Colorado

Monday Churn: Honoring top performers

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

The Colorado Department of Education will hold an awards ceremony to recognize the 18 districts Accredited with Distinction under the state’s accountability system. The event starts at 10 a.m. in the CDE lobby at 201 E. Colfax Ave., Denver. Full list of winners:

Academy School District 20, Agate School District 300, Aspen School District 1, Buffalo School District RE-4, Cheyenne Mountain School District 12, Dolores School District RE-4A, Frenchman School District RE-3, Hinsdale County School District RE-1, Kiowa County School District C-2, Lewis-Palmer School District 38, Littleton Public Schools 6, Moffat School District 2, North Park School District R-1, Ouray School District R-1, Plateau School District RE-5, Ridgway School District R-2, Steamboat Springs School District RE-2 and Telluride School District R-1

The ceremony will also recognize the recipients of the 2011 Centers of Excellence award. Established by the Colorado legislature, the Centers of Excellence Award recognizes schools that demonstrate the highest rates of student longitudinal growth as measured by the Colorado Growth Model among those that have at least 75 percent at-risk students. For a list of the 2011 winners, click here.

The department will also recognize, but not distribute, two additional awards at the event: the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award and John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award. More on those here and here.

Also, the CDE also announced the formation of a Rural Education Council to “oversee, support, conduct research and advocate for the needs, concerns and particular problems of rural education districts.” Colorado Education Commissioner Robert Hammond made the announcement late last week, following up on a study that was conducted earlier this year. The council is comprised of one rural superintendent from each of eight regions in the state and representatives from local school boards, teachers, principals and business/community members. For a list of all members, go here.

The council will hold its first meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15 in Denver. Future quarterly meetings will be held around the state in rural locations so hosts can highlight the unique needs of their communities.

The Denver Education Compact, the centerpiece of Mayor Michael Hancock’s public education initiative, is set for its first meeting today under executive director Theresa Peña.  The compact, a committee of 25 community, business and education leaders selected by Hancock, is charged with making specific commitments to improve Denver education from cradle to career.

The committee has met twice before under interim director Janet Lopez. Today marks the first session for the group since Peña assumed her post as the executive director. Peña last month concluded her second and final term as an at-large member of the Denver school board. Co-chairs of the group are Hancock, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg and Donna Lynne, president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

Today’s public meeting runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m., in the Parr-Widener Community Room on the third floor of the Denver City & County Building, 1437 Bannock St. More info

What’s on tap:

TODAY

The Legislative Audit Committee will receive the annual financial and compliance audit of the University of Colorado starting at 1:30 p.m. The committee meets in its first-floor hearing room in the Legislative Services Building, 200 E. 14th Ave. Agenda

Denver school board members meet today in their regular monthly work session prior to Thursday’s meeting. The board will hear from the Start Date Task Force, including its analysis on whether the district should consider a later start to the school year. Background story. Other agenda items include updates on the district’s unified SchoolChoice enrollment system and the Northwest Community Committee. It begins at 4:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. Agenda. Remember you can watch the meetings live here.

Prior to the DPS work session, the board’s finance and audit committee meets at 3 p.m. , also at 900 Grant St.  The agenda includes a discussion of the district’s financial status, with a presentation noting Gov. Hickenlooper’s proposed budget could mean a reduction of $175 per student or about $14 million for DPS. Other provisions of the governor’s budget could cut another $125 per student. Financial presentation, full agenda

The Cherry Creek school board meets at High Plains Elementary, 6100 S. Fulton St., beginning at 7 p.m. No agenda is yet posted.

TUESDAY

The Legislative Audit Committee will be briefed about audits of the Colorado School of Mines and of federal stimulus spending in Colorado, including on education, starting at 9 a.m. Same location and agenda as above.

The Aurora school board meets at 6:00 p.m. at 1085 Peoria St.; no agenda is yet posted.

The Boulder school board meets at 5:00 p.m. at 6500 Arapahoe St. The agenda includes the legislative agenda, improvement planning and budget preparation.

WEDNESDAY

The Colorado Springs District 11 board meets at 6:30 p.m. at 1115 N. El Paso St. Agenda

The St. Vrain Valley School District board is scheduled to meet at 395 S. Pratt Parkway in Longmont at 7 p.m. No agenda is yet posted.

THURSDAY

Denver school board members meet at 5 p.m. at 900 Grant St. The agenda includes an enrollment update, a financial presentation and approval of new charter contracts. Agenda

FRIDAY

Leaders of the Department of Education and the State Board of Education are on the hot seat for their annual hearing with the Joint Budget Committee. Among the 48 written questions the department is supposed to answer are more than a dozen related to the cost of a new state testing system. The fun starts at 9 a.m. and runs until noon in the large hearing room on the first floor of the Legislative Services Building. Read a background story here.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Public school advocate and parent Julie Woestehoff writes in The Huffington Post about what she calls the “churn rate” in Chicago Public Schools after the latest wave of interventions was announced there. “Who wants to go to school or work for a school system that is in constant upheaval, where people never know from one year to the next where they will be or what they will be doing? Where life-altering decisions appear to be based on ever-changing and murky rationales?” she asks. More

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

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.