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Thursday Churn: New start date?

What’s churning:

A potential new start date for the Denver Public Schools will be under discussion today as a task force examining the feasibility of a later kickoff to the school year prepares its findings, which will be presented to school board members on Monday.

Superintendent Tom Boasberg has said he was open to a discussion about revising the calendar following an unusually hot August. This year some schools started Aug. 10 and the rest on Aug. 18. The hot spell, combined with the fact that many classrooms lack air conditioning, caused several students and staff to be treated for heat-related illnesses.

DPS launched the task force in October, and that group held a series of public meetings throughout the district in November. It also sponsored a public survey in English and Spanish.

Denver’s Get Smart Schools is celebrating after being recognized as one of the country’s six top charter incubators, according to a report released Wednesday by Public Impact. The report, Better Choices: Charter Incubation as a Strategy for Improving the Charter School Sector, was prepared by Public Impact for the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

The report focuses on “incubation” as a key strategy in improving the nation’s charter schools, defining the term as “the strategic recruitment, selection, and training of promising leaders, and the support of those leaders as they launch or expand new charter schools in cities or specific geographic regions.” Get Smart Schools, founded in Denver in 2008, has goals of preparing 85 new school leaders by 2020 and creating more than 50 new autonomous schools in that same time.

“I think we’re really honored to be included in the company of organizations such as New Schools and the Mind Trust, which we think are really well-established, promising organizations,” said Amy Slothower, executive director of Get Smart Schools. “It’s exciting for us to be presented as peers.”

Read the full report here.

The Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System approved a $124.5 million bond package that includes upgrades to classroom and learning facilities for students in agriculture; a new, state-of-the-art undergraduate housing facility for more than 600 students, and renovation of the 50-year-old Lory Student Center.

Students have voted to increase their fees to pay for the majority of the Lory renovation, and students who live in the new housing development will pay for that facility. The total bond package approved Wednesday includes:

  • $7.5 million for a partial renovation of the Animal Sciences Building to prepare the building for future expansion and enhancement
  • $60 million for the student center renovation
  • $57 million for the new housing development and renovation of the existing Durrell Center

More detail is available on the CSU web site here.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Harrison Superintendent Mike Miles has been named Colorado Springs’ “Civic Innovator of the Year.” The Center for the Study of Government and the Individual each year honors community members who have made a difference in Colorado Springs. Story

“The Middle School Freak Out” is the annual hunt by parents looking for the best educational options for their children. Colorado Public Radio reporter Jenny Brundin visited the Denver Expo, where middle and high schools could showcase their education wares and hand out “schwag” meant to entice conversations and sell their programs. Story

The Colorado Association of School Boards annual convention at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs regularly raises questions about the appropriateness of such a plush setting in tight budget times. This year, the controversy is brewing in Greeley. Story

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