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EARSS Fact Page

Purpose and Structure of the Program

The Expelled and At-risk Student Services (EARSS) grant program was established in 1997. It is described in Colorado Revised Statute 22-33-205.

The purpose of the EARSS grant is to assist in providing educational and support services to expelled students, students at-risk of suspension and expulsion, students at risk of habitual truancy as defined by unexcused absences, and students at risk or are chronically absent.

Funds are awarded annually through a competitive grant process to fund 4-year grants. Eligible applicants include school districts, alternative schools within districts, charter schools, Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), facility schools and non-public schools working through agreements to serve public school students.

Importance of Meeting the Needs of At-Risk Students

Without necessary support and intervention, expelled students, students at-risk of disciplinary action, habitual truant, and/or chronically absent frequently lack the skills, capacity and motivation to engage in school. When falling behind their peers, they may isolate themselves and stop coming to school, engage in delinquent behaviors, abuse drugs to self-medicate or become disruptive in class. 

Research shows that expelled students and those that exhibit behaviors linked to disciplinary action and delinquency are at-risk of dropping out of school. The EARSS grant program directs resources to address the unique learning needs and challenges of these students.


Beneficiaries by the Numbers

Years Served Grantee Information Individuals Served

39 EARSS grantees located in 23 counties (not including NCE schools serving students)

Unavailable at this time

66 EARSS grantees located in 31 counties (including Cohort 1)

44 EARSS grantees located in 24 counties (not including Cohort 1)

6,433 Students

4,304 Parents/Guardians


  57 EARSS Grantees located in 27 counties


 6,573 Students

4,287 Parents/Guardians

  2019-2020   58 EARSS Grantees located in 28 counties

  7,397 Students

  4,186 Parents/Guardians


Student Success Stories

Metro-area example- EARSS was an integral part of a complete school overhaul and restructuring that resulted in the school achieving a “performance” status on CDE’s School Performance Framework after being on the “priority improvement” status for years. These outcomes have led to the school gaining attention and increasing the credibility and trust from the community and school district, which has led to more collaboration and support.


Outlying Town example - A student who was at risk of being expelled was required to attend a meeting with their parents. During this meeting, the team discussed the needs of the family and the steps for the student to be able to return to the school. One intervention was to work with the family as the family had difficulty communicating with each other and tended to lash out at one another. Since their first session the student and family both spoke about how well they can communicate and that they have been able to spend quality time together. The student has mentioned that she feels supported by her mother.


BOCES example - During our 4 years, we have found that the most effective intervention strategy is the use of the therapeutic relationship developed between the student and the coordinator. This relationship becomes the foundation for all the interventions - essential skill building, tutoring, Trauma Informed strategies, Wraparound, facilitating stronger relationships with school staff, and counseling. Behavior and Attendance plans don't work when they are cookie cutter and just about having a student sign a piece of paper that says they are going to behave and come to schools. They DO work when the student is involved in their development and the focus is on how the school/staff are going to support the student if they start to slip on their expectations.



In 2021-2022, EARSS program grantees reported serving 6,433 students, less than one percent of students enrolled in Colorado..

  • Twenty-one grantees reported serving 125 expelled students (1.9 percent of students served).
  • Fifty-two grantees reported serving 2,471 students at risk for expulsion (38.4 percent of students served).

  • Fifty-one grantees reported serving 3,837 truant students or students at risk for habitual truancy or chronic absenteeism (59.6 percent of students served).


The most effective strategy reported by grantees in 2021-2022 was Restorative Justice Practices, mentoring, and Wraparound Case Management.

Examples of common uses of the grant funds include: 

  • Educational services for core academics such as coursework, tutoring and credit recovery. 
  • Restorative Justice practice and discipline, case management, alternatives to out-of-school suspension and expulsion, and multi-tiered behavioral support interventions. 
  • Essential and life skills, goal setting, fostering career and vocation-related interest, and character education. 
  • Support to habitually truant students to increase attendance and avoid truancy court. 
  • Counseling, behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services, including through contracted services and agreements with other youth-serving community agencies. 
  • Individualized and relevant educational opportunities focused on student interests.  


State statutes require schools to work with parents/guardians of expelled and at-risk students regarding the development of plans for serving their child. Common support services available to families included:

  • communication between staff and families,  
  • involving parents/guardians in academic, attendance, and/or behavioral planning, and  
  • referrals to community services/social services. 


EARSS grantees reported the following outcomes: 

  • 90% of students served experienced positive outcomes such as school completion and continuation of education. These outcomes reflected school completion, continuation of education, completion of the expulsion term and return to school. 
  • Of all students served, 96.2% remained in school. Without program support through EARSS, it is more likely that these students may have been expelled, had unexcused absences, or dropped out of school. 
  • 3.7% of at-risk students dropped out of school in 2021-2022.  
  • Of the at-risk students served through an EARSS program, 93.7% were not expelled, 84.4% did not receive an in-school suspension, 74.3% did not receive an out-of-school suspension and 93.7% did not have a truancy petition filed in court. 


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