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This week’s teaching & learning tidbits

Dropout prevention summit to be held Friday

The Colorado Department of Education’s Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement and ScholarCentric will co-sponsor a Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement Summit on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. The summit will bring together more than 200 Colorado school district education leaders to discuss strategies to keep students in school and on-track toward graduation. The summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Adams 12 Five Star Schools, 1500 E. 128th Ave., in Thornton. For a complete agenda or for more details about the summit, contact Peter Fritz, 303-866-6601 or fritz_p@cde.state.co.us

Denver mayoral candidates on education

They’re not eager to take over Denver Public Schools and they give mixed marks to recent DPS reforms, such as the turnaround plan in Far Northeast Denver. But with one eloquent exception, they raise a thumbs-up to Senate Bill 191, the educator effectiveness law that will link student achievement to teacher and principal evaluations. Watch the video at Education News Colorado.

K-12 would take $332 million hit

State support of school districts would drop $332 million compared to current levels under a 2011-12 budget proposal announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper Tuesday afternoon. Funding of state colleges and universities would drop to only $519 million, compared to the $555 million originally requested for next year. Read more in Education News Colorado.

Teachers, school leaders from all over U.S. meet in Denver

A first-of-its-kind summit among teachers and their bosses — school board members and administrators — kicks off in Denver Tuesday. The Obama administration calls it a watershed moment in collaboration for school improvement. Read this KDVR report.

1-year-old high school’s senior class

It is a state-of-the-art learning facility. When Mead High School opened a year ago, brand new classrooms and athletic facilities greeted students. Because they opened with only a freshman and sophomore class, and this year added juniors, they are a school without a senior class. But in the hallways of this new school, you do see the faces of seniors. Watch this 9News report.

Bond savings fund new laptops for thousands of Denver teachers

Thanks to savings from the voter-approved 2008 Bond Program, thousands of Denver Public Schools teachers will receive new laptops as part of the DPS Teacher Laptop Project, which aims to provide teachers with the tools they need to better implement data driven instruction and to more effectively incorporate technology-based instructional resources into their classrooms.

Cherry Creek looking for right balance to teach special needs students

Special education teachers in the Cherry Creek School District have to create a constant balance between independent learning and individual attention for students, district staff said Monday. Read more in the Aurora Sentinel.

Researchers fault L.A. Times methods in analysis of California teachers

University of Colorado researchers reported Monday that there were potential weaknesses in methods the Los Angeles Times used last year to rate elementary school teachers for a series that stoked national debate in a key arena of education reform. Read more in the Washington Post.

“Race to Nowhere” parent meeting rescheduled for Feb. 28

A networking event open to the public will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, at Fairview High School, 1515 Greenbriar Blvd. in Boulder, with further discussion from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  The event is sponsored by the Parent Engagement Network in Boulder Valley schools. The movie will not be shown. Participants will engage in an interactive format designed to allow each person to be heard. Adults and youth are invited. Register on-line.

Increasingly, male teachers found at head of elementary class

Each weekday, students filing into Denver’s Ashley Elementary School come face to face with a relatively rare educational experience. Read more in the Denver Post.

HB 11-1055 would give charter schools access to district facilities

A bill in the Colorado House would give charter schools the right to request access to unused facilities from their schools districts.  The districts would not be required to give the the facility to the charter school, but would have 30 days to come up with a response to the request. Read more in the Examiner.

Aurora Public Schools considers cuts for projected $25 million shortfall

Aurora Public Schools is considering furlough days, pay cuts and larger class sizes to help offset a projected budget shortfall of at least $25 million for the 2011-12 school year. Read more in the Denver Post.

Teacher tenure bill fails in Wyo. Senate

The first of several bills aimed to increase education accountability in Wyoming died in the Senate. Senate File 52, known as the “Teacher tenure” bill, failed to pass the Senate 12-18, during its third reading. Read more in the Casper Star-Tribune.

Denver preschool program scores well in evaluation

Assessments measuring the effectiveness of the Denver Preschool Program, which provides tuition credits to families and grants to qualifying preschools, show a majority of kids leaving ready for kindergarten. Read more in the Denver Post.

Does a district need a superintendent?

A school district east of Colorado Springs is poised to test the reaches of the state’s Innovation Schools Act, which allows waivers from state laws and collective bargaining agreements. School board members in the Falcon 49 School District are buying out the contracts of their top four district administrators – including the superintendent, a job that would be eliminated – as they scrap a traditional governance structure for something completely different. Read more in Education News Colorado.

Cherry Creek schools yield high return on instruction investment

The Cherry Creek School District is among the highest ranked in Colorado for effective use of funds for academic achievement, according to a study. Read more in the Denver Post.

Paying more for bottles could bring green to Colorado’s schools

That water bottle or bottle of beer you drink every day may soon cost you five more cents. But you could get the nickel back if you recycled the bottles. Check out this 9News report.

Boulder Valley makes small gains in minority teachers

The Boulder Valley School District is seeing small gains in the percentage of teachers of color after several years of concerted effort, but it still isn’t close to matching its student demographics. Read more in the Daily Camera.

At-risk high school students get glimpse of college

Not too long ago, Greg McCoy went to school at Montbello High School with no thoughts about the future. He says a lot kids are like that.

“I was definitely one of those students where I was just like, ‘Well, I’m in high school. I’m going to have fun. I’m just going to hang with friends,'” McCoy said. Watch this 9News report.

Rhee faces renewed scrutiny over depiction of student progress when she taught

Former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, known for her crusade to use standardized test scores to help evaluate teachers, is facing renewed scrutiny over her depiction of progress that her students made years ago when she was a schoolteacher. Read more in the Washington Post.

Colorado Legacy Foundation to recognize Dougco schools

Douglas County School District’s Alternative Licensure Program is the recipient of the Excellence in Educator Preparation Award. Read more in the Highlands Ranch Herald.

Colorado district evolves school bus advertising to offset operation costs

Colorado school districts have been allowed to pursue external school bus advertising campaigns as potential revenue streams to fight budget cuts since the early 1990s. A system 45 miles north of Denver tried it once before with disappointing results but is giving the program another shot. Read more in School Transportation News.

Superintendent: Waiver best for small district

A tiny Eastern Plains school district is seeking a waiver from one education reform law by invoking the terms of a different reform statute. The 109-student Kit Carson district wants to be declared an innovation district, allowed under a 2008 law, and as part of that move basically wants to be exempted from the 2010 educator effectiveness law. Read more in Education News Colorado.

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