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This week's teaching & learning tidbits

Boulder Valley School District board votes against later start to year

The Boulder Valley School District board on Tuesday night rejected a proposal to start school four days later next fall than this year, saying that the few days would not make enough of a difference to warrant changing the school calendar.

The proposal, which failed by a 4-2 vote, came after concerns from parents about unbearably hot classrooms during August’s heat wave. Read more in the Colorado Daily.

Want to learn more about District 6? Join the Citizens Academy

Community members in Greeley and Evans who are interested in learning more about the operation of local schools and the school district are invited to participate in the 2011-12 District 6 Citizens Academy. The Academy began on Oct. 17.

Academy participants will meet six times during the school year to tour elementary, middle and high schools, the administration building, and other support service offices. Participants will learn about school finance and administration, curriculum and instruction, safety and positive behavior supports, facility maintenance, student achievement results, school bus service, student nutrition and more.

The academy will meet from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the following Mondays during the 2011-12 school year. The meetings will be held at various schools and support offices across the district.

  • Nov. 21
  • Dec. 19
  • Feb. 6
  • March 19
  • April 30

There is no cost to attend the academy, and participants will receive lunch during the meetings. The class size will be small, in order to allow in-depth discussions, questions and answers. To register for the academy, please contact Roger Fiedler, D6 communications director, at 348-6003 or

‘Slow family’ movement focuses on fewer outside activities

Families who spend more time together while their children are young tend to have a stronger family bond for decades, experts say.

But it takes a lot of effort to plan and then live the “slow family” lifestyle, which suggests that kids don’t need to be enrolled in activities for every off-school moment.

Tom and Judy Stadem of rural Tea south of Sioux Falls create lots of family time with their four children and foster child. Read more in USA Today.

CollegeInvest offers college savings

CollegeInvest, Colorado’s non-profit higher education savings resource, is helping Colorado’s lower to middle income families make saving for college a little easier through its Matching Grant Program.

The Matching Grant Program matches contributions to CollegeInvest’s college savings plans, dollar-for-dollar for qualifying lower to middle income Colorado families, providing up to $500 in matching funds annually (subject to the availability of funds). Families may qualify for up to five consecutive years, so each participating family has the potential turn a savings investment of $2,500 into $5,000.

Families must apply for the Matching Grant Program by December 31 to be pre-approved to receive matching grants on contributions they make to CollegeInvest 529 college savings plans. Visit for a complete income guideline qualification chart. You may also call 1-800-478-5651 for more information.

CollegeInvest offers college savings plans that combine federal tax advantages with a Colorado state income tax deduction for all contributions. Money saved through these 529 plans can be used nationwide at any eligible public or private college, university, vocational or trade school.

Homeless students a growing problem in Colorado schools

LAKEWOOD – Ten-year-old Orlando Ramirez-Lopez and his two brothers, 8-year-old Donny and 6-year-old Izacc, all have every reason not to come to school.

“It takes us awhile to get down here,” Orlando said.

“They wake us up early,” Donny said.

Check out the 9NEWS report.

Re-1 weighs in on charter application

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A new state charter school proposed to be located in Glenwood Springs would have serious economic and social impacts on other public schools locally, according to Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Superintendent Judy Haptonstall. Read more in the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent.

School district must make up for an extra $2 million shortfall

MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) – At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, members were briefed on the latest enrollment numbers, which determine how much funding the district receives from the state.

They learned that the projected loss of students was nearly double what they expected.

Board member Greg Mikolai says, “For the 2011/2012 budget, we projected a loss of 165 students. But now it looks like we may have as many as 320.” He says, “It’s disheartening.” Watch the 11NEWS report.

Denver’s College Readiness Month instills college spirit

As Denver Public Schools and the Denver Scholarship Foundation announce October as College & Career Readiness Month, the district announced dozens of college-readiness events for students and parents.

DPS first launched College and Career Readiness Month in 2010, and it will be celebrated every October. The month includes dozens of college-preparation and information events.

“Our focus is getting all of our kids to think beyond high school and providing the educational opportunities and support to prepare for success in college and in life,” DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said. “High school graduation is not the finish line, and our mission is to make sure our students are ready for the next step in their education, so that they have a real shot to live the dreams they have for themselves.”

Also on Friday, the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) announced it has reached its $10 million mark in scholarships given to 2,000 DPS students since 2007. In 2007, DSF awarded 135 scholarships totaling $270,000 to DPS graduates. During the 2011-2012 academic year, the Foundation will support 1,700 students with $4.5 million in scholarships.

DSF currently operates 16 Future Centers in DPS. Through the Future Centers, more than 8,000 students have applied to college since 2006.

A big focus of the district’s reforms—as laid out in the 2010 Denver Plan—has been high expectations for all students and increased rigor in all academic programs. At the secondary level, high school leaders have worked to expand concurrent enrollment in college courses and Advanced Placement courses to a much broader range of students. These are accelerated courses that challenge students and allow them to be eligible to receive college credit in the subject if they post a qualifying score on the final AP exam or pass the college-level course.

More information on DPS College & Career Readiness Month:

  • College Spirit Fridays: Every Friday during the month of October DPS staff and students will sport their college gear.
  • Oct. 19: DPS Expo: Families will explore middle and high school options to find the right fit and school offerings for their students.
  • Oct. 21: CU and DU mascots to visit schools in Northwest and Southeast Denver.
  • Oct. 22: National ACT Testing Day

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