The Daily Churn: Wednesday

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Updated & corrected 4:45 p.m.The Charter School Growth Fund is formally announcing a $160 million fund raising campaign today and has given a pledge of about $4 million to West Denver Prep and the Denver School of Science and Technology. The fund is based in Broomfield and is headed by CEO Kevin Hall, a former executive of the Broad Foundation. Its board includes corporate and foundation executives. According to an Associated Press story posted on Google News, the fund previously has given $85 million to charter school organizations.

The fund pledged $20 million to six charter management networks in four states, including the two charters that are part of DPS. Because we misread language in the AP story, an earlier version of Churn incorrectly reported that the two Denver schools would receive $20 million.

What’s churning:

It’s decision day in Las Vegas. By the end of the evening we will know, presumably, whether Colorado will need a new education commissioner. The Clark County, Nev. school board meets beginning at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time to decide who will become the next superintendent of the fast-growing Las Vegas school system. Colorado Education Commissioner Dwight Jones is vying for the job against Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. Check back here frequently this evening for updates, and follow us on Twitter for minute-by-minute developments.

Far northeast Denver has some of the lowest-performing schools in the city, or for that matter, in the state. Last night, after six months of work, a community committee heard recommendations from the district on how to set things right. The proposed plan calls for an audacious overhaul of most schools in the Montbello and Green Vally Ranch neighborhoods, featuring full turnarounds (new leaders new staffs) and sharing buildings between innovative new district models with strong charter schools. You can see the full plan here, and read a blog post by Alan Gottlieb on last night’s meeting here.

What’s on tap:

The Higher Education Strategic Planning Steering Committee town hall meeting set for today in Grand Junction has been rescheduled. It now will be held on Oct. 19 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Mesa State College in the multipurpose room of Grand Mesa Hall. (View the PowerPoint the panel is showing at these meetings.)

Good reads from elsewhere:

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.