Kids Link Colorado

Launched in 2016, the Kids Link Colorado Initiative is a joint partnership between the Office of the Governor, the Governor’s Office of Information Technology, the Colorado Broadband Office, and the national non-profit EducationSuperHighway. Together, we are working to ensure that all students in Colorado have access to scalable infrastructure, high-speed affordable bandwidth, and ubiquitous Wi-Fi for digital learning.

 

“A 21st century Colorado must include a Colorado that is committed to getting
high-speed connectivity to all of our K-12 schools, which will ensure growth in
our economy and educational opportunities for all students across the state.”
– Gov. John Hickenlooper

 

Supporting School Districts

We offer technical assistance, upgrade tools, and procurement resources at no cost to ensure your schools have the broadband they need to take advantage of the promise of digital learning. Please check back regularly for updates, new resources, and stories from district leaders across the state.

 

Technical Assistance

Through the Kids Link Colorado Initiative, EducationSuperHighway offers technical and procurement expertise to find sustainable and affordable Internet solutions for your schools. Their process begins with gaining a deep understanding of your technology needs. Next, they engage with the service provider community on your behalf to find you competitive options. Finally, they work with you to develop a strategy that supports your E-rate procurement process.

To get started, visit www.educationsuperhighway.org/districts and schedule a 1:1 call.

 

Webinar Series

EducationSuperHighway’s webinars offer support for digital learning initiatives, supply information on free tools, resources, and programs, and provide tips and best practices to help you navigate the E-rate cycle.

As part of E-rate modernization, the FCC made $150 per student of funding for internal connection (Category 2) upgrades available for a limited time. Through EducationSuperHighway’s Wi-Fi webinar series, you’ll learn more about your available E-rate Category 2 budget, make best use of these funds and run a successful procurement to improve your connectivity.

Explore more by registering for free webinars: www.educationsuperhighway.org/webinars

 

Upgrade Tools

Developed by EducationSuperHighway, Compare & Connect K-12 enables school districts, state leaders, and service provides to compare the broadband deals for each school district throughout the state.

Find your school district and see how your broadband deals compare to neighboring districts: www.compareandconnectk12.org

 

Procurement Resources

Procure the best high-speed broadband option for your district with tips and templates and consider how to manage your upgrade from deployment and beyond.

Download free E-rate program templates to guide you through the Form 470 process: upgrade.educationsuperhighway.org

State Match Funding

In the E-Rate Modernization Order, the FCC recognized the need for greater high-speed broadband connectivity and eased requirements to help applicants gain access by providing up to an additional 10 percent in category one funding to match state funding for one-time special construction charges for last-mile facilities to support high-speed broadband, with special consideration for Tribal schools.

For example, if state funds are utilized for the project, the E-Rate discount will be increased by up to 10 percent to match the state’s investment.

For information about E-Rate eligible services, visit the USAC Eligible Services Overview.

Colorado has identified an existing funding source (BEST Grant Program) that qualifies for the State Match program as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).


Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant Program

BEST provides an annual amount of funding in the form of competitive grants to school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. BEST funds can be utilized for the construction of new schools as well as for improvements to existing school facility systems, structures, and technology infrastructure.

As of the 2017-2018 E-Rate cycle, BEST Grant funding will be eligible for Category 1 special construction costs. BEST Grant awards are made between June and July. Applicants can note on Form 471 that a state match was requested and notify USAC upon award.
For information about BEST eligibility and application process, please visit the Colorado Department of Education Capital Construction page:

CDE Capital Construction

Deadlines to Remember:

  • December 1 – Intent to submit
  • January 2 – Application Available
  • February 23 – Application Due
  • May – Application Review (applicants can attend and provide responses to questions or make a presentation)

 

Success Stories

Colorado Educational Broadband Consortium

In August 2016 the Northeast Board of Cooperative Education Services (Northeast BOCES) and the East Central BOCES decided to join forces in order to amplify their purchasing power for broadband services for over 30 school districts combined. With the support of EducationSuperHighway, the new consortium was able to develop a single RFP (Form 470) and received eight bids in response. The responses were significantly more cost-effective than any previous bids.

Before the upgrade, the districts in the Northeast and EC BOCES were paying an average of $30 per Mbps to receive between 20 and 100 Mbps of Internet access. Now, nearly every school district will be getting 1 Gbps of Internet access for less than $1 per Mbps. That’s 10-50 times greater bandwidth for about 3% of the cost.

Check out this video to see the impact of low cost broadband for school districts:

 

Lewis Palmer School District

Lewis-Palmer School District is an 8-school district just north of Colorado Springs with ~6,300 students. The district was committed to a 2:1 ratio of devices to students and was moving toward a more media-rich curriculum. In order to support their digital learning goals, Lewis-Palmer needed additional bandwidth, but cost was a significant barrier to upgrading.

Their tech director leveraged data transparency in the Compare and Connect K12 tool to get more bandwidth at a more affordable cost. As a result this year, the district will be saving $1K per month and getting double the bandwidth compared to the previous year.

News

Contact

Working Group

Office of Information Technology

Megan Gernert
megan.gernert@state.co.us
303-764-7806

 

Office of the Governor

EducationSuperHighway

Veronica Ramos
veronica@educationsuperhighway.org
415-738-8669

 

Colorado Department of Education

DeLilah Collins
collins_d@cde.state.co.us
303-866-6850

Other Partners

Colorado Educational Broadband Consortium:

Denise Atkinson-Shorey
denise.shorey@e-luminosity.net
303-809-1403

Jarred Masterson
jarred@ecboces.org
719-771-4018

Tim Miles
tmiles@ssk12.org
970-871-3184

Arlene Salyards
asalyards@neboces.org
970-521-2771 x1225

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