Full-day, free kindergarten will be available consistently across the state for the first time in 2019, providing a stronger start for students and economic relief for parents. High school graduation rates are improving, especially for our county’s Latino and low-income students.
St. Vrain Valley’s enrollment is still growing, but at a slower rate compared to the last 10 years, while Boulder Valley’s enrollment is flat. BVSD’s percentage of students on Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) have also remained flat, while SVVSD’s percentage of students on FRL are trending down.
Overall, graduation rates in Boulder County and Colorado have improved. Persistent gaps in the graduation rates between non-Hispanic white students and their peers who are Latino, Limited English Proficiency, or Economically Disadvantaged demonstrate that wide disparities still exist in our schools.
While voluntary self-reporting on race may lead to an undercount of the minority teacher population, the superintendents of Boulder County’s two school districts said their systems are working to increase diversity as well as cultural competency for all staff.
Third grade reading proficiency is a key predictor for success in school and in life. Yet, less than half of third-graders in St. Vrain Valley and only a little more than half of third-graders in Boulder Valley met grade-level expectations in English Language Arts in 2018.
For the first time in our state’s history, Colorado school districts have the state funding should they choose to provide free, full-day kindergarten. Boulder Valley School District did so, along with just about every other school district in the state. St. Vrain Valley Schools already provided tuition-based full-day Kindergarten, on a sliding scale. It became tuition-free.
Latino students and those from low-income families have a steeper hill to climb than their non-Hispanic white and more financially well-off peers. Across the county and the state, only one out of every four Latino and low-income students reads proficiently.
Students in our school districts are regularly attending school, for the most part. Students on free and reduced lunch, who often face significant challenges outside of school that their wealthier peers do not (such as going to bed hungry), are more likely to miss a critical amount of school days.