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Briefs: Online test security breach at DSST

About 35 sixth-graders at DSST Stapleton learned some hard lessons about cheating last month.

The students were caught worming their way into an online instant assessment program in science and English (called “mastery checks”) and changing answers so their teachers would believe they had mastered subjects.

The caper went on for about a month, DSST Principal Bill Kurtz said. And a few students at the DSST College View campus did it too.

The assessment system, developed by the charter school network and Prometheum Technologies, apparently had a breach that allowed students to access the information multiple ways through various open screens. Once discovered, the holes were closed immediately and students not only faced in-school suspension but had to come in on two professional development days to make up the assessments as their buddies enjoyed time off, Kurtz said.

The assessments are routine and allow students to document their mastery of subjects immediately following a lesson, Kurtz said.

“From a learning perspective, it was not a huge event because we could track what happened,” Kurtz said. “From a values perspective… it is a bit troubling.”

Furthermore, DSST is known for its assessments of students’ “core values,” such as integrity.

Let’s just say, values scores for that semester for a certain set of sixth-graders probably won’t be so great.

Panel on making schools healthier

LiveWell Moms and the Colorado Action for Healthy Kids Parent Network are hosting a “Lunch and Learn” for parents who want to make healthy changes at their children’s schools. The event, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on April 18 at the Denver Children’s Museum, will feature a panel of school wellness experts and parent volunteers who have helped improve nutrition and physical activity in schools. Participants will be able to share their experiences and ask the panelists for advice. Lunch and childcare will be provided. Reservations are required. Register here.

Stipends available to launch Fuel Up and Play 60

Colorado Action for Healthy Kids and the Western Dairy Association are giving out 10 $500 stipends to parents interested in starting Fuel Up and Play 60 at their child’s school. The program is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program that encourages kids to eat nutrient-rich foods and get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

Fuel up to Play 60 was created by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council in collaboration with the United State Department of Agriculture. For details about the stipends, contact Stephanie Ekoniak at

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