Colorado

Friday Churn: Importance of reading

Updated – A report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows “students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers.”

The report also says “poverty compounds the problem,” noting results such as “Students who have lived in poverty are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time than their more affluent peers; if they read poorly, too, the rate is six times greater than that for all proficient readers.”

For black and Latino students, the results are even worse – “the combined effect of poverty and poor third grade reading skills makes the rate eight times greater.”

Read the full report, Double Jeopardy: How Poverty & Third-Grade Reading Skills Influence High School Graduation.

“We will never close the achievement gap, we will never solve our dropout crisis, we will never break the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many children if we don’t make sure that all of our students learn to read,” said Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Casey foundation.

The longitudinal study relies on a national database of 3,975 students born between 1979 and 1989. The children’s parents were surveyed every two years to determine economic status while the children’s reading progress was tracked using the Peabody Individual Achievement Test. It is billed as the first study to break down the likelihood of graduation by different reading skill levels and poverty experiences.

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

It seems to be the year for state college name changes, with Metro State requesting a change to Denver State University and Mesa State mulling possible new names.

Mesa recently did a survey and conducted meetings about a name change. Finding support in that exercise and receiving more than 60 suggested names, college officials now are doing a second survey to get feedback on a narrowed-down list of names for the Grand Junction institution. A strong majority of respondents supported dropping “college” and substituting “university” in any new name.

“Based on the feedback we’ve received in small group meetings, our prior survey and even our tele-townhall meeting, the overwhelming majority of our stakeholders believe the time is right for us to change our name in order to better communicate who we are, what we do and where we’re located,” President Tim Foster said in a statement.

Some examples from the list of 20 possible names are Colorado Canyons University, Colorado West University, Colorado Mesa University, University of Western Colorado and Mesa University of Western Colorado.

Find out more about the process on the college’s name change website.

Name changes for both Metro and Mesa would require legislative approval.

What’s on tap:

The University of Colorado Board of Regents continue their meeting, starting with committee sessions at 8:30 a.m. President Bruce Benson will discuss the recommendation to close the journalism school in Boulder with the Academic Affairs Committee. The main meeting is at the Anschutz Medical Campus, Research Complex 2, Room 2100. Agenda

The State Council of Educator Effectiveness meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, 7711 E. Academy Blvd. in Lowry. Agenda

Aurora Public Schools, in conjunction with the Colorado Children’s Campaign, is hosting a screening of the documentary Waiting for Superman at 5:45 p.m. at Aurora Central High School. Details

Good reads from elsewhere:

Collaborative cuts: Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner interviews a Denver Public Schools parent about shared decision-making on cuts at two city schools. Colorado Public Radio.

Test generation: A liberal magazine takes a close look at Colorado’s burgeoning effort to evaluate teachers based on student growth. The American Prospect.

NYC change: Cathleen Black, the former publishing executive appointed to run the nation’s largest school district, is out after only three months. The New York Times.

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”

 

Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”

 

Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”

 

Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”

 

Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”

 

Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.