2024 Impact Awards honor dedicated BVSD educators

View event photos on Facebook

We host the Impact Awards each year to honor educators across the Boulder Valley School District. Recognizing their dedication is essential, as they play a vital role in providing excellent and equitable education to students.

While we’re only able to recognize a small number of BVSD educators at the Impact Awards, we value and appreciate the hard work and dedication of every educator across BVSD.

This year’s celebration was held on Thursday, May 2 at the Boulder JCC. The energy at the event was palpable and it was a memorable occasion for all of our honorees and award winners. This year we were honored to have the event emceed by Dr. Lora de la Cruz, Deputy Superintendent of BVSD, with special remarks by Dr. Rob Anderson, BVSD Superintendent.

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers who make the evening go so smoothly and to our generous sponsors – Premier Members Credit Union, BVEA, Comcast, Corden Pharma and the Daily Camera – who make this event possible.

School Honorees

Since 1993, the Impact Awards has recognized hundreds of educators – teachers, custodians, office managers, food service employees, crossing guards, and more – from each school across BVSD. Each school across the district selects an honoree for the event, someone who is going above and beyond and making an extraordinary impact on student learning.

Each honoree received an engraved award, a personalized poster and a $100 check (thank you sponsors!). You can meet all of this year’s honorees in the graphics below.

New Teacher Award

The 2024 Imogene Maxon New Teacher Award was presented to Ash Mattys, an English Language Arts teacher at Fairview High School.

Established in 2020, the award is given to educators with up to three years of classroom experience who demonstrate the drive, stamina, and vision of a career educator. This award is inspired and financially supported by Jean Maxon, a lifetime educator who left a legacy gift to Impact on Education and whose own legacy extends beyond the BVSD classroom. We’re fortunate to have wonderful educators joining the profession, many of whom embody the characteristics and traits of a lifelong educator.

The nominator of this year’s winner — her induction mentor Chris Barnes — shared that she is approachable and real, a player and a coach, and life-affecting. He said “when you’re in Ash’s class, one is quick to forget that we’re in an English class. If you don’t keep an eye open, you’ll swear you’re in an after-school student club, self-help seminar, college literary society, and journalistic roundtable all rolled into one. Ash asks her students to think boldly and to act boldly, like she does. I’m honored and proud to teach with her.”

Lifetime Achievement Award

The 2024 Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Sara McIntosh, a literacy interventionist at Emerald Elementary School.

Established in 2017, the Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award honors the legacy of one of our most fervent supporters, Blake Peterson. This award recognizes and celebrates an individual who, consistently over the course of decades, catalyzes positive change within Boulder Valley School District, and whose own passion for education and learning mirrors that of the award’s namesake. This award is financially supported and selected by the Peterson family.

One of the nominators of this year’s winner shared that “she is a voice and support for the many children in our school who too often slip through the cracks because of lack of home support, resources, or other reasons beyond their control.”

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Emerald Elementary’s Sara McIntosh honored with the 2024 Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award

By Alison Meyer

There is a pivotal point in a child’s education when they stop learning to read and start reading to learn. As a literacy interventionist at Emerald Elementary School, Sara McIntosh is deeply invested in this crucial juncture. So much so that she’s dedicated her life to making sure all children grow up to be confident readers. 

“When a person can read to learn, they become consumers of information, informed citizens, and can access any type of information they want,” shared McIntosh. “It’s incredibly empowering.”

A legacy of learning

Raised in a family of educators — her mom was a preschool, kindergarten and first-grade teacher, and her dad was a social studies teacher and football coach — McIntosh learned the value of education early on. “When I was in school, my mom worked part-time as a teacher and was also the puppet lady,” McIntosh recalled. “She would make and sew all of her own puppets, write scripts and perform at all the elementary schools. She made learning fun. Because of her, I fell in love with reading in school.”

“When a person can read to learn, they become consumers of information, informed citizens, and can access any type of information they want.”

