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Week of 1/31/11: Teaching & learning tidbits

DPS catches heat over decision not to close schools

Denver Public Schools’ decision to hold classes Wednesday was being criticized by some parents and students, especially after news that school buses ran 10 to 15 minutes late because of the cold and one elementary school had no heat.

Still, Superintendent Tom Boasberg defended the decision, saying that part of what DPS does is provide a social service – provide a warm place and warm meal for students. Watch this 7News report. What do you think? Take the EdNews Parent poll. CBS4 examines how school officials make the decision to close schools.

Jeffco Schools’ snow day will be made up in May

While students across the metro area have the day off from school on Tuesday because of the weather conditions, students in Jeffco Public Schools already know that the day off is on loan. Read the short 9News report.

State ed panel needs you!

The State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education invites applications from parents to fill three parent representative vacancies. Under state law, the council is charged with informing public education entities concerning best practices and strategies, aligned with national standards for family-school partnerships, for increasing parent involvement in public education and promoting family and school partnerships to help improve the quality of public education and raise the level of students’ academic achievement statewide.

As required by law, parent membership appointments must be filled by parents of children who are:

  • Enrolled in a publicly funded preschool program;
  • In grades first through 12th in a public school; or
  • In a state supported institution of higher education.

Click on the detailed description and application requirements.

Denver testing system to give teachers in-class evaluations and feedback

An effective teacher will ask students to explain their answers whether they are right or wrong. Effective teachers also wait about 3 to 5 seconds for students to respond, but will give more time to students who are English language learners. Read more in the Denver Post.

D-49 contract buyouts for three execs costs nearly $760,000

When Falcon School District 49 ended the contracts of three administrators early, it cost the district nearly $760,000, district officials confirmed. Read more in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

New LA schools chief to focus on teacher quality

The incoming Los Angeles schools superintendent says he will boost student achievement through better teaching when he takes the reins of the nation’s second-largest school district in April. Read more in the  San Francisco Chronicle.

Harvard report questions value of ‘college for all’

By concentrating too much on classroom-based academics with four-year college as a goal, the nation’s education system has failed vast numbers of students, who instead need solid preparation for careers requiring less than a bachelor’s degree, Harvard scholars say in a recent report. Read more in EdWeek.

Englewood schools, Morgridge Foundation establish partnership

Efforts to overhaul Englewood School District received a big boost recently when the Morgridge Family Foundation established a partnership with the district. Read more in the Englewood Herald.

Schools look at why students are behind

Four underperforming St. Vrain Valley School District schools are changing some teaching methods to increase student achievement. Read more in the Longmont Times-Call.

Clock ticking on APS graduation requirement proposal

Time is running out for the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education to make a decision on proposed changes to the district’s graduation requirements.

The board is set to vote during its Feb. 8 meeting on amendments that would allow high school students more flexibility in choosing their elective courses and that would add science, math and world language credits to the current graduation requirements. Read more in the Aurora Sentinel.

Boulder Valley schools announce public budget forums

Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Chris King has announced the schedule for five BVSD public budget forums throughout BVSD beginning Monday, Feb. 7, and ending Tuesday, March 8. The purpose of these forums is to update and consult interested residents about the development of the preliminary 2011-2012 BVSD annual budget. Under state law, a balanced 2011-2012 BVSD annual budget must be approved.

  • Fireside Elementary School, 845 W. Dahlia St., Louisville, 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb.  7
  • Boulder Public Library, George Reynolds Branch, 3595 Table Mesa Dr., Boulder, 10 a.m. to noon  Tuesday, Feb. 15
  • Mamie Dowd Eisenhower Library, 3 Community Park Road, Broomfield, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.           Wednesday, Feb. 23
  • Nederland Elementary School, 1 Sundown Trail, Nederland, 6 to 8 p.m.  Wednesday, Feb. 23
  • Lafayette Public Library, 775 West Baseline Road, Lafayette, 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, March 8

Wanted: Ways to assess the majority of teachers

The debate about “value added” measures of teaching may be the most divisive topic in teacher-quality policy today. It has generated sharp-tongued exchanges in public forums, in news stories, and on editorial pages. And it has produced enough policy briefs to fell whole forests. Read more in EdWeek.

Colorado middle and high school students take a math test on a weekend

A three-hour-long math test on a weekend afternoon may be nerve-racking for most middle or high school students, but not for 17-year-old Greeley West High School senior Miguel Perez. Read more in the Greeley Tribune.

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.