Colorado

Monday Churn: Nervously waiting

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Release of quarterly state revenue forecasts has become a dreaded event in recent years as declining state revenues have turned the reports into an unending series of bad news.

The September forecasts from legislative staff economists and the executive branch Office of State Planning and Budgeting will be released to the Joint Budget Committee Tuesday morning.

The last forecasts, in June, brought some good news for education because they were higher than the amount estimated in March, meaning an extra $67.5 million will be available to K-12 education in the second half of the current 2011-12 budget year. But the broader forecasts were still iffy, and Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver and a member of the JBC, said, “Most likely … we still will be having to cut in 2012-13.”

There’s some good – and visual – information about trends in the Colorado economy and the state budget in this slide show prepared by the OSPB and shopped around in recent weeks to various state officials, including the Colorado Commission on Higher Education on Sept. 8.

School finance is top of many minds these days for several reasons, including the tax hikes proposed in Proposition 103, the just-completed Lobato v. State funding adequacy trial and a gloomy long-term state fiscal forecast from University of Denver researchers.

What’s on tap:

TODAY

It’s a deadline day for statewide campaign committees to file contribution and spending reports with the secretary of state’s office. It could provide the first hints of fund-raising strength by opponents of Proposition 103.

Today also is the deadline for submitting comments on draft educator effectiveness regulations if you’d like those comments considered by Colorado Department of Education staff members as they prepare a third draft of those rules. Use this CDE page for links to the current draft and previous comments and for instructions on commenting. Submit comments here.

The State Board of Education will hold another hearing on the rules in October and is expected to vote in November. CDE will continue to accept comments up to the November meeting, but today’s the deadline to submit if you’d like CDE to consider your thoughts before it redrafts rules for the October hearing.

TUESDAY

The Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline meets from 8:30 a.m. to noon to discuss potential bills for the 2012 legislative session. Expect to see proposals designed to reduce the use of suspensions, expulsions and police referrals. The meeting’s in room 0112 of the Capitol. Agenda

The JBC will receive the quarterly revenue forecasts at 9 a.m. in the Legislative Services Building, 200 E. 14th Ave.

The new Education Leadership Council holds its first meeting starting at 1 p.m. at the Carriage House of the Governor’s Mansion. Gov. John Hickenlooper will open the session, and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will give the group its marching orders toward the end of the meeting, according to the agenda. List of members

The Aurora school board meets at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at the Educational Services Center – 4, 1085 Peoria St.

The Boulder Valley board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. at 6500 Arapahoe Road, Boulder.
Agenda

The Douglas County board convenes at 5 p.m. (regular meeting starts at 7:05 p.m.) at district headquarters, 620 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock.

WEDNESDAY

The Adams 12-Five Star board has a meeting scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Educational Support Center on 1500 E. 128th Ave., Thornton, in the Aspen Room.

THURSDAY

The St. Vrain board holds a 6:00 p.m. study session at Longmont High School, 1040 Sunset St. Agenda

FRIDAY

A hearing is scheduled on the Colorado Education Association’s request for a preliminary injunction against the state’s recent parent notification rule. The regulation requires parents be informed when school employees are arrested. The hearing will be held at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 209 at the Denver City and County Building. EdNews background story

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.