Latest CSAP results mostly flat – again

State test results released today show little change in the proficiency of Colorado students on annual exams in reading and science and only slight increases in math and writing.

The number of pupils reading at grade level dropped less than half a percentage point to 68 percent, with most of the small decline coming at the very top or advanced level. Read more in Education News Colorado. And check out how your child’s school fared in this interactive database.

Schools’ increasing fees put pinch on families

Parents of some Colorado public-school students will spend hundreds of dollars this year on materials and textbook fees for their children’s science labs, electives, honors and other advanced courses. Read this story in the Denver Post.

Denver academy helps kids get head start on middle, high school

High school students working in class.Thousands of Denver students are getting a head start on middle and high school this summer through the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Sixth Grade Academy and Ninth Grade Academy programs.  The programs combine learning, leadership development and team-building activities to give students the confidence to achieve academic success throughout their middle and high school years.

This is the fifth year that incoming ninth-graders across the city have had the chance to spend a couple of weeks over the summer on campus, getting acclimated to a new school environment and taking part in academic and school-readiness classes.  Early results – based on approximately 4,500 students attending Ninth Grade Academy over the past four years – have shown that participation in the program improves students’ future attendance and overall performance. Participants of the Ninth Grade Academy are also more likely to be on track to graduate by the end of the ninth-grade year. Furthermore, participants of the Ninth Grade Academy earned more credits, on average, by the end of the ninth grade year than their counterparts.

Based on the program’s success, DPS extended the summer-academy program two years ago to include incoming sixth-graders for the summer.

Administrators hope ‘new’ North H.S. keeps kids in district

DENVER – Not too long ago, parents in northwest Denver were concerned about the look of North High School. It was run down. Windows were boarded up. It was an eyesore next door – not anymore.

“Clearly, we celebrate not just the bricks and the mortar, we celebrate the people,” Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, said. Watch the 9NEWS report.

Aurora Youth 4 Success helps students explore subjects

Aurora Youth 4 Success, now in its third year, wrapped up last week at Overland High School with a culmination and celebration event. About 150 kids completed the course, up from 90 the previous year, said Nancy Todd, founder of Aurora Youth 4 Success.Read more at YourHub.

Ruling next week on Dougco vouchers

A Denver judge says he’ll issue a ruling next week on a motion to halt the Douglas County voucher pilot until legal challenges surrounding the plan are resolved.

Denver District Judge Michael A. Martinez made the announcement after three full days of testimony that concluded Thursday with the mother of a student with special needs explaining why she wants a voucher worth $4,575 in public money to send her son to private school. Read more in Education News Colorado.

K-12 teachers train at CU to bolster Chinese curriculum

Three years ago, the principal at Abbi Kaplan’s school asked her if she’d teach Chinese to high school students.
Kaplan was eager to take on the job, and already the program at Aurora’s Hinkley High School has drawn 100 students interested in learning the language – one the U.S. government has deemed a “critical” language that is now not widely taught. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Lobato 8/1: Small Center district in spotlight

The 580-student Center School District was the focus of opening day in the Lobato v. State school funding lawsuit, with Superintendent George Welsh giving more than three and a half hours of testimony about the struggles of his high-poverty district in the San Luis Valley.

Welsh’s testimony came after lawyers for the three parties in the case – two sets of plaintiffs and the state of Colorado – took a bit more than two hours to present their opening arguments, which highlighted points made in the case’s voluminous pretrial filings. Read all about it in Education News Colorado.

Lobato 8/2: A history lesson on a lawsuit

What did the creators of Colorado’s 1876 constitution mean when they required the legislature to “provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state”?

Tom Romero, an assistant law professor at the University of Denver, tried to answer that question Tuesday afternoon during testimony at the Lobato v. State school finance lawsuit. Read more in Education News Colorado.

Tax question likely headed to ballot

Supporters of Initiative 25 – an effort to boost state spending on education through increases in the Colorado sales and income taxes – formed a caravan of children’s wagons filled with stacks of petitions and marched them to the Secretary of State’s office Monday afternoon.

The petitions contained 142,160 signatures of voters requesting the measure be put on the November statewide ballot. That’s more than 50,000 signatures over and above the 86,000 required, said state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, one of the authors of the initiative. Read all about it in Education News Colorado.

Back to school for Douglas County

Where has the summer gone?

Monday marks back-to-school time for Douglas County students on a modified schedule. Watch the 9NEWS report.

College courses open to 9th graders

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) – Two new laws are opening school district-funded college courses to 9th-graders beginning this fall.

The courses will also be open to people as old as 21. Check out this 9NEWS report.

