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Briefs: More preschool slots for DPS

Thanks to the $466 million bond approved by voters last month, Denver Public Schools are expanding preschool options across the city.

First, the district announced plans to open up early childhood seats in Southwest Denver. On Friday, district officials announced plans to bring additional preschool and kindergarten openings and relieve overcrowding in Far Northeast Denver, one of the fastest-growing areas of the city.

The project will expand building space at both McGlone Elementary and Escalante Biggs Academy – a school offering preschool and kindergarten. Currently, McGlone and several other elementary schools in the area are over capacity. The expansion will add 144 preschool seats to serve 4-year-old students.

The expansion construction projects will begin this spring and are scheduled to be ready for opening in August of 2013. To learn more about ECE offerings in DPS, check here.

→ Colorado Succeeds, the business-oriented education reform group, is going national. The group on Friday announced formation of America Succeeds, an organization intended to create a network of state affiliates elsewhere in the country.

In addition to the Colorado group, the second affiliate will be Idaho Business for Education. Tim Taylor, president of Colorado Succeeds, will become president of the national group, and a new Colorado chief executive will be named later.

Colorado Succeeds, along with a coalition of foundations and other advocacy groups, last year launched ColoradoSchoolGrades.com, which uses state data to rate schools on a letter grade system.

→ A group of environmentally-conscious students at Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College was awarded $20,000 to “green” their school during a competition this week. The team was among three other Denver high school finalists in the Green Your School Makeover presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

For three months, student teams from Martin Luther King, Jr., Denver School of the Arts, Denver Center for International Studies and High Tech Early College prepared proposals about how they would use the winning funds to reduce their school’s carbon footprint and get students involved in efforts to save energy and promote sustainability.

The winning group of MLK students presented a plan to construct a hydroponic greenhouse on school grounds, which will be used to grow vegetables and herbs. The MLK senior class submitted this proposal and presentation for the greenhouse as a way to leave a legacy to their school. The greenhouse will be incorporated into the school’s science, art and social studies curricula.

Denver School for the Arts was awarded a “runner up” prize of $10,000 for a project that will focus on increasing recycling, implementing large-scale composting, increasing the size of DSA’s garden and replacing plastic utensils with reusable or compostable materials.

→ Gov. John Hickenlooper has been busy filling vacancies on two important higher education boards, the ones that govern the Colorado State University System and the Colorado Schools of Mines.

Here are the new appointments to the CSU Board of Governors:

  • Mark Gustafson of Windsor
  • Rico Munn of Denver, former director of the Department of Higher Education
  • Bill Mosher of Denver

The governor also reappointed two members, Joseph Zimlich of Fort Collins and Dorothy Horrell of Wheat Ridge.

Frances Vallejo of Houston, Texas, was reappointed to the Mines board of trustees, and Timothy Haddon of Denver was newly appointed.

As with many state boards, various seats on the CSU and Mines boards are “reserved” for people with various political affiliations, past connections to the institutions and professional backgrounds. Find out more about the CSU governors here and the Mines trustees here.

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