Like her parents, McIntosh became a teacher, dedicating 30 years of service to the Boulder Valley School District. Four years ago, she moved to supporting literacy efforts, providing targeted, specific instruction to small groups of children struggling with reading. Lighting up when she talks about her work, McIntosh sees reading as a tool for equity.

“My life’s mission is empowering others, particularly children who are still learning how to find their own way in the world,” she said. “Reading helps them find their voice. They can’t be truly independent if they can’t confidently read.”

This video about Sara was produced by students in the Boulder TEC Video Production Program.

Impacting a generation of learners

At a young age, children learn to read by being taught the patterns and rules so they can break the code. By second or third grade, they need a strong foundation to transition to reading to learn. Interventionists like McIntosh play a crucial role in ensuring young readers who struggle get on track before they fall too far behind. McIntosh, who goes above and beyond for her students, was recently awarded the 2024 Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Fellow interventionist and nominator Jamie Smith shared, “Sara takes her role as title literacy interventionist very seriously. She is a voice and support for the many children in our school who too often slip through the cracks because of a lack of home support, resources or other reasons beyond their control. If a student is in need, she will go out of her way to advocate for resources or time for them.”

“[Sara] is a voice and support for the many children in our school who too often slip through the cracks because of a lack of home support, resources or other reasons beyond their control.”

Established in 2017, the Blake Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award honors the legacy of one of Impact on Education’s most fervent supporters, Blake Peterson. This award recognizes and celebrates an individual who consistently catalyzes positive change within Boulder Valley School District over the course of decades and whose passion for education and learning mirrors that of the award’s namesake.

Blake, who deeply valued education and devoted his life to community service and supporting quality public education for all students, was also raised by teachers. McIntosh said by winning this award, she hopes to pay tribute to Blake’s parents. “I am so grateful that I had the upbringing that I had with parents as teachers, and so I want to honor Blake’s memory and his parents’ work,” shared McIntosh.

Above: Sara McIntosh (left) with one of her nominators and fellow educators Jamie Smith (right).

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Fairview High School’s Ash Mattys receives Imogene Maxon New Teacher Award

By Alison Meyer

Ash Mattys took the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference. 

Unlike most first-year teachers who join the profession directly after college, Mattys delayed getting her degree so she could see the world instead. While her peers moved into dorms, Mattys worked in corporate America, saving enough money to travel. Over the next sixteen years, she had many adventures, including living in Japan for six months and adopting eighteen freshwater stingrays. She also became a mom, leading her to decide she was ready to hunker down and get her degree. 

Mattys enrolled at the University of Colorado at Boulder, majoring in Communication. While figuring out her next steps in life, Mattys kept returning to her beloved 8th-grade teacher, Ms. Cardin. “She spoke to me like the budding human being I was at the time,” recalled Mattys. “She made me feel interesting. She saw me, and was passionate about connecting with me so that she could teach me.

It’s hard to think of anything more inspiring than how much she valued my education and the education of her countless other students.” Mattys realized she could play the same role for young people as Ms Cardin did for her, and from that point on, teaching became the goal. She enrolled in graduate school, earned her master’s in education, and was hired as an English teacher at Fairview High School.

Ash Mattys with her family

Ash Mattys with her family.

“Two roads diverged in a wood”

While it took her longer to become a teacher, Mattys believes every part of her journey was critical to her success. “All those steps were necessary — now I feel like the luckiest teacher of all time.” Her students are 9th and 10th-grade pre-IB students learning Shakespeare. But Mattys, inspired by Ms. Cardin, sees her job as more than teaching language arts. She’s there to ensure her students feel seen. “What I needed when I was their age was for someone to tell me that it was going to be okay,” shared Mattys. “I want them to know that I see their uniqueness and remind them that they are resilient. I feel like that’s the unwritten curriculum.” 

“I want them to know that I see their uniqueness and remind them that they are resilient. I feel like that’s the unwritten curriculum.”

