Longmont’s Rocky Mountain Elementary School is one of 21 schools across the state being recognized for strong growth in student achievement over the pandemic.
Gov. Jared Polis announced a new special recognition for Colorado schools demonstrating increased excellence since 2019 and the ability to advance learning through challenging times.
The schools will receive the governor’s Bright Spot award and $50,000 dollars of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds to go toward investments like expanding student resources, faculty development, preparing and preventing public health emergencies and other opportunities to benefit student learning. Colorado was allocated more than $44 million from the GEER fund, which is flexible and able to be used at the discretion of the governor.
“Congratulations to these schools that have shown strong improvements in results despite the pandemic and to all those that worked to advance students' learning over the last three years,” Polis said in a statement. “The unprecedented challenges schools faced through the pandemic were difficult to navigate but your schools, teachers and communities showed incredible resilience, and I am honored to highlight you all. I look forward to seeing how you utilize the funding to keep uplifting your students and advance learning.”
Rocky Mountain principal James Garcia described the school’s reaction as excited and proud of the hard work that students, teachers, staff and families have put into advancing student success over the last couple years.
“Our teachers and staff had an unwavering commitment to ensuring that we were best supporting our students’ success,” he said. “Building strong relationships with our students, as well as our families has also been critical. Everyone’s perseverance, hard work and resilience are just a few of the key characteristics exemplified by all of our students, teachers, staff and families.”
To qualify for the award, schools must have advanced more than two bands on their performance framework since 2019. The use of funds will be determined by each school.
“Investing in education ensures Colorado youth are able to thrive and access the high-quality education they deserve,” Polis said. “Thank you to all the faculty, teachers and loved ones who support students and their learning experiences.”
Garcia said while the school is still deciding how to best use the grant, Rocky Mountain plans to continue to support student academic opportunities through a variety of ways. Initial ideas span extended virtual experiences, field trips, mental health, social-emotional skills, physical education, STEM and technology resources.
“This recognition is a direct tribute to our teachers, staff, students, families and the support we have received from our Rocky Mountain community over the past couple of years,” Garcia said.