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This week’s teaching & learning tidbits

ProPublica launches online tool to compare public schools

Non-profit investigative newsroom ProPublica has released an interactive tool that makes it easy for people to compare schools to others in their district, state or the U.S.

To create the tool, the newsroom analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, which tracks Advanced Placement, gifted and talented programs, and advanced math and science classes. Read more at Mashable. And check out the Colorado School Data Center for additional demographic and CSAP data run through EdNews Parent and EdNews Colorado. We’re making tweaks to make it even more useful for you.

Tiger moms hire tutors as Korea scraps Saturday classes

Chung Eunjung, a 46-year-old mother from Seoul, says South Korea’s plan to give children more play time by ending Saturday classes means only one thing: more private tutoring.

President Lee Myung Bak’s government said on June 14 it would recommend schools adopt a shorter week starting in 2012, ending Saturday classes that have been a feature of the modern education system since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Most schools now hold classes on two Saturdays a month. Read more at Bloomberg.

Teacher grades: Pass or be fired

WASHINGTON — Emily Strzelecki, a first-year science teacher here, was about as eager for a classroom visit by one of the city’s roving teacher evaluators as she would be to get a tooth drilled. “It really stressed me out because, oh my gosh, I could lose my job,” Ms. Strzelecki said. Read more in the New York Times.


Schools teach disabled life skills

Calculating the best-priced cookie dough may be a small challenge for the executives of Diamond Enterprises, but making eye contact while paying the cashier is an enormous one. Read more at Reuters.

Pro-voucher group joins Dougco fight

DENVER – A national pro-voucher law firm joined the legal battle over Douglas County’s voucher pilot on Tuesday, filing to intervene in two recent lawsuits on behalf of four families who want to use state funding to help send their children to private schools this fall. Read more at EdNews ColoradoSee video highlights from Tuesday’s press conference.

Dougco board approves ‘voucher charter’

CASTLE ROCK – Douglas County school board members on Monday unanimously approved a charter school that will serve up to 500 students receiving vouchers this fall as part of the district’s pilot Choice Scholarship Program. Read more at EdNews Colorado.

Union suit: Denver schools abuse innovation

The Denver school board will decide on 15 proposed new or revamped schools later this week, including six additional innovation schools. On Monday night, board members heard from nearly 120 people seeking to influence their votes in both directions. Read more at EdNews Colorado.

Streamlined enrollment in works in Denver schools

Denver Public Schools is planning to streamline its enrollment system and will ask – but not require – all students to choose their schools beginning as soon as fall 2012.

Under the proposed plan, families for the first time would be able to use one form to apply to traditional DPS schools, magnets or charter schools, and all applications would be on the same deadline. Read more at EdNews Colorado.

Mother fights to get 4-year-old son into kindergarten

LAKEWOOD – Bauer Gilhooly can do a lot of things for a 4-year-old. He can stroke a golf ball. He can play hockey. He can write his name. He can read. But, he can’t go to kindergarten at Foster Elementary next year. Check out the 9NEWS report.

Boulder Valley expands online credit recovery option

LAFAYETTE — Tucked into computers labs and the library at Centaurus High School, a couple dozen students are spending a chunk of their summer working their way through online history, English and math classes. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Chinese government paying for Colo. kids to learn Chinese

VAIL, Colo. – A Vail area high school is launching a Mandarin language program funded by the Chinese government.

The Vail Daily says Battle Mountain High School will join 14 other Colorado schools as part of the Chinese government’s program to teach Mandarin and help introduce Chinese culture in U.S. high schools and colleges.

About 100 Battle Mountain High School students are signed up for the classes which are scheduled to begin in August. Watch the 7NEWS report.

Denver school board approves nine new schools

Denver school board members green-lighted a salvage plan for one of the city’s most troubled high schools Thursday night, while also voting to approve an increasing number of charter and innovation schools.