Ash Mattys, English Language Arts teacher at Fairview High School

According to her mentor, fellow teacher and nominator Chris Barnes, Mattys is succeeding. “When you’re in Ash’s class, it’s easy to forget that you’re in an English class,” said Barnes.  “If you don’t keep an eye open, you’ll swear you’re in an after-school student club, self-help seminar, college literary society, and journalistic roundtable all rolled into one. Ash’s class is that special. Students are that valued. The flow of instruction and student participation is seamless. And the atmosphere is one in which you feel lucky to belong.”

Winning the Imogene Maxon New Teacher Award is especially validating for Mattys because she doesn’t feel like she fits the norm, both as a nontraditional first-year teacher and as an educator of color. “This honor means so much to me because I’ve had to do some difficult navigating, within myself and with others, to get here,” she shared.” There were so many points along this journey when I felt like this profession wasn’t for people like me and I felt like giving up. Somehow, I actually got here and I’m doing my dream job. I’m so grateful.” 

“I dwell in possibility” 

Not one to be satisfied with the status quo, Mattys has goals for the rest of her education career. She looks forward to perfecting her craft as a classroom manager and content deliverer. Mattys also wants to see more students of color in advanced classes. “I think it’s powerful that I am an educator of color, and students can envision themselves in my shoes,” said Mattys.

“I’d like to see the percentage of students of color in the school reflected in advanced classes, where we currently have a disparity.” She also co-leads Families and Educators Together, a group that creates a more inclusive community to support the well-being of all students and families, especially parents and guardians from underrepresented groups. 

“Ash’s class is that special. Students are that valued. The flow of instruction and student participation is seamless. And the atmosphere is one in which you feel lucky to belong.”

Chris Barnes, BVSD Induction Mentor

Barnes isn’t surprised Mattys is so future-focused. “Ash is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. Check that—she’s a hurricane of cleansing, rejuvenation and complete upending of all arcane models and notions of what makes an English teacher.”

Congratulations to Ash Mattys for winning the 2024 Imogene Maxon Early Educator Award.

About Imogene Maxon

Imogene Maxon was a lifelong educator who taught with the Boulder Valley School District. In 2020, Impact on Education received a bequest from her estate, creating the Imogene “Jean” Maxon New Teacher Award in her honor. Imogene believed strongly in the impact of teachers who spend a lifetime honing instruction and learning practices and positively impacting countless students within the classroom.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Announcing our 2024 scholarship recipients

Scholarships play a pivotal role in empowering students to pursue their educational dreams without the burden of financial constraints.

This year we provided over $53,500 in scholarships for Boulder Valley School District graduates, including $28,500 in scholarship renewals for 16 students. And graduating seniors in the Class of 2024 were awarded over $100,000!

Scholarships awarded to the Class of 2024 are all renewable for two to four years, with the potential to contribute $94,000 toward their post-secondary education.

Scholarship applications are reviewed by trained community volunteers, and student winners are selected based upon their academic achievement, financial need, and other eligibility requirements.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

*The Independent Order of the Odd Fellows and Panther Pride scholarship winners will be announced soon.

2024 Scholarship Winners

Houston Scholarship

New this year, the Houston scholarship honors a family member whose dedication to taking care of their family financially, meant they were unable to pursue their dream of formal education. The scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need, and each scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

$10,000
Kevin Botello, Boulder High

Kevin plans to study engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, or Regis University.

“As an engineer I believe I can help solve many different types of programs and help make the world a better place for all of us. There are so many issues that are currently facing us as humans and we can work through some of these challenges through engineering.”

$5,000
Jair Ortega, Boulder High

Jair plans to attend the University of Colorado Boulder.

“My educational goal of being a first generation college student is more than just something that’s personal to me. It is also a testament to the impact of determination, perseverance and hope has on defying expectation. Breaking down barriers of cultural and social limitations.”


Earl & Barbara Bolton Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student who plans to pursue careers in engineering, forestry, nursing or the sciences, and is renewable for up to four years.

$5,000
Abigail Bensler, Monarch High

Abigail plans to pursue a biomedical education at Colorado State University.

