The Four Cs: Colorado Department of Education Collaborates with Colorado League of Charter Schools to Enhance Communication

Submitted By: Shannon Milliken | Colorado Department of Education: Health and Wellness & Colorado League of Charter Schools

The Colorado League of Charter Schools (CLCS) strives for charter schools in Colorado to have equitable access to resources, funding, and professional development opportunities pertaining to health and wellness initiatives. CLCS identified that partners may mistakenly assume that key resources, funding opportunities, training and other supports shared with districts will trickle down to authorized charters. This is not always the case which often leaves charters excluded from key resources and opportunities. The CLCS sought out to discover how charters receive communication from organizations such as CDE’s Health and Wellness Unit, which has funding opportunities for schools in Colorado.

During a Coffee and Conversations Meeting, CDE’s Health and Wellness Unit (Shannon Milliken) and Colorado League of Charter Schools (CLCS) (Rainey Wikstrom) started a conversation around the inequities of communication and resources that charter schools have access to, specifically around health and wellness. CDE and CLCS continued this topic of conversation outside of the Professional Development meeting and discussed how current communications were being streamlined through the two organizations networks.

While both organizations were willing to currently direct personnel to assist with this issue, the problem of sustainability still remained. With this in mind, CLCS was able to connect with CDE’s School of Choice Unit and brought in CDE’s Health and Wellness Unit to discuss next steps of how to incorporate communications to all charter schools on receiving resources, funding and professional development opportunities. CLCS was also able to share the Healthy Schools Successful Students (HSSS) Healthy Schools Hub as an additional platform to access additional information for charter schools. As an outcome, there is a communication sustainability plan between CDE’s Schools of Choice Unit, CDE’s Health and Wellness Unit and the CLCS to ensure proper communication of resources and support are accessible for all charter schools in Colorado.

The collaborating organizations demonstrated a shared enthusiasm for improving access to key communications to all schools in Colorado, including all charter schools, with the goal of building equitable access to resources/funding for charters. Each organization prioritized coming together to solve a problem and readily found a sustainable solution. Collaborating works to improve outcomes for schools which ultimately impacts students.

“As partners we are always stronger together.”
– Rainey Wikstrom


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