Federal grant funding broadens access to college level courses and labs to Northwest Colorado high schools
Editor’s note: this story has been updated to clarify the name of the grant program and add metrics for students reached.
Colorado Northwestern Community College continues to push for wider access to concurrent enrollment classes and innovative STEM labs through a federal grant program.
Two years ago, CNCC applied for a Rural Innovation Stronger Economy grant provided by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund to facilitate concurrent education in Northwest Colorado using creative technology. According to CNCC staff, the grant was awarded for just over $790,000.
With funding from the RISE grant, CNCC installed over 20 Promethean interactive learning boards in eight different school districts in Northwest Colorado, including Moffat County High School. The boards provide access to a larger catalog to college courses taught by college instructors.
Through the project, CNCC started broadcasting live college courses to local high schools. As a result, CNCC’s concurrent enrollment has grown significantly, fulfilling half of the RISE grant promises.
CNCC’s concurrent enrollment program is also serving high schools in Rangely, Hayden, North Park, West Grand, East Grand, Ridgeway and North Fork using the Promethean boards. After deploying the Promethean Boards concurrent enrollment increased from 347 to 580 students from the Fall 2020 to Fall 2022.
Recently in Rio Blanco County, residents may have seen three brand new STEM to-go labs parked in front of the Rangely CNCC campus. CNCC intends to use these trucks and trailers to bring STEM science courses to local school districts that don’t have on-site lab resources to receive college credit.
The mobile STEM labs will primarily provide biology, chemistry, and physics labs to schools throughout the region. CNCC staff said that the STEM to-go labs will be made available to any of the schools who request them starting in the fall of 2023.
The STEM to-go labs will fulfill the second half of the RISE grant promises. CNCC will be taking the mobile labs to school districts this spring for demonstrations, with the aim of offering lab courses in the fall of 2023.
Over the last two years the RISE grant has brought over $800,000 worth of technology to Northwest Colorado and CNCC representatives said they are proud to be the educational steward of these funds.
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