“Whether it is through a wide-reaching medical practice or simply helping people within my own community, I want to spend my career bettering humanity. I am motivated by my own personal experiences with my father’s sickness. His fight and struggles showed me that everyone deserves the best medical care, and a chance to live a strong and healthy life.”


Dennie & Donna Wise Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to students pursuing a vocational, technical or community college education. Each scholarship is renewable for up to two years. 

$1,000
Yareli Ordaz, Boulder High

Yareli plans to study nursing at Front Range Community College.

“The Latinx community and I Have a Dream Foundation have helped me be a better person and achieve my academic goals. Being bilingual is a gift, but it also makes schooling a little bit more difficult, especially reading and writing. The afterschool program has given me opportunity and the extra support I need to be successful academically and socially.”

$1,000
Nicholas Folsom, Monarch High

Nicholas plans to pursue the automotive tech program at NASCAR Technical Institute in Moorsville, NC.

“Upon graduating from the NASCAR Technical Institute, I want to obtain employment in the racing industry. At a race team I would do whatever job that I am hired to do with the hopes of becoming a crew chief. I want to use the skills that I learn from attending the NASCAR Technical Institute to ensure that I will have a successful career.”

$1,000
Jameson Winding, Arapahoe Ridge

Jameson plans to study Sustainability and Climate Change at Colorado Mountain College.

 “The CMC Sustainability program really stood out to me. I’m drawn to the experiential and hands-on elements of the program. The possibility that, in the not so distant future, a lot of the nature we take for granted now will be gone permanently motivates me to learn how to create a more sustainable future.”


Jeff Howenstein Panther Scholarships

This is a new scholarship for 2024, created in honor of former Boulder High AVID teacher, Jeff Howenstein, by his family and friends. The scholarship is awarded to students who participated in the AVID Program at Boulder High and is renewable for up to four years. Pictured below are the two recipients and with Jennifer DL and Kate V. who organized Howie Fest to raise the funds.

$1,000
Nataly Villa, Boulder High

Nataly plans to attend the University of Denver.

“AVID made me feel like I belonged in a space where my dreams and aspirations carried weight and meaning. That I held a place and position where I could do anything that I set my mind to. That I was limitless in my endeavors. Having teachers who believed in me and who kept me on track, only inspired me to work harder.”

$1,000
Andrea Herrera Rincon, Boulder High

Andrea plans to study nursing at the University of Colorado Denver.

“AVID has made a really big impact on my life and goals. Especially when it comes to self-advocacy. It taught me to have a voice and to reach out when I need help.”


Independent Order of Odd Fellows Scholarships

Recipients will be announced soon!


Panther Pride Scholarships

Recipients will be announced soon!

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Providing BVSD students access to college and career opportunities

Navigating the future with confidence and the right set of skills is crucial for today’s students. And it’s why we provide access to college and career readiness opportunities, helping Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) students get ahead in their academic and professional journeys.

Since the beginning, we’ve partnered with BVSD to create and implement the GradPlus Framework, helping students prepare for their futures, opening doors to work-based learning and industry certifications and providing opportunities to earn college credit and a Seal of Biliteracy.

Some of these opportunities – including advanced courses and concurrent enrollment – require fees that make them inaccessible to students from low-income families. But there are four ways – in addition to our Career Readiness Academy – that Impact on Education helps students with financial need access these post-secondary readiness initiatives across BVSD:

Student test fees

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a credit-by-examination program that measures a student’s level of comprehension of introductory college-level material and consecutively earns college credit. While a few students take tests in math and science, for our students who speak a second language, the CLEP language proficiency tests allow them to earn college credit by taking a written and oral language test. Test fees are only $90 and students can earn up to 16 college credits, so Impact on Education has offered to cover these test fees for any student who is eligible for free and reduced lunch – what a valuable opportunity!

Students who pass the exam also become  eligible for Colorado Department of Education’s ASCENT (Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment) program, which offers a free year of college tuition.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses and International Baccalaureate (IB) course test fees can also present a barrier to students with financial need. From calculus and physics to computer science and U.S. history, AP level courses prepare students for college-level work, but their associated costs shouldn’t deter eager minds.

