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This week's teaching & learning tidbits

Fast-tracking to kindergarten?

On command, Eze Schupfer reads aloud the numbers on a worksheet in front of her: “42, 43, 12, 13.” Then she begins to trace them. “Is that how we write a 12?” her instructor, Maria Rivas, asks. “Erase it.”

“This is a sloppy 12, Eze,” she says. “Go ahead: a one and a two. Smaller. Much better.”

Read more in the New York Times on a story that’s generating a lot of comments.

Number of Colorado home-schoolers dips

For JD Elvrum and his family, public school had too many strikes against it.

“His first three years of school were marred by teachers’ strikes,” in his Pennsylvania school district, said JD’s mom, Tillie Elvrum. Add to that a slight learning disability and many moves as a result of his father’s career — in the Air Force and later in the private sector — and the bottom line was brick-and-mortar schools weren’t going to work. Read more in the Denver Post.

Denver schools seek fewer, more committed subs

A surge in the number of people who think they want to be substitute teachers hasn’t translated into a ready pool of subs able to jump into a classroom at a moment’s notice. Read more in the Denver Post.

DPS approves new innovation plans

DENVER – Denver school board members found themselves in familiar territory Thursday as they approved three more innovation proposals for new schools – again over the objections of the teachers’ union, which is threatening legal action. Read more at Education News Colorado.

Denver schools laud parents for completing immigrant integration program

DENVER – The Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT) Foundation and Denver Public Schools recently honored and celebrated 220 parents who successfully completed the first class of MATT Maestro en Casa (“Teacher at Home”), an English language learning and immigrant integration program over the radio. The program helps immigrant parents better integrate into American society by teaching basic English lessons while at the same time helping the participants navigate common American systems, like public education.

Over 2,500 parents are currently enrolled in the self-study program where lessons are taught via radio station Maria 1090 AM three times per week. The first class of 220 parents received a certificate of completion as proof of their successful graduation from the program.

MATT Maestro en Casa is sponsored and paid for by the MATT Foundation, a non-profit organization based out of San Antonio, Texas. Denver is the first school district to partner with the MATT Foundation to offer the program as part of the broader parent engagement strategy. Colorado is the third state to offer MATT Maestro en Casa, in addition to Nevada and Texas. 

For more information about the MATT Maestro en Casa program in Denver, visit

DPS and Colorado Heights U. to create SW Denver campus

Denver – Denver Public Schools and Colorado Heights University are teaming up to build out innovative education programs for students in southwest Denver from middle school through high school and beyond.

DPS and CHU have established a framework for the two institutions to collaborate in the development of expanded higher education opportunities for thousands of students living in the region. Additionally, DPS is also targeting to offer an additional six to 12 program offering located on the CHU campus as soon as Fall 2012; this program and continued growth of the current Summit Academy could ultimately serve up to 1,000 students.

In addition to facilitating a college campus culture, DPS and CHU will explore providing extended learning opportunities to the DPS school community from Henry, Kepner, Lincoln, Kennedy and the new Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy High School. Some of the highlights of the educational partnership could include the following:

  • Additional concurrent enrollment options at CHU for southwest students;
  • New programs that are in alignment with secondary programs in DPS middle and high schools;
  • Potential new degree programs that include seamless transition for DPS students;
  • Facility modifications and possible new construction on the campus to accommodate these new programs; and
  • Expanded community engagement and outreach to inform students, families and local leaders about the educational opportunities on the campus.

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