Thursday Churn: The Denver Plan

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

The Denver Public Schools board has a busy agenda for tonight’s meeting, but the time allotted for public comment could provide one of the more interesting parts of the session.

A+ Denver, the organization that monitors the district and promotes excellence in the city’s schools, has completed a lengthy review of the Denver Plan, the district’s strategic blueprint first adopted in 2005 and updated in 2010.

Van Schoales, director of the group, will provide a summary of the organization’s conclusions about the Denver Plan during the public comment session.

Other items on the board’s agenda include a vote on a the application for innovation status from the Creative Challenge Community elementary school; consideration of a resolution to support Senate Bill 12-015, which would create a special tuition rate for undocumented college students; and updates on DPS graduation and remediation rates.

The board meets at 5 p.m. in the first-floor boardroom of district headquarters, 900 Grant St. The public comment period is at 6:30 p.m. Agenda

Four finalists have been named for the position of dean of arts and sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. They are Paul Beale, physics department chair at CU-Boulder; Antonio Cepeda-Benito, faculty dean at Texas A&M University; Jeffrey Cox, a CU-Boulder associate vice chancellor; and Steven Leigh, an associate dean at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. More information

What’s tap:

Three interesting education bills get their first committee hearings this afternoon.

Senate Bill 12-068, the proposed ban on trans fats in food served at schools, will be heard by the Senate Agriculture Committee. On the agenda for the Senate Education Committee are Senate Bill 12-098, which would make CPR training a high school graduation requirement, and Senate Bill 12-046, a proposed revision of school discipline laws.

The original versions of all three bills have raised concerns for various education interest groups, and significant amendments are likely to be proposed.

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia speaks at noon to the winter legislative meeting of the Colorado Association of School Boards at the Brown Palace Hotel.

A good read from elsewhere:

Testing the young: Assessment of preschool and kindergarten students is a hot topic these days. In Colorado, the Department of Education is reviewing the state’s existing tests and House Bill 12-1238 proposes a full rewrite of current state law on early literacy. And there’s lots of discussion around the country about the issue, according to a new report from the Educational Testing Service.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.