During the fall 2023 semester Impact on Education paid over $6,000 in test fees for BVSD students. These investments allowed 29 students to take CLEP tests, earning 324 college credits. Another 15 students from four BVSD high schools were able to take AP/IB courses. We anticipate funding an additional $13,000 this spring to cover student test fees, allowing students with financial need to access post-secondary credits before they graduate high school.

College Before Graduation

BVSD works with local colleges and universities to support students in getting a head start on earning college credits and gaining industry certifications. Concurrent and dual enrollment refer to courses where students simultaneously earn college credits while completing high school requirements. 

I am extremely grateful for the assistance, aid, and support ASCENT/ Concurrent Enrollment has given me; I don’t think I would be in college now if I hadn’t been welcomed into the program.

BVSD Graduate who participated in the ASCENT program

Students may qualify to take courses at Metropolitan State University or Front Range Community College as a general high school student, or as part of the ASCENT or Teacher Recruitment Education & Preparation (TREP) program.

During the fall 2023 semester, Impact on Education provided $5200 to pay for books and fees for students with financial need. This investment allowed 17 students to collectively attempt to earn 135 credits (an average of 8 credits per student).

Pathway building

Impact on Education is also helping BVSD recruit launch partners to build new educational pathways and covering fees associated with their rollout. 

During the fall 2023 semester, we invested $8000 to pay student course fees at Boulder TEC. From criminal justice and biomedical classes to supporting students in the new Teacher Pathway program, our investment allowed 14 students to earn 67 credits by pursuing these pathway courses.

BVSD has ambitious plans to roll out new pathways at all of our high schools, and Impact on Education is helping to recruit corporate partners that align with this work. These exciting pathways will allow students to gain skills, instruction, experience and credentials in emerging and relevant career sectors. Learn more about the pathways

Educator grants

Another way we’re able to support student futures is through Academic Opportunity Fund grants. These funds empower educators to provide enhanced learning experiences and unique education opportunities for their students, and we’ve awarded over $160,000 this school year to meet a variety of needs across all grade levels.

A few recent grants enabled high school students in CTE courses and technical education pathways to receive specialized training, including:

These funds allow students to graduate with valuable certifications and training that equip them both for personal safety and career opportunities.

Our future support

Impact on Education is committed to ensuring that financial barriers do not prevent ambitious students from accessing these valuable learning experiences. And our efforts stem from a deep belief in the potential of every student within BVSD to succeed and thrive.

As BVSD continues to work to build more and better opportunities for students, Impact on Education and our partners are working alongside them to ensure that these exciting new pathways will be equitably available to all students.

Another important way we’re supporting BVSD student access to post-secondary opportunities through college scholarships – Impact on Education will be awarding up to $80,000 to BVSD students this spring. Applications for the Class of 2024 are due on April 5, 2024.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Please Note: Our second (and final) educator grant funding cycle for the school year closes on January 26, 2024. Click here to learn more.

A history of grants and growth

Since its inception, Impact on Education has stood as a pillar of support for educators in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). Our commitment to enriching academic experiences has a history that spans nearly four decades.

Starting in 1986, with an initiative to empower educators through mini-grants, we’ve continued to evolve our grant program to meet the ever-changing needs of schools and students. This evolution is a testament to our dedication to creating opportunity for students and leveling the educational playing field.

The history of Impact on Education educator grants

1986
The Foundation for Boulder Valley Schools (now Impact on Education) began awarding mini-grants to BVSD educators, later known as Classroom Innovation Grants.

2004
Impact on Education launched a new Opportunity Fund to reduce economic barriers to academic opportunities and enrichment for students. Funds paid for expenses such as art supplies, instrument rentals, sports physicals, class fees, and more.

2019
Through a partnership with Pathways to Jazz, Impact on Education provided $10,000 in grants to music educators at schools across BVSD. Impact on Education continued awarding Classroom Innovation Grants to educators.

