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Briefs: $3 million for DPS “early colleges”

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Denver Public Schools a $3 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant through a partnership with Jobs for the Future, a non-profit organization in Boston. 

The grant will be used over five years to expand the early college model – schools designed so that students can complete a semester to two years of college at no cost to their families – to 10 middle and high schools in Denver. This means concurrent enrollment opportunities will be expanded to 10,000 more Denver students by the end of the five-year roll-out. The plan is part of the Jobs for the Future’s goal to reach over 30,000 students nationally with such programs.

The 10 DPS schools chosen will be selected through a competitive application process later this semester. Currently, DPS 23 high schools offer concurrent enrollment courses at local colleges such as the Community College of Denver, the University of Colorado at Denver, Metro State University of Denver and Arapahoe Community College.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than $140 million via the i# competition.

Local schools honored for defying the odds

Schools from throughout the metro area are being recognized for delivering academic success in the face of challenges ranging from overcrowding and under-funding, to high numbers of English language learners and students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

All are 2013 winners in the Foundations for Great Schools awards program, which recognizes and encourages success among metro-area public schools serving high proportions of low-income students. A total of $435,000 in grant awards will be distributed among the 14 award winners for 2013.

Winners include Aurora West College Prep Academy, Clyde Miller P-8 and Montview Math & Health Sciences Elementary in Aurora, Southeast Elementary in Brighton, Community Leadership Academy through Charter School Institute, DSST Public Schools, Marie L. Greenwood Academy, KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy, McMeen Elementary, STRIVE Prep, Whittier ECE-8, Fred N. Thomas Career Center Middle College of Denver, Stein Elementary in Jeffco and East Elementary in Littleton.

Common strategies for success include a focus on school culture, data-driven teaching strategies to meet individual student needs, expanded learning time and teacher professional development.

Hickenlooper makes appointments

Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced three appointments to the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, which governs the state community college system.

They include former state Sen. Jean White of Hayden, to serve as a Republican and a resident of the 3rd Congressional District, White fills a term that expires at the end of the year.

Also appointed were Maury C. Dobbie of Fort Collins, to serve as a Republican and a resident of the 2nd Congressional District, reappointed, and Russell Joseph Meyer of Parker, to serve as a Democrat and a resident of the 4th Congressional District.

Check out some new stats

The Colorado School Finance Project, which tracks all manner of state education statistics, has posted updated information about the demographics of state K-12 students. Find links to those reports here.

Weld County schools to get AEDs

Weld County District 6 will soon have Automated External Defibrillators in all 31 of its schools. The portable devices, which cost about $1,800 each, will be purchased through a partnership between the Cardiovascular Institute at North Colorado Medical Center, the North Colorado Medical Center Foundation and several other community partners.

AED units can treat sudden cardiac arrest by sending an electric shock to the heart to restore normal rhythm. Currently, the devices are only available in the district’s three traditional high schools. Once the new units are installed, employees from Banner NCMC Paramedic Service will maintain them and check them regularly.