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Briefs: Adams State helps its base

Officials of Adams State University Wednesday unveiled a plan to fully cover tuition and fees for qualified low-income students from the San Luis Valley region, one of the state’s poorest areas.

Starting next year, qualifying students will receive sufficient financial aid to cover tuition and fees plus $1,350 a year for other educational expenses. Students can continue to receive the aid in subsequent years if they maintain satisfactory grade-point averages and meet certain course-completion requirements.

The university estimates that about 300 students, some 15 percent of the student body, will be eligible for the program. The scholarship covers graduates of 22 high schools in the region. Adams State is in Alamosa, the valley’s largest town.

Adams State’s student body is 47.5 percent minority, with Hispanic students making up 32 percent. The university is officially designated by the federal government as a Hispanic Serving Institition. Colorado has one of the nation’s largest college attendance and completion gaps between white and minority students. Closing that gap is a key policy objective for both state and institutional policymakers.

Weigh in on state’s future

TBD Colorado, the non-profit group that has been taking the public’s temperature on key issues affecting the state’s future, is reaching out again, this time seeking out online opinions from Colorado citizens.

The group is asking citizens to weigh in on highway improvements, support for transit, universal full-day kindergarten and education funding.

You can log in and join the electronic conversation at www.eTBDColorado.org. (You need to register to participate.)

Learn more about the project on the TBD website and read about the first phase of the group’s work in this EdNews story.

Lawmakers keep cards close to vests

The advocacy group Great Education Colorado, along with a coalition of other organizations, has been lobbying state lawmakers to commit to taking significant action on school funding this session.

Volunteers from the Year of the Student effort fanned out throughout the Capitol a few weeks ago to give legislators questionnaires on the issue. So far only 17 lawmakers, all Democrats, have responded. You can read their responses here.

New Legacy Foundation trustees named

The Colorado Legacy Foundation has announced four new board members, including Tom Gart of The Gart Companies, Ryan O’Shaughnessy of Wapiti Energy, Katherine Peck of the Gill Foundation and Leroy Williams of the Ball Corp. (Get more information in this news release.)

The foundation raises funds for and administers some education programs, primarily in coordination with the Department of Education.

Comcast program offers low-cost internet

Comcast this week announced enhancements to its Internet Essentials program, a two-year-old program that offers low-cost broadband service ($10/month), computers ($150) and training to low-income students and their families.

Colorado is one of the top 10 markets for Internet Essentials with more than 8,300 participants, or more than 6,100 families in the Denver metro area. However, 243,013 Colorado children qualify.

The changes mean that more households are eligible as the program now reaches home school and private school students.

Eligible families must have at least one child who qualifies for free and reduced price lunch.

For general information about Internet Essentials, visit www.internetessentials.com for English, and visit www.internetbasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at www.internetessentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855- 765-6995.

Verizon Foundation seeks school partners

The Verizon Foundation is seeking teams of teachers in 12 public schools for a multiyear program designed to enhance student achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM subjects – by leveraging mobile technologies.

Under the program, each school designated as a Verizon Innovative Learning School will receive a grant of up to $50,000 to support a technology coach and teachers as they participate in a two-year professional development program focused on increasing teacher and student proficiency with mobile technology and boosting student engagement and achievement in STEM. The Verizon Foundation is working with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which will provide coaches and teachers with customized onsite and online training specific to the needs and goals of each school.

The deadline for applying for the program is Monday. To learn about requirements and apply, visit http://www.verizonfoundation.org/vilssurvey/.

Breakfast Games winners announced

George Washington High School in Denver, Northridge High School in Weld County District 6 and Pueblo County High School in Pueblo County District 70 all won “gold” awards and $4,000 in the annual “Breakfast Games,” a contest sponsored by the Colorado No Kid Hungry campaign. The contest, which named two winners in each of three categories plus one additional “special mention” winner, aims to increase participation in school breakfast programs across the state.

The three gold award winners were among 24 high schools across Colorado that participated in the contest, which ran from September 2012 to January 2013. Silver award schools, which each received $2,000, include Centennial High School in Pueblo City School District, Central High School in the Mesa Valley district and Wheat Ridge High School of Jeffco Public Schools. Wasson High School in Colorado Springs District 11 won $1,000 and a special mention for achieving the highest percentage-point increase in school breakfast participation.

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