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This week’s teaching & learning tidbits

DPS hears 11 new school proposals

Proposals for what would be Denver Public Schools’ first all-boys schools were among the 11 presentations made Wednesday night to school board members under the district’s “call for quality schools” process. Read more in Education News Colorado.

Pueblo schools find more in reserve

PUEBLO – The Pueblo school district’s board of education learned Tuesday that the district will end up with more money in its reserves because of unanticipated changes in general fund revenue. Read more in the Pueblo Chieftain.

Brighton, Adams County districts debating bus fees

DENVER – Two more Denver metro-area school districts are debating whether to create and or raise bus fees to help offset budget cuts. Watch the 7NEWS report.

Boulder Valley educators learn inclusion strategies

The research from classroom observations that California inclusion expert Richard Villa presented was sobering. Clear learning objectives were few, worksheets were a staple and higher-level learning was sparse. But, he said, the job of today’s teacher is to provide a quality classroom experience for students with a wide range of needs and backgrounds. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Sixth- and ninth-grade academies jump start student success

DENVER – Thousands of Denver students are getting a head start on middle and high school this summer through the Denver Public Schools Sixth Grade Academy and Ninth Grade Academy programs.

The programs combine learning, leadership development and team-building activities to give students the confidence to achieve academic success throughout their middle and high school years.

This is the fifth year that incoming ninth-graders across the city have had the chance to spend a couple of weeks over the summer on campus, getting acclimated to a new school environment and taking part in academic and school-readiness classes.  Early results – based on approximately 4,500 students attending Ninth Grade Academy over the past four years – have shown that participation in the program improves students’ future attendance and overall performance.

Based on the program’s success, DPS extended the summer-academy program two years ago to include incoming sixth-graders for the summer.

To register for Ninth Grade Academy, parents may e-mail ninthgradeacademy@dpsk12.org or leave a message at (720) 424-8277. Parents must provide the student’s name, student ID, address, phone number and the school he/she will be attending for the 2011-2012 school year.

To register for Sixth Grade Academy, parents must call the school their child will attend for the 2011-2012 school year. Transportation is provided for students who live beyond the walk zone.

Pilot programs help DPS fine-tune teacher-evaluation system

Feedback provided by teachers in 16 pilot programs is helping Denver Public Schools retool its new teacher performance framework as it prepares to try it at more schools.

“We’re very happy to see overwhelming support for the system,” said DPS superintendent Tom Boasberg. “We look forward to even more constructive feedback.” Read more in the Denver Post.

Virtual learning could eliminate school snow days

Could the Internet mean the end of snow days? Some schools think so, and they are experimenting with ways for students to do lessons online during bad weather, potentially allowing classes to go on during even the worst blizzard. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Boulder-area schools intrigued by virtual snow day idea

School districts and universities across the country are replacing snow angels and hot cocoa with online algebra and English during snow days and other school cancellations. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Some teacher jobs uncertain in Far Northeast Denver

One in five teachers in schools affected by the dramatic turnaround underway in Far Northeast Denver are without district jobs for the coming school year. Read more in Education News Colorado.

Hall Passages: A year inside Missoula’s schools

The best way to get to know Missoula’s schools is not by showing up to school board meetings or reporting on the latest round of teacher negotiations, or even talking to the people who run the schools themselves.

The best way, it turns out, is to walk through the school doors and witness what happens inside the classroom walls, where teachers and students engage with each other 180 days out of the year.

That was the philosophy behind the Missoulian’s yearlong series “Hall Passages,” where the newspaper visited 28 separate schools and school districts throughout the year, from schools ranging in population from one to 1,300. Read more in this in-depth series in the Missoulian.

Standards mean more math for youngest students

STERLING  – After much discussion, revised preschool through 12th grade math frameworks were approved by the RE-1 District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) at a special meeting on Wednesday. Read more in the Sterling Journal-Advocate.

Denver schools train teachers for diverse classrooms

In its first two years, an innovative “teacher residency” program has placed 55 teachers with special training in hard-to-staff Denver classrooms. All the teachers are trained to teach children for whom English isn’t their first language. Read more in the Denver Post.

Douglas County voters support teacher pay-for-performance

CASTLE ROCK – A new poll released by the Douglas County School District on Friday shows that 62 percent of voters in Douglas County support initiatives that tie a teacher’s performance to their pay.

The poll, commissioned by RBC, shows even more voters support the work DCSD teachers are doing in the classroom (73 percent) and agree with providing higher salaries for great teachers (66 percent).

Based on those results, it is clear Douglas County voters support the work currently being done by DCSD. The district unveiled its strategic plan in March, which included a pay-for-performance and an assessment system for educators. The goal of these programs is to provide professional and competitive salaries for DCSD teachers, in an effort to celebrate and retain those who are doing a great job, while also encouraging the recruitment of new, innovative educators.

Dougco Superintendent Liz Fagen is planning on recommending a bond election and mill levy override to support the pay-for-performance program, as well as other initiatives.

Several scenarios are being considered for the election, all of which would cost an average homeowner $7.60 a month.


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