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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Arvada, CO

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Arvada, CO offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Arvada, CO

What Clients Say About Us



We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.


Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.


Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.


Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.


Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.


We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.


Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.


If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level


We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Arvada, CO

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are manufactured in-house and arrive new or restored to factory specifications
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.


High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.


When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Arvada, CO

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.


Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Arvada, CO
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.


With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Arvada, CO, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.


We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Arvada, CO, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.


You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.


Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.




Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Arvada, CO. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.



Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.



Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.



When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.


Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @


Latest News in Arvada, CO

Arvada senior living facility doubles rent, gives residents 30-day notice of the change

Copy This Embed Code: Ad ARVADA, Colo. — An Arvada senior living facility has doubled the rent for some residents, and only provided a 30-day notice of the change.“Everybody suspected they would raise the rent, but not that much,” said one resident who didn’t want to be identified.The resident has lived at Arbor View Senior Living for 20 years — he's 84 now.On Feb. 6, he received a letter in his mailbox stat...

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ARVADA, Colo. — An Arvada senior living facility has doubled the rent for some residents, and only provided a 30-day notice of the change.

“Everybody suspected they would raise the rent, but not that much,” said one resident who didn’t want to be identified.

The resident has lived at Arbor View Senior Living for 20 years — he's 84 now.

On Feb. 6, he received a letter in his mailbox stating monthly rent for his apartment will increase from $1,100 a month to $2,200 a month, effective March 1. Arbor View prorated March's rent through March 9 to give residents a 30-day window before the increase.

“I thought it was shocking,” said the resident. “Not everyone went up 100%. Some 50 or 60 percent, up to 100.”

The letter said the reason for the increase is due to a rise in employee labor wages and higher than normal price inflation across their suppliers and vendors throughout 2022.

RELATED: By the numbers: How pandemic-induced staffing issues are leaving Colorado seniors out in the cold

While the resident says he can afford the hike, he's concerned about depleting his savings. Others, he says, aren't so lucky.

“A lot of people here don't have that kind of money and they have to move,” he said.

Arbor View offers both independent and assisted living, with a total of 92 apartments. Jay Moskowitz, CEO of WellAge Senior Living, which owns Arbor View and multiple senior facilities across the state, says everyone at Arbor View is seeing a rent hike. He says he hasn't raised rent in three years.

“Labor’s gone up 24% in Colorado, healthcare is up 24%, and food costs, inflation is up 8%,” said Moskowitz.

While he says he's sympathetic to the increase, Moskowitz says he didn't have a choice.

“Were you concerned you were going to have to close your doors if you didn't increase rent for folks?” asked Denver7 reporter Amy Wadas.

“1000%,” Moskowitz replied.

"If I don't get enough money, they're not going to have a home to live in,” said the resident.

Jayla Sanchez-Warren of the Area Agency on Aging says they were contacted by a resident about the price hike. She called the increase very concerning.

“We don't usually see a doubling of rent. We usually see maybe 150, 200, sometimes 400 dollars a month,” said Sanchez-Warren.

Sanchez-Warren says her team is reaching out to various agencies for help.

“You can call your housing authority in your county, you can call legal services,” Sanchez-Warren advised.

Meanwhile, the resident is thinking about shopping around instead of spending the extra money at Arbor View.

“I might stay a couple of months, but then i might think of moving someplace," he said.

How would you improve the Olde Town Arvada historic district? The city wants to know

The City of Arvada is looking for people's thoughts and opinions on the future of the Olde Town historic district. The area has been a favorite for eating, drinking, and shopping for many years, and now with several blocks closed off to traffic, its popularity has grown even more.On Wednesday, the city held a meeting to get feedback on potential improvements to the district. It was the final meeting for public feedback on designs for the 20-year Olde Town Arvada Strategic Reinvestment Plan."It's going to be a great plan,&q...

The City of Arvada is looking for people's thoughts and opinions on the future of the Olde Town historic district. The area has been a favorite for eating, drinking, and shopping for many years, and now with several blocks closed off to traffic, its popularity has grown even more.

On Wednesday, the city held a meeting to get feedback on potential improvements to the district. It was the final meeting for public feedback on designs for the 20-year Olde Town Arvada Strategic Reinvestment Plan.

"It's going to be a great plan," said Ryan Stachelski, Director of Community and Economic Development for the city of Arvada. "It's going to be representative of what the community wants to see."

With its trendy restaurants and small boutiques, Olde Town Arvada is evolving. It's a transformation Graham and Caitlin Dake have loved over the last five years.

"It reminds us a lot of Pearl Street in Boulder, to be honest," Graham said.

Of all the changes, the couple may love the pedestrian streets the most. Originally a pandemic pivot to help businesses in the area, the city has since made the road closures permanent.