Denver grad class up by nearly 500 students over two years

Denver Public Schools’ graduating class grew again in 2011 and has increased by nearly 500 graduates in the past two years, according to the district’s preliminary data. And the increase in graduates is coupled with an increase in the rigor of the district’s college-readiness curriculum. Since the launching of the Denver Plan—the district’s reform blueprint—in 2005, the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses has more than doubled, from 1,325 in the 2005-06 school year to 3,329 last year.

There were 3,373 members of the DPS Class of 2011, according to preliminary data, a roughly 4% increase over 2010, and an increase of 480 students—or about 16.5%—compared with the Class of 2009. Lincoln High School in Southwest Denver has been a strong driver of that progress. Lincoln’s Class of 2011 included 377 graduates, up from 224 in 2009—a roughly 68% increase. And Lincoln was one of six DPS high schools to post a double-digit percentage increase in the number of graduates over the past year: East High School (14%), Montbello High School (15%), Martin Luther King Jr. Middle College (17%), Lincoln (22%), Denver Center for International Studies (21%), and CEC Middle College (24%).

Greeley teacher accused of cheating on CSAP test fights for her job

A Chappelow K-8 teacher accused of cheating on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests in March is fighting a recommendation that she be dismissed by Greeley-Evans School District 6.

Joann Angus, an eighth-grade science teacher, said she did not want to comment on the issue when contacted by phone on Monday, but her attorney, Charles Kaiser, who represents the Colorado Education Association, said a hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21 in Greeley. Read more in the Denver Post.

CU-Boulder hosts program for H.S. students interested in science

Some local high school students are getting their first experiences with field research this week as they join University of Colorado students at the CU Mountain Research Station. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Tuition-based preschool program accepting registrations

Registrations are now being accepted for the Poudre School District tuition-based preschool program. Preschool programs will be offered at four locations for the 2011-2012 school year.  Preschool programs will be at Kruse Elementary, Bacon Elementary, Shepardson Elementary and Rice Elementary. Half-day sessions will be available in the morning and afternoon at participating schools.

Preschool programs offer:

  • Teachers licensed by Colorado Department of Education.
  • High quality, standards-based preschool environment.
  • 16 students per session.  Adult to child ratio 1-8.
  • Tuition costs are $3150/year or $350 for 9 months if enrolled in a 3 1/2 hour class and $2900/year or $322 for 9 months if enrolled in a 2 hour 45 minute class.
  • All enrolled families will need to submit a $50 enrollment fee, upon acceptance to the program.
  • To apply go to www.psdschools.org; click on “School Registration;” then click on the left-hand link, “Preschool Registration.”  Additional program documents may be required.

For more information, call Early Childhood Education at 970-490-3204. View this release online at: http://www.psdschools.org/news/2011/07/tuition-based-preschool-program-accepting-registrations

Poudre space available and alt transpo apps now available

school busThe application process for 2011-2012 space available transportation and alternative transportation, for Poudre School District, will remain unchanged for 2011-12.  Applications will be available on the PSD website and at the transportation office.

Requests are processed on first-come, first-served basis and are based on the space available on existing bus routes.  Parents are encouraged to apply as soon as applications are available.

Application process overview:

  • Parents must reapply for space available and/or alternative transportation every year.
  • Applications will not be accepted until Aug. 1.
  • Only current year, 2011-2012, applications will be accepted.
  • The application review process begins Oct. 3, and families will be notified as soon as a determination is made.
  • A separate form must be filled out for each student.
  • Parents are responsible for providing student transportation until they are notified by the PSD transportation department that there is a seat available for them on a bus.

Transportation cannot assign students over the PSD Transportation capacity limits. Limits are based on age group of the students and size of the bus.

Applications are available on the PSD website at www.psdschools.org under School Resources.

For more information please contact the transportation routing department at 970-490-3155.

National Geographic holds photo contest for fifth-graders

Young photographers around the world are invited to take part in the 2011 National Geographic International Photography Contest for Kids. The competition is conducted in partnership with the U.S. edition of National Geographic Kids magazine (also available in Canada) and nine local-language editions of the magazine in Bulgaria, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Lithuania, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The overall international grand-prize winner will receive a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., while the U.S./Canada grand-prize winner will receive a trip to Costa Rica.

U.S. and Canadian contestants ages 6-14 may enter now through Oct. 31, 2011, by submitting one photo in any or all of four categories: People, Animals, Scenery and Humor. Photos can be black-and-white or color, and shot with a digital camera or with conventional film. Entries can be submitted online at http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/activities/contests/kids-photo-contest/ or via regular mail. Entry forms and official contest rules are found at http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/contests/photo-contest-rules. Void where prohibited.

One grand-prize winner from the U.S./Canada regional contest will be selected from the four first-place category winners to receive a nine-day, eight-night trip for a family of four to Costa Rica, courtesy of The Adventure Company and the Adventure Center.