Friday Churn: The effectiveness awards

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

The 2011 Commissioner’s Choice Awards have been announced by the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Legacy Foundation, honoring a dozen individuals, schools, programs and districts that have demonstrated effectiveness in 12 areas of student achievement and growth, teacher leadership, and educator preparation and induction.

Awards will be presented Feb. 8 at what’s billed as “the state’s first event celebrating effective educators that apply best practices and get results.”

A sampling of the winners:

  • Expanding Opportunity through Effective Leadership Award – Kevin Jones, Principal, Center High School in Center, for successful innovation with a historically underserved population.
  • Teacher Leadership Award – Cherry Hills Village Elementary School, Cherry Creek School District, for an innovative leadership model that empowers teachers to achieve consistent, sustained student growth.
  • Getting Results Award – Explore Elementary School, Mapleton School District, recognizing teams of teachers who have improved performance at a historically low-performing school.

See the full list of winners here, and get details of the awards ceremony. Speakers will include Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sir Ken Robinson, whose video “Changing Education Paradigms” is nearing the 3-million-hits mark on YouTube:

In case you missed it, the National Council on Teacher Quality on Thursday released its fourth annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook, which reviews state laws, rules and regulations governing the teaching profession. Last year, Colorado received a D+ but the 2010 Yearbook finds the state has made “significant” progress on teacher quality goals.

Read the press release here and click here for the 20-page report on Colorado.

What’s on tap:

The State Council for Educator Effectiveness meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DPS’ Del Pueblo facility, 750 Galapago St., in Denver. Agenda

CANCELED – Aurora Public Schools board members will not be meeting at 1 p.m. at Hinkley High School, 1250 Chambers Road, to talk about their proposed new graduation requirements, due to a conflict in Superintendent John Barry’s schedule. The graduation requirements are scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, Feb. 1, though that could be delayed. Here’s a link to the board’s presentation on the proposed changes.

The State Board of Education meets from 2 to 4 p.m. to discuss pending legislation and possible board positions on bills. In addition to its regular meetings, the board meets monthly during the legislative session to discuss education legislation. The meeting will be in the boardroom at the Department of Education, 201 E. Colfax Ave.


The Adams 50 Westminster school board is hosting a community conversation about the direction of the district. Morning sessions will focus on the district’s nationally-watched Standards-Based Education reform, while an afternoon session is tailored to those interested in seeking a board seat this fall. It all starts at 8 a.m. at Westminster High School. More information.

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.