"I've really seen a lot of life being brought into this place," Graham said.

"It has a nice downtown community feel," said Caitlin.

Now, the city of Arvada is looking to build on that by creating a reinvestment plan for the next 20 years. The effort started last June and will include community feedback.

"People really look at Olde Town Arvada as something they want to emulate in their communities," said Stachelski.

According to Stachelski, early feedback has shown people want more closed streets and improved lighting. Parking, safety, and accessibility are all being discussed too.

"We're going to take that feedback and then we're going to put it into the draft plan, and then from there we'll be able to take it to city council and get their final buy-in," he said.

Moving forward, some of that feedback will come from the Bluegrass Coffee and Bourbon Lounge, where general manager Josh Schwartz wants the street outside the business closed, much like Olde Wadsworth.

"We'd love to see it expanded onto Grandview as well," Schwartz said.

For him, more access means more visitors, as well as a brighter future for Olde Town.

"It's going to be exciting to see this small town become one of the biggest names in Denver, and steps like this help the future out," Schwartz said.

If you missed the meeting, you can fill out the city's online survey about the reinvestment plan.

Stachelski said city staff will use the feedback to make tweaks to the plan and then present it to the city council in May. They hope to have the plan fully approved this summer.

Conor McCue

Conor McCue is a general assignment reporter at CBS News Colorado. Read his latest reports or check out his bio and send him an email.

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Senior Living Community Tops Out in Arvada

United Properties recently celebrated the topping out of Amira Choice Arvada, its newest Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Colorado.Project partners include Catamount Constructors, VTBS Architects, Brue Baukol Capital Partners, First National Bank ...

United Properties recently celebrated the topping out of Amira Choice Arvada, its newest Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Colorado.

Project partners include Catamount Constructors, VTBS Architects, Brue Baukol Capital Partners, First National Bank of Omaha, Great Lakes Management and HS Colorado LLC.

“We are excited to have reached this construction milestone as we look forward to completing this special project. It is a tough environment for construction right now, and we have only been able to reach this topping-out milestone through the hard work and dedication of our team,” said Matt Oermann, vice president, United Properties. “This marks United Properties’ first location in Colorado under our new Amira brand. We are thrilled to provide supportive services and individualized care to our seniors within a beautiful community where everyone can flourish.”

The senior living community will have four floors and 120 units. Both inside and out, Amira Choice Arvada offers extensive amenities for every season, including beautifully landscaped grounds and spacious apartment homes featuring comfortable, light-filled layouts — from studio to two-bedroom floor plans — with premium finishes and fixtures. From well-appointed living spaces to fulfilling social opportunities and elegant design, every detail is designed to help residents live life to the fullest. An experienced team will manage the day-to-day maintenance, freeing up time for residents to enjoy community activities and events with their neighbors.

“It has been an honor to work with United Properties on the Amira Choice Arvada project,” said Ian McIntosh, project executive, Catamount Constructors. “All project teams demonstrated strong collaboration to get to this point of being able to celebrate the topping out of this senior living project.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this senior living project with everyone at United Properties,” said Mark Barton, Denver division president, Catamount Constructors. “We are excited for the future with this great team.”

Amira Choice Arvada will feature beautiful millwork with under cabinet lighting, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, high-end finishes, and more. The senior living community will also feature a variety of lifestyle amenities, such as restaurant-style dining, a spa, a fitness studio, library, a game room, community lounge, theater/multi-purpose room, and two outdoor amenity decks.

Boasting amazing views of North Table Mountain and the Denver foothills, the community is also close to walking trails, a King Soopers-anchored shopping center, medical facilities and restaurants.

“We chose Arvada because it allows us to create an environment for our residents to feel empowered to live optimistically, confidently and with a sense of purpose. The location fulfills our goal to provide delightful homes in a community that offers residents a sense of belonging, engagement and connection,” said Oermann. “The City of Arvada is a highly desirable location, with a high retention rate for its residents. Our community will provide seniors in the area who may need additional care another option that allows them to stay in the city they love.”

Occupancy is expected in 2024. For more information, visit

Week in theater: ‘Deathtrap’ wrapping in Louisville, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in Longmont

On stageBeauty and the Beast: Teen-performed production of the timeless fairy tale; on stage through Sunday, Unitiive Theatre, 800 S. Hover Road, Longmont; $20-$25; Florida: Two performers who have never met, perform a script given them via headphones, on stage through March 18, Square Product Theatre, Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder; $15-$20; ...

