Colorado

Monday Churn: Still busy

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Prom has come and gone, graduations are in full swing and the end of the school year is near for many – but there’s still plenty of activity education-wise today:

Gov. John Hickenlooper will travel to Arvada High School to sign Senate Bill 11-133. The 5:10 p.m. ceremony will include sponsors Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, Linda Newell, D-Littleton, and Rep. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, as well as members of Padres y Jovenes Unidos.

The bill creates a legislature task force to study school discipline methods, including referral of students to police. Padres has been active in campaigning against what it sees as inappropriate discipline on over-reliance on police referrals.

U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana will visit Lake International School in Denver and Fulton Elementary School in Aurora today to meet with students and school leaders. According to the press release, “Meléndez de Santa Ana will underscore the importance of turning around low-performing schools” and talk about how the federal government is supporting districts and schools in their school turnarounds.

Meléndez de Santa Ana is in town to keynote Tuesday’s conference on school improvement grant, or SIG, recipients, which she’s slated to do at 8:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency in the Denver Tech Center. The conference is the last of four regional meetings that began in April to support state and local education agencies, as well as schools, in their efforts to successfully turn around persistently low-performing schools. The others have been in Los Angeles, the District of Columbia and Chicago.

Also today,  the Colorado School of Mines trustees meet at 9:15 a.m. in the Coors Board room on campus in Golden. The board will vote on tuition and fees for 2011-12. The administration is recommending a 9 percent increase for resident undergraduates and graduate students, 5 percent for non-resident students and a 1.6 percent inflation increase in mandatory student fees. Agenda.

What’s on tap:

TUESDAY

The State Council for Educator Effectiveness meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Colorado Talking Book Library, 180 Sheridan Blvd. Agenda.

The Aurora school board meets at 6 p.m. in Educational Services Center, 1085 Peoria St. Agenda.

The Boulder Valley school board convenes at 6 p.m. at the Education Center, 6500 E. Arapahoe Drive. Agenda

WEDNESDAY

The state Capitol Construction Assistance Board meets from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Department of Education, 201 E. Colfax Ave. The agenda includes a rule-making hearing and initial discussion of 2011-12 grant applications. Those will be considered in detail and ranked at meetings June 27-30. Agenda.

The St. Vrain Valley board meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Educational Services Center, 395 South Pratt Parkway, Longmont.

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

THURSDAY

Michelle Rhee, former D.C. schools chancellor and founder of Students First, is in Denver to speak at the ACE Scholarships annual luncheon, where former Gov. Bill Owens and current Gov. John Hickenlooper also are scheduled to talk. It’s at noon at the Denver Marriott City Center. Among its initiatives, ACE, which was founded in 2000 by oilman Alex Cranberg, awards scholarships to low-income families to help their children attend private schools.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Gates’ influence: The Microsoft founder has stepped up his education reform advocacy efforts, including “financing educators to pose alternatives to union orthodoxies.” New York Times.

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.