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This week's teaching & learning tidbits

‘SMASH: Make a Musical’ comes to Denver school

DENVER – By now, you may have heard of NBC’s new hit show, “SMASH.” But, what you may not know is that it has a great connection to a Denver school.

The show’s producers have launched a nationwide program called “SMASH: Make a Musical.” The Place Bridge Academy in Denver was one of 20 schools chosen from across the nation. The goal is to build cost-effective musical theatre programs for under-served schools. Check out the 9NEWS report or watch the video above.

Teacher evaluation rules now law

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday signed House Bill 12-1001, the measure that ratifies the regulations needed to implement the state educator effectiveness system.

Surrounded by sponsors of Senate Bill 10-191, which launched the system, Hickenlooper praised the unanimity behind the rules as evidence that “Colorado does things very differently than other states.”

Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Education gap grows between rich and poor, studies say

WASHINGTON — Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects. Read more in the New York Times.

Contest would focus on teacher quality

(AP) WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday spelled out details of a proposed new $5 billion Race to the Top-style competition focused on improving teacher quality.

Among the changes the administration is seeking: higher teaching salaries, compensation tied to performance and more selective and improved teaching colleges. Check out this CBS News report.

Denver turnaround schools show “unreal” improvement in students’ math scores

From left, Luis Salgado, 16, his tutor Benjamin LeBeau, Daisy Alfaro, 15, her tutor Arthur Kennel and Juan Atayde, 15, work on improving math skills Thursday at Collegiate Prep Academy. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)Denver’s largest school turnaround effort is already producing student achievement that has surprised even early supporters of education reform in the city’s far northeast. Read more in the Denver Post.

Jeffco school cuts not as bad as feared

Leaders of Colorado’s largest school district unveiled a proposed 2012-13 budget today that includes no reductions in teachers, librarians or counselors – but they say they’re essentially delaying painful cuts for another year. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

A+ group: Denver Plan needs overhaul

Denver Public Schools’ strategic blueprint, the Denver Plan, is in urgent need of substantial revision, the A+ citizens committee told the school board Thursday night.

“We are asking you to revise and update the (Denver Plan) with a clear set of goals and a well-defined set of strategies that will drive academic improvement,” the A+ board said in a letter to the Board of Education. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

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