On stage

Beauty and the Beast: Teen-performed production of the timeless fairy tale; on stage through Sunday, Unitiive Theatre, 800 S. Hover Road, Longmont; $20-$25;

Celebration Florida: Two performers who have never met, perform a script given them via headphones, on stage through March 18, Square Product Theatre, Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder; $15-$20;

Deathtrap: Thriller about a writer suffering from writer’s block; on stage through Saturday, Coal Creek Theater of Louisville, Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant St., Louisville, $25-$28;

Fiddler on the Roof: Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher’s fresh take on the beloved masterpiece about life on a Jewish shtetl; on stage through March 19, DCPA Broadway, Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, Denver; $35-$130;

Footloose — The Musical: A teenager moves to a small town from the city and dares to dance, upsetting the townsfolk; on stage through March 19, The Arts HUB Players, 420 Courtney Way, Lafayette; $15-$25;

Hotter Than Egypt: An American couple’s relationship is tested in this new dramedy; on stage through Sunday, Denver Center Theatre Company, Kilstrom Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, Denver; $25-$70;

Laughs in Spanish: New comedy about an art gallery director with a serious problem on her hands; on stage through Sunday, Denver Center Theatre Company, Singleton Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, Denver; $35-$50;

The Odd Couple: Two best friends, a neatnik and a slob, room together after their divorces in the classic Neil Simon comedy; on stage through March 18, Theater Company of Lafayette, Mary Miller Theater, 300 E. Simpson St., Lafayette; $23-$25;

Our Town: Classic play about growing up and dying in an American burg; on stage through May 21, Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada;

Something Rotten!: Two brothers compete against Shakespeare to write the world’s first musical; on stage through April 21, BDT Stage, 5501 Arapahoe Road, Boulder; $70-$75;

Tiny Beautiful Things: Based on the book by advice columnist Cheryl Strayed; on stage through March 25, Firehouse Theater Company, John Hand Theater, 7653 E. 1st Place, Denver; $25;

Undone — The Lady M Project: A high court convenes in purgatory to judge the actions of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth; on stage through March 25, Local Theater Company, The Savoy, 2700 Arapahoe St., Denver; $12-$45;

Coming soon

1776: National tour of the Tony Award-winner for Best Musical that reexamines a pivotal moment in our nation’s history; March 21-April 2, DCPA Broadway, Buell Theatre, 14th and Curtis streets, Denver; $35-$120;

The Book Club Play: Comedy about a documentarian who turns their lens on a book club; March 17-May18, Arvada Center, Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada;

Drinking Habits: Two nuns secretly make wine to keep the convent running in this farce; March 17-26, Longmont Theatre Company, 513 Main St., Longmont; $35;

To submit a theater pick, email the entry plus a high-resolution photo to, with “Friday Mag theater pick” in the subject line.

Colorado governor, lawmakers take aim at students’ low math scores with new funding, training proposal

As Colorado students’ math scores have continued to plummet during the pandemic, Gov. Jared Polis and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are intervening with legislation that aims to expand both teacher training and programs that have improved kids’ math skills while also coaching parents on how to help with math at home.“Government is supposed to take care of education,” bill sponsor Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango said before a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss the legislation. “I think we...

As Colorado students’ math scores have continued to plummet during the pandemic, Gov. Jared Polis and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are intervening with legislation that aims to expand both teacher training and programs that have improved kids’ math skills while also coaching parents on how to help with math at home.

“Government is supposed to take care of education,” bill sponsor Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango said before a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss the legislation. “I think we just might lose a generation of kids who don’t have math skills. I’m not sure you pick those up quite as readily when you’re an adult.”

The legislation — also sponsored by Sen. Janice Marchman, D-Loveland, and Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument — elevates concerns about Colorado students struggling in math with a proposal for a new statewide focus on helping them improve their skills and excel.

The strategies contained in the bill — including teacher training, support for students and families outside school hours and a sharper focus on math literacy starting in preschool — add up to about $28 million over two years. The bill is expected to be introduced late Tuesday.

Colorado students across grades have increasingly struggled to make gains in math while falling short of grade-level benchmarks.

Less than a third of Colorado elementary and middle school students are meeting or exceeding grade level standards in math, according to a November report published by the nonprofit Keystone Center, which analyzed results from Colorado Measures of Academic Success and SAT exams.

Less than 35% of 11th grade students met or exceeded college readiness targets in math on the SAT — down more than 4 percentage points from 2019. Additionally, Colorado students fell short with results in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, referred to as NAEP, released last fall.

That data, which compares students’ academic achievement across states, illustrated setbacks in math among elementary and middle school students. Fourth graders in Colorado experienced significant declines, Chalkbeat Colorado reported, with proficiency falling to 36% of students in 2022 from about 44% of students in 2019.

