Update: Read our summary of the “State of Reopening Education” in Colorado

Written by: Leslie Colwell
Date Posted: December 18, 2020

Last month, we co-hosted a three-hour virtual event with the Colorado Education Initiative, convening almost 200 educators, district administrators, education advocates and policymakers to discuss the state of reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across two virtual panels featuring system leaders from rural and urban/suburban contexts and discussion breakouts following each panel, participants answered four questions:

  • What hard lesson have you learned in reopening?
  • What’s a proud accomplishment in reopening?
  • What are the “elephants in the room” we need to name?
  • What are bold ideas for the future of education?

Several major themes, and many forward-looking policy ideas, emerged across all of these conversations and are now summarized in “The State of Reopening Education in Colorado: Themes and Ideas for Moving Forward.” Within each of the five themes below, we’ve also synthesized participants’ recommendations for changes in practice or policy:

  1. Existing inequities and opportunity gaps have become even more apparent and have widened.
  2. Building relationships and maintaining frequent communication with families and community members is more critical than ever.
  3. Mental health needs – of students and teachers – have multiplied.
  4. Shifting instruction to remote has been a challenge, but there are silver linings and opportunities.
  5. In these challenging times, school system leaders are restructuring and collaborating more than ever.

Read the summary here. Want to learn more, or share your own thoughts about the state of reopening schools? Reach out to Leslie Colwell, Vice President of Education Initiatives, at leslie@coloradokids.org or 202-641-0865.

Leslie Colwell

About Leslie Colwell

Leslie Colwell serves as the Vice President of K-12 Education Initiatives, leading the Campaign’s work to improve education in the state of Colorado. Before joining the Children’s Campaign in August of 2014, Leslie worked to facilitate partnerships and produce policy agreements, especially in the area of education as an Associate at The Keystone Center. Her professional experience includes working as Legislative Director for State Senator Mike Johnston, managing his education policy portfolio (including his office’s work on HB12-1238, Colorado’s READ Act, and SB13-033, ASSET), and directing a policy fellowship for educators for three summers. Leslie has also worked on Teach For America’s alumni team, and before that taught 6th grade Math and Earth Science as a TFA corps member at Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School in Los Angeles. She currently serves on the board of the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO) and on the steering committee of the Colorado Afterschool Partnership.