2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Impact on Education merged the Opportunity Fund and Classroom Innovation Grants programs to create a Student Academic Support Fund. Funds covered class fees, technology needs, supplemental equipment, transportation expenses, instrument rentals and repair, and other student academic needs.

“It’s remarkable to see the ingenuity and passion BVSD educators bring to their grant applications, all in the pursuit of enriching their students’ educational journeys. I volunteer to review grants because I believe they’re a vote of confidence for our teachers and can uplift the entire school community.”

Laura Arentsen, Impact on Education volunteer

2021 to Present – Academic Opportunity Fund

Launched in 2021, our Academic Opportunity Fund allows educators and schools across the district to request funds for the resources they need. Over the past three years we’ve awarded $615,113 across 368 grants, with more than 80% of our 56 schools applying for at least one grant.

Each grant has a story behind it – from providing essential resources for hands-on science projects to ensuring equitable access to tutoring supports, technology licenses, books, and more.

Today, we prioritize requests that expand access to resources, opportunities, and support for students from marginalized and underserved communities. And we involve trained community volunteers in our grant review process.

On the horizon

Our grant program will continue to evolve, just as the needs of our educators and students do. With the upcoming January 26, 2024 deadline in our current funding cycle, we’re excited to see what new projects and innovative resources our educators will share with us. 

We’re proud of how this program continues to empower educators to meet the evolving needs of BVSD students.

Together, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of BVSD students, one grant at a time.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

A look back at our top moments of 2023

As we near the end of the year, we’re reflecting on the important work we’ve done to support local students and schools. You can read more about our accomplishments in our 2023 Impact Report and we encourage you to peruse our most popular blog articles of the year. 

Our ten most read stories of the year highlight our mission and commitment to providing students access to excellent and equitable education. Thank you for being part of this important work!

#10 – Board Chair David Ziegert grateful to be part of Impact On Education’s evolution

David always intended to be a high school math teacher. But his nighttime job at Celestial Seasonings — taken to pay for classes at the University of Colorado — turned into a career. Ziegert was with the Boulder-based tea company for 22 years, eventually becoming general manager. And though not in the way he expected, Ziegert did find his way back to education as a Board Member for Impact on Education.

#9 – Announcing our 2023 college scholarship awardees

We’re excited to share that we’ve funded over $40,000 in scholarships for Boulder Valley School District graduates this year, including $18,000 in scholarship renewals and $23,000 to graduating seniors in the Class of 2023.

#8 – Impact on Education welcomes three new board members

Our Board of Directors plays an important role in our work to engage students and empower educators across the Boulder Valley School District. Three new Board Members – Amy Pickens, Bill de la Cruz, and Dan Konigsburg – will support this work and further our mission.

#7 – The growth, success and challenges of Crayons to Calculators

Through the leadership of Impact on Education and dedicated individuals and organizations in our community, Crayons to Calculators has provided school supplies to over 130,000 students over the past 18 years.

#6 – Funding mental health and student well-being

We are committed to providing an elevated level of mental health support for all students, especially those affected by the Marshall Fire. From Wellness Centers to Mental Health Advocates, we’re working toward three goals that would allow us to serve 11,698 students at 12 schools across BVSD.

#5 – How much does it cost to live in Boulder County?

Everyone in our community is experiencing increased costs for food, fuel and other basic necessities. Rising prices mean families across our community are struggling to make ends meet. Every school in the Boulder Valley School District includes families facing financial challenges.

#4 – Community Conversation brings youth mental health to the forefront

Young people today are experiencing a mental health crisis unlike anything we’ve seen before. Nearly one in five youth in Colorado reported poor mental health in 2021 — double the rate seen in 2017. Social media, the pandemic, and climate change were just some of the external pressures students and parents cited during a panel discussion that gathered more than 300 people at Manhattan Middle School on April 12, 2023.

