Facebook Twitter

Week of 1/10/11: Teaching & learning tidbits

Aurora Public Schools to hold special education resource fair

Aurora Public Schools will hold a resource fair for people with disabilities and their parents, caregivers and educators from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, at the Professional Learning & Conference Center, 15771 E. 1st Ave., Aurora. Find more information in this YourHub article. Featured sessions include:

  • How children learn and why they struggle
  • Reducing unwanted behaviors through structure and routine
  • Understanding special education: Key things that parents need to know (This class will be taught in Spanish with English interpretation available.)

Free childcare will be provided for children ages 2 to 12. Lunch will be available for purchase. For more information, contact Diane Bieber at dlbieber@aps.k12.co.us or 303-340-0510 Ext. 2831.

East High School will screen “Race to Nowhere”

Parents and students are invited to watch the documentary about the high-stakes, high pressure culture that permeates some American schools. The public is invited to this screening at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, in the East High School auditorium, 1600 City Park Esplanade. A discussion will follow. Click here for more information on screenings in your areas. Tickets are $10 or $15 at the door.

All of school’s graduating class admitted to four-year college

For the fourth consecutive year, 100 percent of the senior class attending Denver School of Science and Technology: Stapleton High School have been accepted into a four-year college or university. All 86 students of the class of 2011 have been admitted to at least one public institution of higher learning, duplicating the achievement of the students enrolled in DSST’s first, second and third graduating classes in 2008, 2009 and 2010. This is unprecedented for a public high school in metro Denver. Learn more.

Study finds decline in K-12 computer science education

Computer technology may drive the U.S. economy, but computer science education is absent in most American K-12 classrooms, according to a report by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Computer Science Teachers Association.

“Some states and some schools are offering some really excellent courses. But overall, the picture is pretty bleak,” said report co-author Mark Stehlik, assistant dean at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, last month. Read more in Computerworld.

Schools prepare for national standards

Maryland and D.C. school officials have agreed to national academic standards and have begun to lay the groundwork for new tests and teacher training. But it will take at least a few years before such measures generate notable change in classrooms. The movement to adopt common standards swept 40 states and the District last year, a watershed for public education expected to ripple through many aspects of teaching and learning. Read more in the Washington Post.

Younger students have different needs

Colleges and universities are learning lessons as they design online courses to meet a growing demand for   e-learning driven largely by student desire for scheduling flexibility and access to coursework not otherwise available. High schools, too, are building a framework of best practices for online-only courses and for hybrid classes that blend online and face-to-face learning, especially for students at the lowest and highest ends of the academic spectrum. Read more in EdWeek.

Linking e-courses to ‘common core’ academic standards

The widespread pledge by states to adopt “common core” academic standards could allow online education to truly break down state boundaries for teachers and students for the first time, and reduce the cost of online-course creation, experts in virtual education say. Read more in EdWeek.

Judge rules New York City can disclose names in teacher rankings

A Manhattan judge ruled Monday that the city may release performance rankings of thousands of teachers to the public, denying a request by the teachers union to keep the teachers’ names confidential. Read more in the New York Times.

Colorado school enrollment grows 1.3 percent

The Colorado Department of Education announced the statewide pupil count for the 2010-2011 school year increased by 10,948 over the previous year, bringing the total to 843,316 public school students. The change represents an increase of 1.3 percent, a growth rate slightly less than the 2009-2010 jump of 1.7 percent. In 2008-2009, enrollment surged 2 percent, the largest increase in recent history.

The change left the list of Colorado’s 15 largest school districts in the same rank order. The state’s third largest district, Douglas County Schools, jumped over the 60,000-student mark for the first time. In 1990, Douglas County served 13,125 students and in 2000 its enrollment stood at 34,918.

Fast-growing districts

  • The districts with the largest student enrollment increases from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011 include Julesburg School District Re-1, up 550 students (44.5 percent increase); Mapleton School District, up 1,859 students (32.2 percent increase) and the Charter School Institute, up 1,400 students (21.3 percent increase).

Online enrollment surges

  • The 2010-2011 enrollment totals include 15,249 students registered to online educational programs. That total is 1.8 percent of all students. The current enrollment reflects a 14 percent increase from 2009-2010, when there were 13,128 students in online programs. In 2002-2003, there were just 1,876 students in online programs and, at the time, those students reflected .25 percent of the entire statewide enrollment.

For access to the complete 2010-2011 school year student count information, click 2010 Pupil Membership.

Denver’s launch of “Educa” radio show named one of year’s best policies

The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy has named DPS’ launch of “Educa” radio show one of the best policies in 2010. From DMI’s website: “The experts agree: parental involvement has strong positive effects on students’ achievement in school. When parents are engaged with their child’s education, attendance improves, grades and test scores go up, and graduation rates rise. But how can school districts involve parents who don’t speak English? In Denver, where three in five students are Latino and many have parents with poor English skills, the school system has taken to the radio waves.”

Students use math to solve mock crimes

Area high school students took a break from the classroom to visit several mock crime scenes on Tuesday. The exercise was part of a day devoted to teaching students how they can apply math and science skills to real life.

“These students do higher- level math in school and don’t realize how it can be used in every-day crime situations,” said Kim Terry, curriculum specialist with the county’s Superintendent of Schools Office. “We are literally taking kids out of the classroom and exposing them to careers.”

Read more in the San Bernardino Sun newspaper.

APS receives grant to fund English learning program

The Aurora Public Schools District will receive more than $279,000 in grants from the Colorado Department of Education to fund a new program for English language learners. The grant money will go toward Project BRIDGE, a yearlong teaching collaboration between APS and Regis University. Read more in the Aurora Sentinel.

Foundations grant $50K to Tollgate and Montview elementary schools

The Partnership for Great Schools – an alliance made up of the Gates Family, Anschutz, Fox Family and Piton Foundations – is awarding $50,000 to Tollgate and Montview elementary schools. The grant is the top amount allocated to any school, and only a few schools in the Denver area are receiving that size of award. Read more in YourHub.

Student fight to keep Lakota Sioux class alive

When Andrew Wise and classmates returned from winter break, they found out that their favorite subject at East High School had a problem.

“Lakota class doesn’t have a teacher anymore,” Andrew, a sophomore, said. “I almost cried.”

Just two days before classes were to restart, the teacher of the Lakota Sioux Language and Culture class resigned for personal reasons. See this 9News report.

New Jersey teachers union plans to fight gov over plan to scrap tenure

The New Jersey Education Association, while admitting changes are needed, stands ready to fight for teacher tenure, the core job protection it says has helped make New Jersey’s schools among the best in the nation. But on Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for its elimination, saying tenure has become a handicap to providing children with a quality education. Read the Press of Atlantic City.

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.