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Monday Churn: Honoring top performers

What’s churning:

The Colorado Department of Education will hold an awards ceremony to recognize the 18 districts Accredited with Distinction under the state’s accountability system. The event starts at 10 a.m. in the CDE lobby at 201 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. Full list of winners:

Academy School District 20, Agate School District 300, Aspen School District 1, Buffalo School District RE-4, Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, Dolores School District RE-4A, Frenchman School District RE-3, Hinsdale County School District RE-1, Kiowa County School District C-2, Lewis-Palmer School District 38, Littleton Public Schools 6, Moffat School District 2, North Park School District R-1, Ouray School District R-1, Plateau School District RE-5, Ridgway School District R-2, Steamboat Springs School District RE-2 and Telluride School District R-1

The ceremony will also recognize the recipients of the 2011 Centers of Excellence award. Established by the Colorado legislature, the Centers of Excellence Award recognizes schools that demonstrate the highest rates of student longitudinal growth as measured by the Colorado Growth Model among those that have at least 75 percent at-risk students. For a list of the 2011 winners, click here.

The department will also recognize, but not distribute, two additional awards at the event: the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award and John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award. More on those here and here.

Also, the CDE also announced the formation of a Rural Education Council to “oversee, support, conduct research and advocate for the needs, concerns and particular problems of rural education districts.” Colorado Education Commissioner Robert Hammond made the announcement late last week, following up on a study that was conducted earlier this year. The council is comprised of one rural superintendent from each of eight regions in the state and representatives from local school boards, teachers, principals and business/community members. For a list of all members, go here.

The council will hold its first meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15 in Denver. Future quarterly meetings will be held around the state in rural locations so hosts can highlight the unique needs of their communities.

The Denver Education Compact, the centerpiece of Mayor Michael Hancock’s public education initiative, is set for its first meeting today under executive director Theresa Peña. The compact, a committee of 25 community, business and education leaders selected by Hancock, is charged with making specific commitments to improve Denver education from cradle to career.

The committee has met twice before under interim director Janet Lopez. Today marks the first session for the group since Peña assumed her post as the executive director. Peña last month concluded her second and final term as an at-large member of the Denver school board. Co-chairs of the group are Hancock, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg and Donna Lynne, president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

Today’s public meeting runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m., in the Parr-Widener Community Room on the third floor of the Denver City & County Building, 1437 Bannock St. More info

What’s on tap:

TODAY

The Legislative Audit Committee will receive the annual financial and compliance audit of the University of Colorado starting at 1:30 p.m. The committee meets in its first-floor hearing room in the Legislative Services Building, 200 E. 14th Ave. Agenda

Denver school board members meet today in their regular monthly work session prior to Thursday’s meeting. The board will hear from the Start Date Task Force, including its analysis on whether the district should consider a later start to the school year. Background story. Other agenda items include updates on the district’s unified SchoolChoice enrollment system and the Northwest Community Committee. It begins at 4:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. Agenda. Remember you can watch the meetings live here.

Prior to the DPS work session, the board’s finance and audit committee meets at 3 p.m. , also at 900 Grant St. The agenda includes a discussion of the district’s financial status, with a presentation noting Gov. Hickenlooper’s proposed budget could mean a reduction of $175 per student or about $14 million for DPS. Other provisions of the governor’s budget could cut another $125 per student. Financial presentation, full agenda

The Cherry Creek school board meets at High Plains Elementary, 6100 S. Fulton St., beginning at 7 p.m. No agenda is yet posted.

TUESDAY

The Legislative Audit Committee will be briefed about audits of the Colorado School of Mines and of federal stimulus spending in Colorado, including on education, starting at 9 a.m. Same location and agenda as above.

The Aurora school board meets at 6:00 p.m. at 1085 Peoria St.; no agenda is yet posted.

The Boulder school board meets at 5:00 p.m. at 6500 Arapahoe St. The agenda includes the legislative agenda, improvement planning and budget preparation.

WEDNESDAY

The Colorado Springs District 11 board meets at 6:30 p.m. at 1115 N. El Paso St. Agenda

The St. Vrain Valley School District board is scheduled to meet at 395 S. Pratt Parkway in Longmont at 7 p.m. No agenda is yet posted.

THURSDAY

Denver school board members meet at 5 p.m. at 900 Grant St. The agenda includes an enrollment update, a financial presentation and approval of new charter contracts. Agenda

FRIDAY

Leaders of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education are on the hot seat for their annual hearing with the Joint Budget Committee. Among the 48 written questions the department is supposed to answer are more than a dozen related to the cost of a new state testing system. The fun starts at 9 a.m. and runs until noon in the large hearing room on the first floor of the Legislative Services Building. Read a background story here.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Public school advocate and parent Julie Woestehoff writes in The Huffington Post about what she calls the “churn rate” in Chicago Public Schools after the latest wave of interventions was announced there. “Who wants to go to school or work for a school system that is in constant upheaval, where people never know from one year to the next where they will be or what they will be doing? Where life-altering decisions appear to be based on ever-changing and murky rationales?” she asks. More

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