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This week's teaching & learning tidbits

Katy Perry raves about Lakewood H.S. lip-sync on Facebook

JEFFERSON COUNTY – Lakewood High School produced a lip-synced video to Katy Perry’s hit “Fireworks” this week. The pop superstar noticed and posted it on her personal Facebook fan page. Watch this 9News report.

Colorado Charter Schools Rally planned

A rally for charter school supporters and friends organized by the Colorado League of Charter Schools will be held Thursday, April 28, at the Colorado State Capitol.Schedule

  • 9-9:45 a.m. Mock trial by Ridgeview Classical Schools students, Old Supreme Court Chambers featuring special guest judge Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
  • 10-11:00 a.m. Debate between Jefferson Academy and Woodrow Wilson Academy on Colorado budget cuts to K-12 public education and featuring special guest judge Attorney General John W. Suthers
  • 11:30 a.m Rally begins with music by Belle Creek Charter School Choir.
  • 11:35 a.m. -11:55 a.m. Hear from students, teachers and leaders from charter schools across Colorado. Including Pioneer Charter School, CIVA Charter High School, and more.
  • 11:55 a.m.-noon Chinese Dance by Global Village Academy students.
  • noon-12:30 p.m. Charter School Essay Contest Awards Ceremony. Click here to view winning essays.
  • 12:30-1 p.m. Hear from Colorado elected officials.

State lags on teacher quality policies

Colorado received a near-failing mark – a D-minus – on its teacher policies last year from the National Council on Teacher Quality, but there are signs the state may be improving, according to the organization’s vice president. Sandi Jacobs, who spoke in Denver on Friday, said Senate Bill 10-191, the educator effectiveness law, could vault Colorado forward. But the potential for botched implementation remains significant. Read more in Education News Colorado.

It’s official – Dakota Ridge High goes international

Officially becoming an International Baccalaureate World School is no easy task, in fact, the process is quite lengthy. Over the last three years, Dakota Ridge High School, has worked hard on its quest to become an IB school and now it’s a reality.

Dakota Ridge IB coordinator Beth Ward describes the school’s IB program as “a private education in a public school.”

“It’s a different kind of the thinking that we’re asking kids to do that’s a little out of the norm,” said Ward. “This thinking prepares them for life – it’s more focused on critical thinking, a more global way of thinking that helps students look at situations in different ways, adjust quicker and make change quicker.”

The two-year IB program is designed for high school juniors and seniors. Dakota Ridge also has a pre-IB program for ninth and tenth-graders who are interested in entering the program.

Teachers and staff say the IB program is structured to allow them to teach critical thinking skills to students.

Students living on farms for a week

LAKEWOOD – Michaela Schuette is a senior at Bear Creek High School who is used to her routine at home.

“Wake up, go to school, hang out with friends,” said Schuette.

This week, however, she has a different routine. Watch this 9News report.

Two Denver schools try group approach to teaching reading

Once a week, for at least an hour, middle school students at two Denver public schools are working in groups to try a new way of reading.

“I have a clunk,” Martin Luther King Jr. Early College seventh-grader Brian Estrada told his group as they read a science passage. “Gnarled limbs. I re-read the sentence. It has to mean something like not working because it says deformities. Maybe limbs that aren’t in the right place?” Read more in the Denver Post.

Douglas County voucher plan draws private schools in

About a quarter of the roughly 105 eligible private schools have applied to participate in the Douglas County School District’s pilot voucher program. Read more in the Denver Post.

5th grader denied enrollment after refusing CSAP

The mother of Colorado Springs fifth grader intentionally requested that her son not take Colorado Student Assessment Program test last month and now he cannot enroll for school next year at the Rocky Mountain Classical Academy, a charter school in Falcon School District 49. Learn more at News First 5.

Poll: Students grade high school down, college up

WASHINGTON (AP) – Young adults say high schools are failing to give students a solid footing for the working world or strong guidance toward college, at a time when many fear graduation means tumbling into an economic black hole. Students who make it to college are happy with the education they get there, an Associated Press-Viacom poll says. See the 9News report.

Llamas encourage Denver preschoolers to read

DENVER – Llamas are good for a lot of things, like carrying heavy loads and giving their hair to create yarn. Now, llamas can be credited with helping kids learn how to read. For 22 years, the book “Is Your Mama a Llama?” has been a favorite of both parents and kids. It’s such a popular read, the preschool “One Book, One Denver” program picked it as its reading selection for the year. Watch the 9News report. Other readings will be held 
at 10:30 a.m. April 29 at the Denver Art Museum; and at 1 p.m. 

April 30 at the Children’s Museum of Denver.

More information can be found at the Denver Preschool Program.

Music instrument drive hits high note

CASTLE ROCK – When Dan Parker agreed to volunteer time and resources to help the Colorado Public Radio’s annual Instrument Drive, he had no idea what signed up for. “I’ve been in this business 37 years, never seen anything like this,” Parker, owner of the Colorado Institute of Musical Instrument Technology, said. Watch the 9News report.

Technology helps make language click for students

The kids in Cari Roberts’ freshman English class at Aurora Central High School read novels, essays and nonfiction material — just like generations of students before them. But here, they’re just as likely to find their subject matter on the Internet as the printed page, as likely to tap compositions and critiques into a netbook — or, in one student’s case, an iPhone — as commit them by pencil to a notebook. Read more in the Denver Post.

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.

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