Polis hit on the fact that kids in Colorado and across the country are falling behind their peers in math in other countries. Colorado fared above average with math scores before the pandemic and remains in line with the national average, Polis said, referring to NAEP results. But math proficiency nationally and in Colorado has dropped.

“As a nation, we compare very poorly to other wealthy nations in Europe and Asia regarding math achievement,” Polis said, adding, “I think that this investment will help more Colorado students achieve at or above grade level.”

Polis, who said that he “always did fine in math” but preferred social studies, government and history courses, noted that regardless of the direction students take after high school, their success hinges on a strong foundation in math. Students pursuing higher education, a career in the trades or even a career in politics need basic proficiency in math, Polis said.

“I think it’s also important that people in our leadership positions have an understanding of statistics — a key part of math that helps us understand the world better” and allows for data to inform policy, he said.

Polis called the legislative momentum behind improving students’ grasp of math “historic.”

“We can’t keep doing the same thing,” he said. “We need to change what we’re doing with what we know works.”

Empowering teachers, students and parents to master math

The new legislation would give schools more resources and teachers more instructional support as they work to help students better comprehend math, including by directing the Colorado Department of Education to offer free training for elementary, middle and high school teachers in evidence-based math strategies starting by January. The training would walk teachers through ways they can specifically aid students who are performing below grade level as well as children with disabilities and kids learning English. Close to 36,000 educators could benefit from training, Polis said, citing estimated figures from the Colorado Department of Education.

Additionally, the legislation would require incoming math teachers to be trained in evidence-based math practices while enrolled in their teacher preparation program and learn how to ensure kids below grade level, children with disabilities and students learning English make strides.

The bill also would create the Colorado academic accelerator grant program, a $25 million state investment that will fund community learning centers where kids can take advantage of tutoring when they’re not in school and where families can seek help with math. An additional $3 million in federal funding will go toward purchasing digital equipment and software. State officials estimate more than 50,000 students will benefit from the grant program, through which they will also be able to connect with mentors and enroll in remedial education programs.

“It is out of school — after school and out of school,” bill sponsor Lundeen said. “That’s a unique and interesting way to engage in a flexible way with parents and students so they can access it as it fits into their life in a beneficial way.”

A big part of the legislation centers on setting parents and caregivers up for success in guiding their students through math concepts. Polis and lawmakers want to make sure parents and caregivers are notified if their child is lagging in math and that both the state and schools equip them with tools and resources to effectively help.

Another legislative priority focuses on giving kids more opportunities to be exposed to math as they get ready for their first years of school, mandating that early childhood educators be well versed in early math literacy and incorporate it into their curriculum.

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Meanwhile, Polis and lawmakers are also revising the Ninth Grade Success Grant program within the bill. That program prepares freshmen to remain on academic track with their high school peers. The legislation will prioritize grant applicants that incorporate programs built on evidence-based math skills and interventions, particularly for kids consistently struggling in math.

The legislation comes as state leaders shift their focus to math achievement from student literacy, which dominated concerns over the past decade in Colorado.

In 2012, the Colorado legislature passed the Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act, which laid out requirements and resources aimed at helping students in kindergarten through third grade read on grade level, so they’re proficient by the time they reach fourth grade, which is when kids usually shift from learning to read to reading to learn.

Prior to announcing the legislation Tuesday, Polis’ 2023-24 budget proposal cited the need to invest more money in public education, specifically to advance students’ understanding of math.

“The pandemic has been devastating for students, especially in mathematics, where we saw significant drops in our fourth and eighth grade math scores,” his budget proposal stated. The proposal mentioned the governor’s plans to collaborate with lawmakers in an effort to make sure all school districts have high-quality materials and training and to put funding into additional resources to help “get every student back on track to math proficiency as soon as possible.”

Educators’ worries about their students’ challenges to grasp math concepts have become more pronounced during the pandemic. But they also aren’t completely surprised by the declines in math scores, as many students have dealt with life-altering consequences from the pandemic, including losing loved ones, grappling with housing instability and living in uncertainty as parents and caregivers transition between jobs.


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“The last few years have been some of the toughest teachers have faced” and taken a toll on students, said Jena Graham, a third grade teacher at Hudson Elementary School in Weld County. Graham, who spoke at the news conference, said she has worked to build student confidence in their math abilities by having students talk to each other about math and move away from the idea that there’s only one right approach when problem solving.

“I think our biggest push in our school is getting kids to talk about the math, and I think the biggest change that I’ve seen since being a student myself is that we’re encouraging multiple strategies,” Graham said.

Marchman, another bill sponsor, has experience as a middle school math interventionist and said that math is just as important as literacy.

“We know that students need to be able to be competent in high school algebra,” Marchman said, “so that they are ready for (their) career and (the) workforce.”


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