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Briefs: Teachers get their say

The Department of Education Wednesday opened the periodic TELL survey, which allows teachers around the state to anonymously fill out an online questionnaire about teaching and learning conditions in their schools.

This year marks the third time the survey has been given since it was required by a state law passed in 2008. The 2011 survey found 84 percent of Colorado educators who responded to the survey felt their schools are good places to work and learn. Results are broken out and reported separately for districts and schools that have sufficient participation. Results also are reported to the State Board of Education and made public.

The survey is open to teachers through March 6. For more information, see this CDE news release, and for background read this EdNews story about the results of the 2011 survey.

Catch up on the state’s sample curriculum

If you’ve been wondering what’s up with the state sample curriculum that’s being developed, you can now check the Department of Education’s website for sample course development guides in several subjects.

The idea for the curriculum came from a group of southwestern Colorado superintendents concerned about the ability of small districts to develop new curriculums for teaching new state content standards. The new system is being developed by volunteer teams of educators.

Use of the curriculum wouldn’t be required; the state constitution leaves instruction and curriculum decisions with local school boards.

Get details on CDE’s sample curriculum page, and learn more about the initiative in this EdNews story.

CSU launches Colorado Futures Center

Charlie Brown, considered one of the leading experts on Colorado’s tax structure and future fiscal challenges, has been named director of the Colorado Futures Center, located in Colorado State University’s Denver offices. Brown is leaving a similar position at the University of Denver.

Phyllis Resnick, an economist who’s worked with Brown, will become lead economist at the CSU center. Brown and Resnick are best known for their reports, first published in 2009, that state government spending is unsustainable without constitutional and revenue reform.

Read more in this story from our partners at the Denver Business Journal, check out the new center’s website and find links to past Brown reports here.

New associate commissioner joins CDE

Rebecca Holmes has been named associate commissioner at the Colorado Department of Education, in charge of the Division of Innovation, Choice and Engagement. Most recently Holmes has been CEO of KIPP Colorado Schools, a charter management organization. She previous worked at Deloitte Consulting and the El Pomar Foundation.

Learn more in this CDE news release.

Jeffco wants to hear from residents

The Jeffco schools have launched an online tool named Engage Jeffco Schools that allows residents to communicate with the district and collaborate on education topics and ideas. The website is part of a broader community engagement effort. Go here to give the site a test drive.

Marking 20 years of Colorado charters

The 2013 conference of the Colorado League of Charters Schools, starting Feb. 21 in Broomfield, will include panels and other events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the passage of the state’s first charter school law. Get more information about the conference here.