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News Release - Expanded Learning Opportunities grant helps districts, schools and organizations offer afterschool and summer school programs

Sept. 29, 2022

Expanded Learning Opportunities grant helps districts, schools and organizations offer afterschool and summer school programs 

DENVER - Dozens of afterschool and summer programs will receive $21 million from the ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities grant program intended to help districts and communities accelerate student learning to address the impacts of the pandemic. 

Funded through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds set aside for state-level purposes, the Expanded Learning Opportunities grant is investing in 23 afterschool programs and 37 summer programs for 43 applicants, including school districts, charter schools, libraries, community-based providers and institutes of higher learning across Colorado. Afterschool awards ranged from $16,200 to $1.8 million. Summer school awards ranged from $2,100 to $2 million.

These projects include a variety of needs-based programs designed to accelerate learning, enrich academic experiences, increase school engagement for students and strengthen family engagement. 

Examples include:

  • Project-based STEM learning offered by Colorado Aerolabs, the University of Colorado, High Valley Community Center, and St. Vrain School District during afterschool time and fifth-day academies; 
  • Eagle County School District and the Boys and Girls Club are integrating academic skills with Colorado Essential Skills to support student interpersonal interactions and self-leadership; while 
  • Lake County School District and Center Consolidated School District are pairing workforce and entrepreneurial training to offer experiences aligned with students’ individualized career and academic planning. 

A full list of ELO grant recipients is available on this Google sheet.

“It will take a robust collaboration between schools, families and community organizations to accelerate learning for students who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic," said Katy Anthes, Colorado’s education commissioner. "We are pleased we can invest these funds in efforts by school districts, community organizations and other programs to provide quality year-round learning opportunities.”

In Colorado, 10%, or about $180 million, of the overall ESSER funding was set aside for state-level activities including the Expanded Learning Opportunities grant program. A community engagement process was held to determine Colorado’s  priorities for how to spend the ESSER set aside funding for state-level priorities.

More information on the ESSER State Reserve programs can be found on the program's webpage.