Governor Hickenlooper, Here It Comes!

Great day for Colorado sTUDENTS!

This is a great day for Colorado students! HB 17-1201 has made its way through the State Legislature and is now headed to Governor Hickenlooper for signature.

ICYMI… HB 1201 is a bill to award a STEM High School Diploma Endorsement to graduates who meet the criteria:

  • Achieve state graduation requirements at a high level of proficiency;
  • Complete a coherent sequence of at least four STEM courses;
  • Receive a qualifying test score in coursework or college testing;
  • Present a successful capstone project and portfolio.

Students who earn the endorsement will have an additional STEM credential attached to their standard high school diploma, similar to a college graduate who earns a major or a minor.

Sen. Zenzinger (left) and Elaine Menardi (right) testify before the Senate Education Committee on 5 April 2017.

Making the High School Diploma Relevant

This endorsement will help make the high school diploma relevant again by ensuring employers and college admissions officers that a student has excelled at a high level of academic achievement. Colorado joins an elite group of states which offer this mark of distinction to high school graduates.

Some schools and districts across the state offer similar endorsements to their students. HB 1201 provides opportunity for all students to earn the credential—from districts big and small, near and far—thereby setting students across Colorado on an equal playing field.

The bill outlines a combination of local-control decision-making as well as regular state graduation requirements. HB 1201 sets forth a statewide standard to serve as an equalizer for students who reside in 108 of the 178 rural or small rural districts in Colorado who might have limited access to resources or funding. HB 1201 is a win/win for everyone.

Ultimately, the bill was designed to bring education and business leaders together to find strategies to address the Colorado Paradox—filling Colorado jobs with Colorado graduates. The capstone project and portfolio call educators and business leaders to create competency frameworks and measures of mastery to demonstrate students will exit high school with college-, career- and community-ready skills. Implementation of the endorsement will be a great exercise of communication and collaboration for all stakeholders invested in the success of their young people.

Stay Tuned!

HB 1201 will reach Governor Hickenlooper’s office soon. With his signature, Colorado students will have a new pathway to demonstrate their hard work and accomplishment. Many thanks to Representative James Coleman and Senators Kevin Priola and Rachel Zenzinger, and all the co-sponsors for their leadership and commitment to Colorado education. Educators and students will benefit greatly from your effort and support.