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EARSS Program Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for an EARSS Grant?

All eligible applicants must have fiscal agents operating in the state of Colorado. All eligible applicants for an EARSS grant must meet the grant criteria established for each of the annual competitive Request for Proposal processes. Eligible applicants, established by state statute, include:

  • School districts;
  • Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) operating schools and/or serving students enrolled in member districts;
  • Non-public/non-parochial schools working through agreements to serve public school students;
  • Alternative schools within a school district; 
  • Charter schools either through their authorizing district or the Charter School Institute; and
  • Facility schools approved pursuant to C.R.S. 22-2-407


What kinds of programs and strategies can be funded with EARSS grants?

The delivery of these services are within the context of direct services to EARSS-eligible students (expelled students receiving alternative education services during the term of expulsion, students at risk of expulsion and habitual truancy).

EARSS program evaluations have identified the following activities and strategies as most effective in contributing toward meeting grantees’ performance goals. Additional effective programs, strategies or frameworks follow this list.

Credit recovery  -Refers to programs/activities that allow a student to continue earning course credits and to advance toward graduation and/or facilitates accrual of credits, especially in core courses (math, science, reading and social studies). May include self-paced digital content or online programs.

Positive staff-student mentoring and relationships - Refers to one-on-one or small group mentoring by staff and student connections to a caring adult. Strategies and activities may include, but not limited to advising, coaching, problem solving, and self-esteem building.  This is often done by grant-funded FTE such as behavior interventionists, attendance advocates, family liaisons, tutors, mentors, counselors and social workers, etc.  Often involves a case management structure.

Essential Skills Building. (Formerly called Character Education) Refers to programming that addresses the development of creativity and innovation skills, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, communication and collaboration skills, social and cultural awareness, civic engagement, initiative and self-direction, flexibility, productivity and accountability, character and leadership.

Behavioral plans for habitually truant students - Refers to action plans to address truancy and specifies details for follow-up and monitoring. Plans may feature alternatives to court referrals for those identified as habitually truant and are developed in coordination with students, parents, school personnel and community-based providers.

Attendance contracts - Refers to written agreements to address attendance issues. Often includes strategies to address barriers to attendance and action plans to improve attendance.

Tutoring - Refers to one-on-one or small group instruction to supplement learning and support academic improvement. May include: Homework help, instruction in core courses and instruction to assist in credit recovery and grade advancement.

Online and technology-based learning - In this context, refers to a full-time Online Education Program, which in Colorado is defined as ..."a non-religious, non-sectarian full-time online education program or school authorized by..., that delivers a sequential program of synchronous or asynchronous instruction from a teacher to a student primarily through the use of technology via the internet in a virtual or remote setting. It is not an online program if there is not a teacher at a distance, who is responsible for the grading and teaching of the student, and there is not instruction over the internet.

High School Equivalency preparation/classes - Includes classes to prepare for the High School Equivalency, practice testing and/or testing services (off-site or on-site) that are offered to EARSS participants.

Extended day learning (Before and After school opportunities) - Includes programs that serve school-age children and youth during the non-school hours, including before and after school, on weekends and school holidays, and during the summer.

Additional programs, strategies or frameworks:

  • Restorative practices in response to, or as an alternate to exclusionary discipline
  • Transition Planning/ Staffing between facility and school
  • Wraparound case management.
  • Counseling
  • Multi-tiered system of support (MTSS).
  • Service Learning.
  • Court mandated case management.
  • Diversion from truancy court.
  • Student Attendance Review Board (SARB).
  • Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) services (drug/ alcohol/ substance abuse treatment)
  • Culturally responsive interventions.
  • Professional development days. 
  • Individual career and academic planning
  • Postsecondary Preparation.
  • Model, Evidence-based Programs

What are the allowable uses of EARSS grant funds?

The majority of EARSS grant funds must be used to provide educational and student support services directly to enrolled students who become expelled (but served) and/or are at-risk of being expelled and/or are habitual truants. At-risk students may include suspended students and students at-risk of being suspended.

EARSS grant budgets may include salaries, benefits, purchased professional and technical services, other purchased services, supplies, administrative costs not to exceed 15% of the grant award, and non-capital equipment.

In regards to salary and benefits, staff most frequently funded by EARSS grants are often incorporated into a Multi-tiered System of Support, such as supplementing a Response to Intervention team or to intensify services for what is known as Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention. Positions most often include job or role titles such as:

  • behavior interventionists
  • attendance advocates
  • student success advocates
  • family liaisons
  • counselors and social workers
  • tutors and mentors
  • restorative practices coordinators
  • transition coordinators

At a minimum, and per the statute, EARSS grant proposals have to include a plan for the provision of educational services, including the type of educational service, estimated cost, and criteria used to evaluate the effectiveness of the educational services provided.

Educational services mean any of the following types of services to provide instruction in the academic areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies:

  • Tutoring services
  • Alternative educational programs
  • Career and technical education programs

Through inter-agency agreements pursuant to C.R.S. 22-33-204, services may include but are not limited to:

  • Educational services required to be provided to expelled students under section 22-33-203 (2) and to at-risk students pursuant to section 22-33-202
  • Counseling services
  • Substance use disorder treatment programs, and
  • Family preservation services

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