SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT Improving chronically low-performing schools is one of the hardest jobs in education — and for dozens of Colorado districts and schools, 2016 amounted to a make-or-break moment. Chalkbeat Colorado

SCHOOL FUNDING A look back at the biggest school funding stories of 2016, including a failed legislative attempt to find a compromise on charter school funding. Chalkbeat Colorado

State Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, says in 2017 he’ll again work to move Colorado Lottery funds from parks and open space over to K-12 education. Sterling Journal-Advocate

OPINION Jefferson County schools superintendent Dan McMinimee may be on his way out, but the Denver Post editorial board believes he’s performed admirably under incredibly trying circumstances. Denver Post

Should Colorado spend more on education? A point-counterpoint debate. Denver Business Journal

The case for more chalkboards and fewer iPads in schools. Denver Post

HANDS-ON LEARNING Enrollment in career and technical education courses is surging, but “this is not your granddad’s vocational education,” a state community college official says. Denver Post

COMPUTER EDUCATION The incoming speaker of the Colorado House is considering sponsoring a bill to allow schools across the state to access curricula on computer science and digital literacy. Gazette

TEACHER PAY Elizabeth School District Superintendent Douglas Bissonette is on a mission to gain equality in teacher pay throughout Colorado. Elbert County News

TEACHER COACHING A team of learning coaches help rookie teachers in the St. Vrain Valley School District go through the phases most first-year teachers weather between August and May: anticipation, survival, disillusionment, rejuvenation, and reflection. Longmont Times-Call

Does coaching teachers in real-time help students learn? Denver’s Rocky Mountain Prep says yes. Colorado Public Radio

A NEW KIND OF CLASSROOM An innovative learning space at Broomfield Heights Middle School features stadium-type seating, oversized bean bags, chairs that twirl at their desks and three flat screen televisions and places to plug in Chromebooks. Broomfield Enterprise

ONLINE LEARNING GOAL Academy and its former director say that a recent Education Week story about the school is slanted and biased. Pueblo Chieftain

A SHOW OF SUPPORT Littleton teachers, students and families are rallying behind an elementary school principal who was paralyzed in a snowboarding accident. Fox31

THE STUDENTS AND THE SEA Boulder-based Ocean First is helping landlocked Colorado students learn about – and connect to – the earth’s marine ecosystems. Denver Post

SPECIAL EDUCATION Poudre School District leaders are deciding whether the district will join every other large public school district in Colorado by accepting Medicaid reimbursement for services provided to eligible students on special education plans. Coloradoan

LAW AND ORDER A former bus assistant for the St. Vrain Valley School District accused of physically and verbally abusing disabled students has been charged with 24 counts of felony assault against an at-risk person. Daily Camera

GRANT FUNDING The St. Vrain Valley School District’s four-year, $16.5 million federal Race to the Top grant has ended but district officials said they were careful enough with the money that they can keep all the grant-funded elements going through the end of the school year. Daily Camera

DRIVER SHORTAGE Despite hiring 40 new bus drivers since the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, the Douglas County School District is still facing a shortage. Douglas County News-Press