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This week's teaching & learning tidbits

Preschool assessments: A look across the states

As participation in publicly-funded preschool programs steadily grows and pressure ramps up on states to prove that those programs are preparing low-income children for kindergarten, measuring learning outcomes of those preschoolers has become a major policy focus. Read more in this EdWeek blog.

Common Core won’t likely boost student achievement, analysis says

A new analysis on the Common Core Standards Initiative by the Brookings Institution says it is wrong to believe that the effort will do much of anything to improve student achievement in coming years. Read more in this Washington Post blog.

Cost doesn’t spell success for Colorado schools using consultants to improve achievement

They are among the 5,000 worst schools in America, where the percentage of kids who can read or do math at grade level often hovers in the teens or 20s and only about half graduate.

These schools are sharing $5 billion in federal tax dollars in a massive, three-year rescue effort, but no one nationally is tracking how the money is spent and no one can say whether the influx of cash will end up helping kids. Read more in the Denver Post.

Mooresville’s shining example (it’s not just about the laptops)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Sixty educators from across the nation roamed the halls and ringed the rooms of East Mooresville Intermediate School, searching for the secret formula. They found it in Erin Holsinger’s fifth-grade math class.

There, a boy peering into his school-issued MacBook blitzed through fractions by himself, determined to reach sixth-grade work by winter. Three desks away, a girl was struggling with basic multiplication — only 29 percent right, her screen said — and Ms. Holsinger knelt beside her to assist. Curiosity was fed and embarrassment avoided, as teacher connected with student through emotion far more than Wi-Fi. Read more in the New York Times.

Douglas County asks teachers to teach more

CASTLE ROCK – In an effort to save around $20 million, school district leaders are considering a plan to have high school teachers across the district teach an additional class, a move that would eliminate 80 positions.

“Unfortunately, we’ll have to downsize our staff, but we’ll increase the number of sections we’ll have in our buildings,” Dan McMinimee, assistant superintendent of secondary education, said. “We know that this is a burden to our teachers right now. That’s why we talked about what is a manageable schedule.” Check out this 9NEWS report.

Dougco factions don different colors

CASTLE ROCK — In a district divided over the direction of its outspoken school board, many of those who packed the Douglas County school district meeting room Tuesday night wore red or black to show their allegiances. Dougco parent Karin Piper voiced support for the school board Tuesday and asked teacher contract negotiations be opened to the public. Red for teachers and supporters of the teachers’ union. Black for fans of a board that is unapologetically conservative. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Denver school officials say they’re happy with new choice process

Denver Public Schools officials say they’re pleased with the results of the new SchoolChoice enrollment process, through which students in transitioning grades were encouraged to complete a new form listing their top five schools in order of preference. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

CSI comes to Loveland’s Ferguson High School

Yellow and red tape cordoned off the stairwell and an area of the auditorium at Ferguson High School where students took on the role of investigators of a murder “crime scene.”

Eric Nolting, a junior at the school, and Kyle Ellis, a senior, set up the crime scene as a “brutal murder” of a student, a mannequin hanging by its wrists with an ax through his neck and a sword through his core. The teacher murdered the student, “because he was acting up in class,” said Nolting, 16. Read more in the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

Cherry Creek teachers, students work out lesson plan to improve Latinos’ graduation rate

Teachers talked about it. Principals talked about it. But Latino students and their families weren’t saying much — and may not have even been aware — about the fact that graduation rates among Latinos in Cherry Creek schools were lower than the district as a whole. Read more in the Denver Post.

Focus on black students’ progress in DPS

The academic performance of African-American students in Denver Public Schools will get a close look Saturday in a wide-ranging program at Manual High School.

The Colorado Black Round Table is hosting a community education forum billed as “Improving Outcomes for African-American Students,” with Mayor Michael Hancock and DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg among the scheduled participants. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

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