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The Daily Churn: Friday

What’s churning:

Jefferson County school board members will spend four hours today with a facilitator – nope, he’s not a marriage counselor – whose goal is to improve their teamwork. Matt Van Aucken’s official title is director of strategic initiatives and service integration for Jefferson County’s Human Services department. But his work with the Jeffco board is being done on his own time, not the county’s, said Jeffco Superintendent Cindy Stevenson. Until 2008, Van Aucken’s background was largely private-sector – he helped expand big-name companies such as the Hard Rock Café.

Stevenson said Van Aucken’s work with the Jeffco board is “an opportunity to look at how we work together reflectively and how we support the district in ongoing improvement.” Denver Public Schools board members hired a therapist specializing in marriage counseling to facilitate a daylong retreat last December, after a particularly controversial and tearful board meeting. In Jeffco, controversy has swirled around board member Laura Boggs, whose behavior has been criticized by the teachers’ union and others. Stevenson politely declined to say whether today’s meeting stems from concern about Boggs’ actions.

She did, however, note that the board has previously received similar training from the Colorado Association of School Boards in early 2010. The district paid $1,200 per day for three 8-hour sessions with CASB in January, February and March. Van Aucken has not submitted an invoice for his services, Stevenson said, so the exact cost for today’s meeting isn’t yet known. The four-hour meeting begins at 1 p.m. and is open to the public. The agenda is here.

What’s on tap:

The State Council on Educator Effectiveness is scheduled to meet from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Capital. Here’s the agenda.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Unintended consequences: San Francisco’s convoluted diversity program often shuts out middle-class families.

Mini U.N.: Denver’s South High is a remarkably diverse place.

Promising Promise Neighborhoods: Writer Paul Tough urges Congress not to slash President Obama’s pet program.

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