Clayton Early Learning Wins Grant to Fund Pilot Program for Teacher Candidates

DENVER – Nov. 13 – Clayton Early Learning, Colorado’s leader in early childhood education, research and training, is the proud recipient of a $188,610 Daniels Fund grant that will help deepen the organization’s partnership with the University of Colorado Denver, Arapahoe Community College and Red Rocks Community College.

Clayton Early Learning was awarded the grant from the Denver-based foundation on Sept. 16. Thanks to the grant, which will fund two pilot programs under the Clayton Teacher Preparation Initiative (CTPI) over the next year, students completing an associate or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (ECE) will receive coaching to increase the knowledge transfer from coursework to early childhood classrooms to give young children the highest quality education.

“We are honored to be the recipient of this Daniels Fund grant,” says Clayton President and CEO Charlotte Brantley. “This funding will allow us to significantly deepen our connection with UCD, Red Rocks Community College and Arapahoe Community College in a way that will have lasting benefits for young children and early childhood education in the Denver area.”

Under CTPI-BA, Clayton is the first birth-to-age-5 partner in UC-Denver’s Professional Development Schools (PDS) network and will collaborate with the university to develop course content and competencies for the new ECE bachelor’s degree student teaching internship. The partnership extends the PDS vision beyond K-12 and into the birth-to-5 realm to further align goals throughout a child’s education and positively impact outcomes. PDS schools are innovative places of learning and teaching for everyone involved, including teacher candidates, supervising teachers, administrators and children. Schools and universities collaborate under the PDS program to improve the quality of teacher preparation as well as teaching and learning in schools.

A cohort of eight to 10 UC-Denver teacher candidates will be selected for a one-year internship at Clayton where they will co-teach with teachers there, giving children the attention of two lead teachers. Meanwhile, UC-Denver faculty will spend a minimum of one day a week at Clayton, coaching teacher candidates while partnering with Clayton teachers and administrators regarding ongoing school improvements.

The second prong of the program made possible by the Daniels Fund grant is CTPI-AA, a pathway for Clayton and faculty partners to provide course and classroom coaching to up to 35 students working toward an ECE associate degree at Arapahoe Community College and Red Rocks Community College. The program will help align Colorado ECE teacher competencies with courses, provide course-embedded professional learning for students, and support innovation and research focused on continued improvement of practice related to child outcomes and educator effectiveness.

Clayton professional development coaches will partner with college faculty to provide 15-20 hours of individualized support to participating students in one of four courses to improve the quality of their classroom environments and teaching interactions. Coaches will participate in three peer learning meetings. Coaching will emphasize the cultural context of children and families and strategies for engaging families. Administrators at student worksites will participate in planning and evaluating the project.

“Clayton Early Learning’s program will ensure school readiness through a focus on teacher preparation and accountability,” says Linda Childears, CEO of Daniels Fund. “This aligns with Bill Daniels’ desire to provide young children with a nurturing and stimulating educational environment.”

The Daniels Fund is a private charitable foundation focused on making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming through grants, scholarship programs and other initiatives. To learn more about the Daniels Fund and Bill Daniels, visit

Clayton Early Learning President and Chief Executive Officer Charlotte Brantley can be reached directly at 303.398.8578 or cbrantley @

About Clayton Early Learning
Clayton Early Learning, a 501(c)(3), is Colorado’s leading catalyst in providing early care and education to ensure optimal development for all children, especially those of limited opportunities. We harness the synergy of four dynamic initiatives – classroom and family-centered practices in our schools, research and program evaluation, professional development of teachers and leaders and effective policy advocacy – to spark improved early care and education approaches statewide in collaboration with other public and private entities. Visit for more information.