#3 – Dr. Amy Pickens helps BVSD students find a sense of belonging

Amy (Nelson) Pickens works tirelessly to advance equity across Boulder Valley School District. A former educator, she is starting her fourth year working with BVSD administration and currently serves as the Director of Equity and Community Engagement.

#2 – Behind the scenes at the 2023 Impact Awards

On May 3, 2023 we held our 30th Annual Impact Awards celebration! Since 1993, the Impact Awards has recognized hundreds of educators – teachers, custodians, office managers, food service employees, crossing guards, and more – from each school across BVSD. The energy of our dedicated educators was incredible and the event was a great success – thank you to everyone who joined us!

#1 – How BVSD Wellness Centers support student resilience

We’re funding Wellness Centers across Boulder Valley School District because we believe they’re powerful tools for supporting our youth and helping them thrive. Students need support to manage their emotional health. Mental Health Advocates can help teach them how, while the BVSD Wellness Centers give them the space to do so.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

How Social Venture Partners helped us navigate unprecedented growth

“Over the past three years we’ve watched and supported Impact on Education as it grew and matured. The organization is clear about its mission, vision, and how it intends to achieve both. Impact on Education has strong leadership both on the Board of Directors and in their staff. And they all work together as a team.”

Kay Paine, one of our partners with the Social Venture Partners (SVP) Catapult program, shared these remarks at our graduation from the program earlier this month.

What is the SVP Catapult program?

The SVP (Social Venture Partners) Catapult program is a unique initiative designed to propel nonprofit organizations to new heights. By providing strategic guidance and financial support, SVP Catapult helps organizations like us expand their capabilities, reach, and impact. 

We joined the program in 2020 and since then SVP partners have provided Impact on Education with 554 hours of support and provided $41,000. Thank you to all of the partners we worked with, including Kay Paine, Karin Lindgren, Josh Silberstein, Cathleen Kendall, Mark Bouzek, Shawna Peterson, and Maegan Vallejo.

3 ways SVP supported our growth

Strategic Planning and DEI Work

When we talk about supporting the Boulder Valley School District, we’re deliberate in our focus on equity and supporting those furthest from resources. If that’s who we are in our day to day work, that is also how we have to plan. We knew our strategic plan had to be steeped in equity so we used our first grant from SVP to hire Jamie Morgan to provide extensive DEI training to our Board of Directors and staff team. 

“Equity is part of every single day and the decisions we make from top to bottom in our organization.” – Allison Billings, Executive Director of Impact on Education

Our strategic priorities were then created during a strategic planning session with SVP Partner Mark Bouzek. The year to year work will grow and change, but at the core our work is about empowering students and educators, engaging with our community, and evolving as an organization and a school district.

This work now guides every strategic planning and goal setting conversation in our organization. 

Program Evolution

Over the past three years we’ve seen remarkable growth in our programs, evolving small-scale initiatives into more extensive, impactful projects. We expanded our early childhood education program to reach more students, more cities, and to offer them full-day learning opportunities to prepare for school. And our focus on college and career readiness evolved to meet changing educational and professional landscapes. 

BVSD now has a Grad Plus framework that ensures every single student will graduate with more than a diploma. They’ll either have a seal of biliteracy, some college credit, an industry certification, or some work based learning experience – or a combination of those. We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes to support this program and now we’re working to find and remove barriers to these opportunities for students, including textbook and test fees.

We’re also now in the third year of our Career Readiness Academy, helping high school students prepare for their futures. And this is where we’re leveraging expertise in the community to teach students how to interview, how to build a resume, and how to identify their interests and their passions.

When we started working with SVP, mental health wasn’t something we were focused on. But we quickly found ourselves navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing youth mental health crisis. Our community then suffered a mass shooting and the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history. Students are struggling and mental health is something we’ve embraced and made tremendous investments in. This year we invested nearly $1.5M in mental health to ensure students have access to help and resources. 

Fundraising and Marketing

In 2021, SVP partner Shawna Peterson conducted a fundraising audit for us that was incredibly helpful. It taught us what we were doing well and where we needed to grow and improve.

