DPS board approves Montbello reforms

Education News Colorado gives you the latest on sweeping reforms slated for schools in Far Northeast Denver.

“The 4-3 vote came after another two hours of board debate that centered around a string of eight amendments, most from dissenting board members Arturo Jimenez, Jeanne Kaplan and Andrea Merida.

Board President Nate Easley, who represents Far Northeast Denver, said he was voting for approval of the plan despite being threatened this week with a voter recall if he did so.

“If I’m recalled, so be it,” Easley said. “I’m going to vote my conviction.”

APS chief named best in Colorado

John Barry Aurora SuperintendentThe Colorado Association of School Executives has named John L. Barry the 2011 Colorado Superintendent of the Year.

With the support of the APS Board of Education, School Executives of Aurora nominated Barry for the award, stating that Barry has “changed the focus, philosophy, and physical structure of (the district).”

“This is a tremendous honor, and I gratefully accept it on behalf of our educational partners, including the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education, our administrators, teachers, classified personnel, parents, community and most importantly, our students,” Barry said. “This recognition is a tribute to the partnership that we share and our commitment to accelerate student achievement and close the achievement gaps.”

Falcon High allows gay-marriage T-shirt after ACLU heat

The Denver Post reports on the latest Colorado school free speech flap.

“Falcon High School senior Kate Cohn was called into the principal’s office at the end of classes Tuesday and told that she and other students could, after a two-week ban, wear a T-shirt saying: “Marriage is so gay.”

Kate, 17, had worn the shirt Nov. 2, Election Day, at the El Paso County school to make a political statement in support of the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

Douglas County: Venting on vouchers

Education News Colorado gives you the latest information on the contentious voucher debate unfolding in Douglas County.

“It was a civil, if feisty, crowd.

More than 40 speakers and others packed a school board meeting room in Castle Rock on Tuesday for the public’s first chance to comment on Douglas County’s voucher proposal.

Most of the speakers – 26 of the 42 – spoke against the draft plan, citing concerns about public dollars flowing to private schools and the potential exodus of district students. Some criticized the board’s decision to spend more than $13,000 on the attorney who wrote the proposal.

“We do not have a failing school system,” said a passionate Daniel Galloway, the father of four students in district schools. “Let’s call this what it is. You call it choice, I call it a bailout or a subsidy.”

Boulder Valley school board vote on Monarch student sets up power struggle

The Daily Camera reports on a mini-scandal at Monarch High School.

“A faculty adviser to the Monarch High School student council has stepped down from his post, showing his displeasure with a recent Boulder Valley school board decision to reinstate a student who had been removed from the council.

Science teacher Tony Tolbert stepped aside from his job teaching the student council class at Monarch after the school board voted 5-2 on Friday to reverse a decision by the principal – later affirmed by Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Chris King – to remove senior Dylan Quick as head boy of the Louisville school.”

Quick is the son of a local district attorney.

Daniels Fund awards $3 million to Denver School of Science and Technology

DSST Public Schools announced  it has received a five-year, $3 million grant from the Daniels Fund to help fund expansion of its network of public charter schools.

“The Daniels Fund believes DSST offers a model for academic performance, innovation, leadership, and strong community support,” explains Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund. “DSST schools have achieved great results, demonstrating that all students can perform to high standards when given quality support to get there.”

DSST Public Schools (DSST) operates open-enrollment STEM charter schools and is part of the Denver Public Schools system. DSST currently serves over 1,000 students with three schools on two campuses. DSST has been approved to open three additional secondary school campuses (grades 6-12) in 2011, 2012 and 2013. At full enrollment, DSST Public Schools will serve over 4,200 students, and will double the number of four year college-ready DPS graduates by 2020.

Tired of the blame for failing students, more teachers take charge

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the growing number of schools launched – and run – by teachers.

Your child left behind

The Atlantic takes a closer look at the quality of American schools.

For years, poor performance by students in America relative to those in other countries has been explained away as a consequence of our nationwide diversity. But what if you looked more closely, breaking down our results by state and searching not for an average, but for excellence?

Colo. schools chief  leads push to overhaul teacher prep programs

A national panel composed of education experts and critics today called for teacher education to be “turned upside down” by revamping programs to place clinical practice at the center of teacher preparation, not unlike the medical profession.

Those and other sweeping recommendations are being released by a Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning, convened by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The panel is co-chaired by Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight D. Jones and Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York.

Boulder Valley schools look for new ways to help gifted kids

The Daily Camera reports on new efforts in Boulder Valley to meet the needs of gifted students.

Last school year, Boulder Valley held community meetings on the district’s gifted programs to gather feedback on both program strengths and the need for changes. People asked for more support for the emotional needs, intentional grouping of gifted students for instruction, more teacher training and gifted “focus” or magnet schools.

Early literacy collection given to 35 Colorado public library sites

The Colorado State Library announced  this week that 35 Colorado public library sites in 25 library systems have been awarded an early literacy collection of 24 picture books. The collections contain picture books based on research on what works with young children to inspire learning.

The storytime collection was funded through federal funds designed to promote early literacy. Library sites were selected based on a demonstrated commitment to serving children, success in implementing literacy programs for children and interest in early literacy development in the community. All 35 library sites serve populations under 25,000 and are located across Colorado.

The following library districts/systems were awarded one or more early literacy collections:

  • Akron Public Library
  • Canon City Public Library
  • Cortez Public Library
  • Delta County Public Library District
  • Dolores Library District / Montezuma County
  • East Cheyenne County Library District
  • East Morgan County Library District / Brush
  • Elbert County Library District
  • Garfield County Public Library District
  • Gunnison County Library District
  • Kiowa County Public Library District / Eads
  • Lamar Public Library
  • Mancos Public Library District
  • Montrose Regional Library District
  • Northern Chaffee County Library District / Buena Vista
  • Park County Public Library
  • Penrose Community Library District
  • Rampart Library District
  • Rangely Regional Library District
  • Rio Grande Library District / Monte Vista
  • Spanish Peaks Library District / Walsenburg
  • Sterling Public Library
  • West Routt Library District / Hayden
  • Wray Public Library
  • Yuma Public Library

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.