Urban Advantage Program Helps Close Opportunity Gap

DENVER — Aug. 23 — Middle school teachers, students, and families of Denver Public Schools will receive a boost in science teaching and learning thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York recently awarded to Urban Advantage Denver. The program, a partnership between the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Zoo, and Denver Public Schools, leverages the power of collaboration between formal and informal learning environments. By involving student’s entire support system, including teachers and families we can improve science teaching, ensure access to rich learning environments while engaging families in their children’s learning. 


Carnegie Corporation of New York is a national funder that supports leadership and teaching to advance learning. This transformative grant will allow Urban Advantage Denver to deeply connect with whole school communities including teachers, students (6th through 8th grades), and their families for two years. Teacher professional development through the science institutions will emphasize Denver Public School’s vision for science education. Students learn science concepts using many different disciplines paired with field trips to science institutions and in-school programs facilitated by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Zoo, and Denver Botanic Gardens. Family programming will enable families to learn alongside their children. The long term impact of the program is to achieve greater science literacy and reduce the achievement gap.


“The cultural partners and Denver Public Schools are honored that the Carnegie Corporation is investing in this important program that not only will impact middle school students in Denver but also has the potential to catalyze informal-formal learning collaborations in other urban areas,” said George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. “Our region is so fortunate to be able to build off the genuine relationships and collaborative spirit fostered by the SCFD to really impact our community.”


Urban Advantage Denver grew out of an earlier program funded by the National Science Foundation which launched in 2010 that served teachers, students, and families across three school districts. Research on that program found that it positively changed science instruction practices in the classroom. Specifically, teachers engaged in more student-directed investigation activities which are shown to be more effective in learning. Students increased their interest in science and were more likely to say they would engage in science-related activities outside of school. The new Urban Advantage Denver has been reimagined to amplify these positive outcomes for diverse middle school students across Denver Public Schools. 

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