Through our growth and resilience alongside unforeseen crises, we’ve retained existing supporters and gained new ones. Our communications are transparent and effective, and by sticking with us our supporters have shown us that they trust us and know how to make the most impactful investments. BVSD leaders and our schools know that Impact on Education is a partner they can rely on today and in the future. That’s the secret of our success.

A valuable experience 

Impact on Education experienced unprecedented growth and change over the last few years—our annual investment in BVSD students has nearly tripled —and we’re grateful to have had the guidance of Social Venture Partners along the way. From unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and the Marshall Fire, to planned expansions of our early childhood education and college and career readiness programs, SVP’s support helped us stay focused on what we do best: ensuring students have the resources they need, when they need them.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

IOE grants provide $80,0000 to empower BVSD educators

In our first Academic Opportunity Fund funding round of the 2023-24 school year we’ve awarded nearly $80,000 to 74 educators in 33 schools, with an average award of over $800. The program received 105 applications from 37 schools across the Boulder Valley School District which were reviewed by trained community volunteers.

Grants for classroom educators and schools are small yet powerful tools that can help fund creative and innovative ideas for educational projects, activities, and materials. Our Academic Opportunity Fund is a valuable resource for teachers and schools with limited budgets who are determined to provide the best learning opportunities for their students.

After-school tutoring and outreach programs

We received a variety of requests for supplemental instruction across the district. A Boulder middle school with a strong connection to their Spanish-speaking families will receive funding to build new bilingual resources in support of their special education programming.

Additional grants we are funding include:

Reading support

Many BVSD educators sought support for improving students’ reading engagement and ability. One notable request was to expand an online/virtual reading intervention program for 4th and 5th grade students who are reading below grade level. This program – Really Great Reading – works to increase reading proficiency for students before they head to middle school. This year, our funds will help the program expand to BVSD’s bilingual schools, supporting over 200 students at 16 elementary schools.

Additional grants we’re funding include: 

The impact of educator grants

From multiplication games to cello strings to unified PE equipment, our Academic Opportunity Fund continues to fill specific needs beyond the traditional classroom budget. We are impressed by the dedication and innovation of our BVSD educators and wish we could fund more of the terrific ideas proposed. 

So far this year, our grants will impact an estimated 20,000 students and help increase access to resources and opportunities across the district.

The next round of Academic Opportunity Fund grants will open in December 2023.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Helping students make informed decisions about their futures

In today’s ever-evolving workforce, preparing high school students for the challenges and opportunities beyond graduation is more important than ever.

An after-school program – our Career Readiness Academy – is providing high school students with knowledge, connections, and resources to help them make informed decisions about their futures. Now in its third year, this year’s Academy will enroll 75 students from three schools across Boulder Valley School District: Boulder High, Centaurus High and Broomfield High. 

Impact on Education is committed to providing high school students with training and resources to empower them for their lives after high school. Students that participate in the Career Readiness Academy will explore interests and opportunities they may not have considered or been exposed to, that are available for them to pursue in high school and beyond.

Gaining professional skills and boosting self-confidence

Through a series of ten after-school workshops participants will build self-confidence and self-knowledge throughout the Career Readiness Academy. Students will:

The program places a strong emphasis on developing professional skills that transcend academic knowledge. Students will not only gain valuable insights into what employers look for but also build the confidence needed to thrive.

Recruiting students for the Career Readiness Academy

While all 10th-grade students are encouraged to apply, priority will be given to those facing financial hardship and/or first-generation students, ensuring that opportunities are extended to those who may benefit the most.

To further encourage participation, the program offers a $300 stipend, contingent on attendance. This not only recognizes the commitment of the students but also helps in making the program accessible to a broader range of participants.

How to apply
The deadline to apply for the Career Readiness Academy is Monday, October 23, 2023. Students can click here to apply.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Connect with Us

Subscribe to our e-newsletter

* indicates required

info@impactoneducation.org
303.524.3865

Impact on Education
721 Front Street, Suite A
Louisville, CO 80027

Tax ID #84-0943046