2021 Trinidad State News

RISE Grant to benefit Trinidad State’s connection to area high schools

Trinidad & Valley Campus / February 4, 2021 / Written by Greg Boyce

CDHE logo photo Six Colorado Community Colleges and 70 high schools will benefit from the second round of Response, Innovation, and Student Equity (RISE) grants recently announced by Colorado Governor Jared Polis. The grant totals $2 million.

Trinidad State’s sprawling service area covers about 14,500 square miles in eight counties in southern Colorado. Incredibly, that’s about the same size as Connecticut and New Jersey combined. This grant will allow Trinidad State to buy technology which will better allow college instructors to teach at far away high schools. College classrooms will be equipped with high resolution screens (at the front and back), an instructor station, and cameras that will allow distant high school students an online experience that is as close to an in-person class as possible. “We know students at small and geographically isolated high schools don’t have the same options as students attending schools that may be 10 or even 20 times larger,” said Trinidad State President Dr. Rhonda M. Epper. “These technology improvements will greatly increase the class choices of these students.”

Part of the grant will also pay for graduate-level tuition for high school teachers so they can receive a college-level teaching credential. In order for an instructor to teach college-level courses, they are required by the college’s accrediting agency to possess either a Master’s degree in the content field or a Master’s degree in a different field plus 18 graduate-level credits in the content field. Many high school teachers do not possess this level of education and are just a few courses short of being credentialed to teach at the college level. Having more graduate-prepared teachers will improve the quality of education available in rural areas and increase the number of qualified instructors available to teach at the college level.

Instructors will also be trained to more effectively use this technology and how to be an effective online teacher.

“Every Colorado student should have access to a quality education and these amazing ideas and innovative programs…will help improve our schools and build back stronger than before the pandemic,” said Governor Polis. “I’ve spent the majority of my life pushing for innovation and excellence in education and these focused investments will make a transformative positive impact on the lives of Colorado’s kids and families today and for the future.”

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