The act creates the Colorado adult high school program (program) in the office responsible for adult education within the department of education (department). The purpose of the program is to create a pathway for Coloradans who are 21 years of age or older and do not have a high school diploma to attend high school and earn a diploma at no cost. Students may also earn industry-recognized certificates, career and technical education certificates, or college credits at no cost through the program.
The act requires the department to award a grant to a Colorado community-based nonprofit organization (organization) to operate the program as an education provider. The education provider is required to:
- Secure and maintain a building for the program;
- Contribute funding annually for operating and facility costs;
- Hire educators and school personnel, including life coaches who help students navigate academic and personal challenges;
- Propose an academic accountability system with the approval of the department;
- Establish minimum graduation requirements;
- Award Colorado high school diplomas to students who successfully complete the graduation requirements;
- Use an evidence-based educational model that a third-party evaluator has proven effective;
- Develop courses that may be offered to student in person;
- Develop online courses for students who take classes in person and demonstrate academic readiness for remote course work;
- Consult with a nonprofit organization that has successfully implemented an evidence-based educational model for adults in another state;
- Serve all students, regardless of immigration status;
- Enroll no more than 400 students at one time;
- Comply with state and federal laws concerning students with disabilities, including students with accommodations pursuant to section 504 of the federal "Rehabilitation Act of 1973";
- Create individualized education programs for students with disabilities;
- Collaborate with local district colleges, community colleges, area technical colleges, or local career and technical education programs to ensure access to courses that can lead students to graduate with industry-recognized certificates;
- Fund industry-recognized and career and technical certificate programs at no cost to students;
- Create a plan in collaboration with institutions of higher education to authorize teachers to teach courses for students to obtain college credit and to align teacher qualification requirements with the state concurrent enrollment program;
- Operate a licensed, on-site child care center for students with children; and
- Offer transportation assistance to students who enroll in the program.
The department is required to establish a fair and transparent application process in order to select an organization to operate the program. The application process must include input from the office within the department responsible for adult education.
On or before July 31, 2025, July 31, 2026, and March 30, 2027 the education provider is required to report to the department on the status of the program. On or before November 30, 2025, November 30, 2026, and June 30, 2027, the department is required to report the status of the program to the house of representatives education committee and the senate education committee, or their successor committees, including but not limited to:
- Student demographic data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, gender, and disability;
- Accountability measure outcomes; and
- The number of industry-recognized certificates, college credits, and overall average credit attainment that students earn each term.
The program repeals July 1, 2027.
The act appropriates $5 million from the general fund to the department for the program and for legal services.
APPROVED by Governor June 6, 2023
EFFECTIVE June 6, 2023
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)