In all, the board approved nine new schools, including its first all-boys school, the Miller-McCoy Academy, modeled after a school based in New Orleans and slated to open in Denver’s Far Northeast in August 2013. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Trial and error at Cherry Creek’s new STEM school

It’s a summer of new frontiers for more than four hundred middle school students from Cherry Creek Schools.

The students are the first to participate in Prairie Middle School’s accelerated summer school program, a six-week intensive that stresses math and science and includes courses in algebra, computer gaming and human anatomy. The novel nature of the coursework isn’t the only new step for these students, who pay $250 for every summer class. Read more in the Aurora Sentinel.

Adams 14 superintendent gets to stay

COMMERCE CITY – The school board in Adams County School District 14 announced on Tuesday Superintendent Dr. Susan Chandler will stay after the district’s attorney was ordered in May to execute an “exit strategy” to remove her from her post. Check out this 9NEWS report.

Colo. colleges’ summer programs aim to attract minority students

Ashleigh Manuelito is like a lot of minority students when she sees a university classroom as a way to better herself, her family and the people she will leave behind while she gets her degree. Read more at the Denver Post.

Education chief talks change at Aspen Ideas Fest

ASPEN, Colo.—The nation’s education chief is talking about school changes at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is scheduled to give a talk Thursday about the administration’s “Race To The Top” education grants and how they could change schools. Later he gives an interview about teaching and learning in a global economy. Read more in the Denver Post.

Denver school board set to vote on charter for minority boys

The Denver Public Schools board is expected to vote tonight on applications to open eight schools, including one for an all-boys charter focusing on African-Americans and Latinos in the district’s far northeast area. Read more in the Denver Post.

Denver’s West High next up for makeover

A proposal to convert Denver’s venerable West High School into two schools run with the help of outside management organizations is one key item on a long list of school transformation and innovation proposals facing the Denver school board Thursday.

Under the West plan, which originated with a community advisory group that later worked with DPS administrators, two grade 6-12 district-run “academies” would be phased in over four years starting in the fall of 2012. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Cherry Creek businesses collect supplies for Denver students

Cherry Creek-based Janus will host a Community School Supply Drive from July 25 through August 12 to benefit Denver Public Schools.  Over the course of three weeks, the community is encouraged to donate supplies at one of more than 20 drop-off bins located at Cherry Creek businesses that have teamed up with Janus to help increase donations.  The supplies will be donated to Denver schools with a high percentage of students who are in need of school supplies.

One of Janus’ primary philanthropic initiatives is the Janus Education Alliance, a partnership with DPS designed to help improve student outcomes through teacher effectiveness programs.

Last year, Janus employees donated over 5,800 supplies (680 pounds), providing 36 DPS classrooms a foundation of supplies to get the new school year off to a great start. By expanding the drive to include Cherry Creek North neighbors this year, Janus is hoping to touch the lives of many more Denver students and families in need.

Each collection site will have full lists of the school supplies that are needed, including wide-ruled spiral bound notebooks, No. 2 pencils, crayons, rulers, scissors, lined paper, blue and red ball point pens and tissue boxes.

See Denver Public Schools for times and locations.

Boulder’s Arapahoe Campus pushes for alternative ed label

Boulder Valley’s Arapahoe Campus is asking the state for alternative education status, allowing the high school to be held to a different standard than most of Colorado’s schools.

Arapahoe Campus — which includes Arapahoe Ridge High School, the teen parenting program and a program for new immigrants — last year was designated as a “turnaround” school by the state as part of its accountability process. Read more in the Daily Camera.

NCLB law fails to remove green teachers from classrooms

Nearly a decade after the No Child Left Behind law was enacted, studies have shown little progress in reducing the number of teachers of low-income students who are inexperienced or teaching classes outside their subject areas.

The law, which was supposed to stop school districts from putting less qualified teachers in classrooms with low-income students, is best known to the public for requiring more standardized testing. According to studies, considerable progress has been made in reducing the number of uncertified teachers in all schools. Read more in the Bay State Banner.

About our First Person series:

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