Colorado

Monday Churn: “W” to visit Denver

Updated – Former President George W. Bush will pay a brief visit to Denver Thursday to meet with a “very select” group of about 25 community leaders and school reform advocates.

Bush will meet with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg, fellows in the Get Smart Schools leadership program, education funders and others during an hour-long meeting Thursday morning. The meeting will begin at about 8 a.m. at the Get Smart Schools offices, 2543 California St. After the meeting, Bush will make a statement to the press but will take no questions.

Fellows in the Get Smart Schools leadership program receive a year’s training to prepare them to run charter or innovation schools. Bush was scheduled to meet with the group last February, but canceled.

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

A committee of legislators, educators and law enforcement professionals that’s been studying school discipline holds its last meeting this week to consider proposed legislation to overhaul state law on the issue.

The proposed bill (read text) would redefine the grounds for expulsion, meaning “The only circumstances under which expulsion remains mandatory are those that involve a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school or possessed a firearm at
School,” in the words of the draft.

The draft also provides definitions for suspension, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension and expulsion, would set requirements for school boards to meet when they establish discipline codes and require training programs for police officers who work as school resource officers.

Whatever the committee decides, of course, will have to be considered by the full 2012 legislature before any changes become law.

See the committee website for a list of members, summaries of previous meetings that links to documents and presentations the panel used during its deliberations.

What’s on tap:

MONDAY

A statewide listening tour designed to gather information for the Hickenlooper administration’s third-grade literacy initiative starts with visits in Steamboat Springs and Craig and continues through the week. Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia is leading the effort. Details on lieutenant governor’s website

It’s a deadline day for campaign committees supporting and opposing Proposition 103 to file contribution and spending reports.

Denver Public Schools board members have a study session on achievement from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. The agenda includes a staffing update and plans for adopting new state academic standards.

TUESDAY

The Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline meeting starts at 9 a.m. in room 0112 of the Capitol.

Candidates in all three DPS board races are expected to participate in a forum staring at 6 p.m. in Davis Auditorium, 2000 E. Asbury Ave. on the University of Denver campus.

The Aurora school board meets at 6 p.m. at the Educational Services Center – 4, 1085 Peoria St.

Jefferson County school board candidates have a forum from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Evergreen Fire/Rescue Auditorium, 1802 Bergen Parkway in Evergreen.

WEDNESDAY

The superintendent forum on the State of Our Districts, sponsored by the Public Education & Business Coalition, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the University of Colorado Denver, will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Seawall Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Contact Natalie Newton at PEBC for more information.

The St. Vrain board has a 6 p.m. study session 
at Niwot High School, 8989 E. Niwot Rd.

The Adams 12-Five Star board meets at 7 p.m. in the Aspen Room of the Educational Support Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton. Agenda

THURSDAY

Jefferson County school board members hold a 5 p.m. special meeting to vote on a charter school application from Global Outreach Charter Academy, followed by a study session on training for new board members. It’s at 1829 Denver West Drive in Golden. Agenda

Denver Public Schools board members have a 5 p.m. meeting at 900 Grant St., followed by a public comment session. The agenda includes a vote on a new policy for board member spending, after recent revelations that some board members were over their $5,000 spending allowances.

 

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.


For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.


Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.