youngest students. We hope this inspires students to continue gathering computer science skills throughout their academic careers that can lead to meeting the demand in the years to come.”

    The Mines Computer Science-Fundamental Approach to Standards Training (CS-FAST) curriculum will specifically focus on teaching computational thinking, a skill that is valuable no matter what career path students ultimately pursue, Camp said.

    “Computational thinking embodies the process used by computers to solve problems – from breaking down the problem into a way that can be solved efficiently with a series of ordered steps, to creating an effective decision from the results,” Camp said. “To apply computational thinking is to think like a computer scientist.”

    “Just like reading and writing, being able to think computationally is valuable,” she said. “If you’re given a problem, it’s about how you would go about solving the problem – not necessarily on the computer.”

    At the CS-FAST workshops, participating teachers will get hands-on training in CS Unplugged, a collection of free learning activities that help teach computational thinking – all without the use of a computer – as well as instruction on coding. Participating teachers will also learn the Computer Science Teaching Association teaching standards for their specific grade level.

    School districts may also apply for computer science training for elementary teachers by choosing to engage directly with two organizations – Bootup and mindSpark Learning – as well as other providers that meet qualifications for the Colorado Computer Science Education Grant program.

    For more information about each computer science professional development option for elementary teachers and for district details on how to apply, visit Computer Science Grants for Teachers or contact Joanna Bruno at bruno_j@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6571.

    "We have thousands of computer science jobs available and not enough students graduating with degrees to meet the demand."—Colorado Commissioner of Education, Dr. Katy Anthes

  • High School Seniors: Complete Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    High School Seniors: Complete Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a student's ticket to receiving scholarships, grants and work studies. However, only 48 percent of Colorado high school seniors completed the form last year. Over the last two years, that translates to an estimated $92 million in financial aid left on the table—unused taxpayer money that could bridge the gap for tens of thousands of students.

    Colorado can no longer afford to rank toward the bottom in statewide FAFSA completion. That’s why the Colorado Department of Higher Education and Colorado Department of Education are launching the Get Your Piece of the Pie campaign—and we want everyone to get involved! Here’s how:

    • Share the Gov.'s video on social media and encourage students to fill out the FAFSA.
    • Download talking points, posters, student handouts and more on our FAFSA portal.
    • Volunteer at a school. Schools host FAFSA workshops, financial aid nights and senior rallies year-round. Reach out to a nearby high school and find out how to help!

    Why does FAFSA completion matter?
    Completing the FAFSA significantly increases the odds that students will continue their education—especially among low-income and minority students. Studies show that 90 percent of high school seniors who complete FAFSA attend college directly after high school, compared to just 55 percent of seniors who do not complete. Boosting the FAFSA completion rate will boost the college-going rate.

    Questions?
    For more information, email CDHE Academic Project Manager Stephanie Ricker. stephanie.ricker@dhe.state.co.us

  • Colorado's 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

    Colorado's 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

    New economic contribution numbers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife show significant growth in Colorado's outdoor recreation economy

    On October 26, 2018, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced new economic contribution numbers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) showing significant growth in Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy. The Governor also signed Executive Order B 2018-010 creating the Inter-Agency Trails and Recreation Council. The Council will advance the vision of the “Colorado the Beautiful” initiative and promote outdoor recreation and conservation in Colorado.

    “Coloradans, and visitors, are taking advantage of our beautiful outdoor spaces,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Our goal is to ensure every Coloradan has access to the outdoor opportunities our state has to offer. This executive order moves us another step closer to that goal.”

    In 2017, outdoor recreation contributed $62 billion to Colorado’s economy and $35 billion to the state’s Gross Domestic Product - which is more than 10 percent. The impact of the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado has almost doubled since CPW's previous analysis in 2013.

    For the first time, this analysis captures the economic impact of outdoor activities occurring close to home such as picnicking at a neighborhood park, riding on an urban bike path, or running on a local trail.

    “Colorado has seen dramatic growth in how the public utilizes our vast opportunities for outdoor recreation,” said Bob Randall, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources. “This speaks to the collaborative work done by government and non-governmental organizations to protect the land, wildlife and water resources that make the Colorado experience so exceptional.”

    Outdoor recreation supports 511,000 direct jobs, comprising nearly 19 percent of the entire labor force in Colorado. Both rural and urban communities benefit from the economic contribution of outdoor recreation. More than 20 percent of economic output and more than 25 percent of the jobs associated with outdoor recreation are based in the northwestern corner of the state.

    Gov. Hickenlooper launched “Colorado the Beautiful” in 2015 with the vision that, within a generation, every Coloradan lives within ten minutes of a park, trail, or open space. As Colorado’s population continues to grow and demographics diversify, it is important to provide a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities that serve the needs of an evolving public. The new Council will work to maximize existing opportunities that advance sustainable recreation for all Coloradans.

    State agencies represented on the Council include the Department of Natural Resources, CPW, Office of Economic Development and International Trade which houses the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and Colorado Tourism Office, Department of Transportation, Department of Local Affairs, Department of Public Health and Environment, and Great Outdoors Colorado.

    Read the full executive order and see the economic impact data.

  • Western Region OneSource

    Western Region OneSource

    Grand Junction Facility Serving 40,000+ Service Members, Veterans & Family

    A state-owned, former Colorado National Guard armory in Grand Junction is on its way to becoming the future home of Western Region OneSource. The facility will serve more than 40,000 Colorado service members, veterans and their families living in 24 counties along the Western Slope.

    "With the Governor's leadership, we will increase our capacity to assist Colorado service members, veterans, and their families, making Colorado even more of a military- and veteran-friendly state," The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Loh said. "The addition of a Western Region OneSource will centralize resources under one roof, making it easier for those who serve or have served, and their families, to take that first step in obtaining assistance."

    Veterans are a growing population across Colorado. More than 400,000 veterans live in Colorado, with about 10 percent living along the Western Slope.

    Located at 482 28 Road in Grand Junction, OneSource is close to a major veteran-serving medical facility. The Grand Junction VA Medical Center is already a destination for about 15,000 veterans in the western region.

    Although OneSource isn't scheduled to open until May 2019, the DMVA is already accepting sponsorship and partnership applications. The DMVA needs to raise about $250,000 through sponsorships to cover the cost of furniture and equipment. Community veteran service providers will be able to rent space in the 14,000-square-foot facility.

    Help make this great resource even greater—become a sponsor or service provider!

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