CSU, PSD formalize longstanding educational partnership

Tony Frank
Tony Frank

A decades-long relationship between Colorado State University and Poudre School District will be formalized as a partnership between the two stalwarts of educational excellence in Northern Colorado.

The partnership, announced Monday during a ceremony at CSU’s on-campus stadium, will create educational opportunities for both K-12 and CSU students, and add even more facets to a relationship between Larimer County’s two largest employers.

“Colorado State University and the Poudre School District partner in countless ways – from teacher education to School is Cool,” CSU President Tony Frank said. “We share a deep commitment to academic excellence and opening doors of opportunity for all of our students to learn, excel and engage with our community and our world. We want to grow this investment and expect to create additional scholarship opportunities that will help make a CSU education more accessible and attainable to more of our outstanding PSD students.”

CSU is home for PSD students

CSU has long been the preferred destination for PSD students, with more graduates from the four largest high schools (Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge, Poudre and Rocky Mountain) choosing their home university over any other college. CSU last year provided more than $3.7 million in institutional aid to PSD students, and is exploring even more scholarship opportunities for 2019 and beyond.

Sandra Smyzer
Sandra Smyser

In addition, PSD teachers, students and administrators will have enhanced opportunities to connect with the wealth of resources available at CSU, a world-renowned research university.

PSD will provide teaching, learning and service opportunities for CSU students through interactions with the district’s students.

“Both PSD and CSU offer so much more to the community when we stand side by side to support our students,” said Sandra Smyser, superintendent of PSD. “Together, we positively affect students’ lives from the time they’re in preschool to the day they walk across an auditorium stage to accept a college diploma. I am so grateful for this partnership and can’t wait to see how it continues to benefit students and staff in the years to come.”

Working hand in hand

The partnership formalizes a relationship that has been galvanized by years of working hand in hard to enhance educational opportunities for youth. CSU and PSD have collaborated on dozens of initiatives over the decades, including:

  • School is Cool – This CSU employee-led initiative has been providing backpacks and high-quality, grade-specific supplies to underprivileged PSD students since 1993. To date, School is Cool has provided more than 43,000 backpacks, donating more than 2,500 annually.
  • Reading with the Rams – Dozens of CSU student athletes visit PSD elementary school classrooms annually and help students learn reading and other academic skills.
  • Middle school visit days – CSU invites PSD middle school students to campus, providing tours and a chance to learn from current Rams about the student experience. Earlier this year more than 200 Lincoln Middle School sixth-graders met with first-generation students, toured campus, had lunch and played games with CSU student athletes.
  • El Centro Math-Science-Tech Day – Invites PSD fourth-graders to campus for a day of science demonstrations.
  • GetWET Water Observatory – CSU hosts more than 800 students and 75 teacher experiences annually to study at the only hands-on water education facility in the Rocky Mountain region.
  • Little Shop of Physics – CSU’s iconic physics program visits more than 25 PSD schools annually while also hosting numerous free on-campus events for young students.
  • Concurrent enrollment – Eligible PSD high school students can take CSU courses to earn both high school and college credits at the same time.
  • Brain Awareness Week – Students from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences visit PSD high schools and middle schools to talk about the science of the brain.