Colorado

Friday Churn: Enrollment up 1.3%

Updated 10 a.m. – Statewide school enrollment grew 1.3 percent this year, up 10,949 students to 854,265.

The growth is in line with the rates of recent years, although the student population increased 2 percent in 2008-09.

The official enrollment number, which is a key factor in annual school finance calculations, is based on attendance counts taken in a small time window around Oct. 1 each year.

That so-called single day count has been criticized as not accurately reflecting actual enrollment across a whole school year and for not capturing student movement among schools. There may be legislation at the Capitol this year to change the counting system.

The largest increases were reported for the Denver Public Schools, schools supervised by the Charter School Institute and for online programs. (Two small districts, Hi-Plains and Pawnee, reported increases of more than 20 percent.)

DPS added 2,573 students, or 3.29 percent, while CSI schools gained 2,525 students, a 31.64 percent increase. Those schools now have 10,506 students.

Online programs now enroll 16,221 students, a 6.4 percent increase from 2010-11. There were only 1,987 online students in 2002-03.

The Department of Education reported a 10.6 percent in students identified as multi-racial and an 8.3 percent increase in students identified as Asian. Only minor changes were reported in other ethnic and racial groups.

This year 41.27 percent of K-12 students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch compared to 40.3 percent in 2010-11.

The enrollment report reflects student headcounts, including students who aren’t enrolled full time.

Get full information on 2011-12 enrollment here.

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Members of the Jeffco Public Schools board of education will fan out across the county Saturday for five simultaneous community forums on how best to trim $50 million to $60 million from the district’s budget over the next two years. The forums will run from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The district Citizens’ Budget Advisory Council has forwarded a list of 82 specific suggestions for cuts and revenue increases. The vast majority of the ideas are cuts.

The five locations:

  • Arvada High School, 7951 W. 65th Ave., Arvada
  • Columbine High School, 6201 S. Pierce St., Littleton
  • Evergreen High School, 29300 Buffalo Park Rd., Evergreen
  • Ralston Valley High School, 13355 W. 80th Ave., Arvada
  • Bear Creek High School, 9800 W. Dartmouth Pl., Lakewood

Budget forums will be facilitated by board members and assisted by district staff. Forum participants will take part in small group discussions; the forums are open to all. “Keep in mind that no final decisions about the budget have been made,” according to the district news release.

What’s on tap:

Denver Public Schools board members will meet with the Student Board of Education at noon in the board’s usual ground-floor meeting space at 900 Grant St.

In keeping with the spirit of what has been declared National School Choice week, “School Choice in DPS” is slated for 3:30 p.m. at the office of Education Reform Now, 2543 California St., in Denver. Among the guests expected is nationally prominent Democratic consultant Joe Trippi. Guests are asked to RSVP to Rachel Gordon at Education Reform Now, [email protected] Space is limited.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, will tour Casey Middle School, the first LEED Platinum Certified school in Colorado, with Nancy Sutley, President Obama’s principal environmental advisor and chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. During the visit, they will learn how the school’s energy upgrades including solar panels and a new ground source heat exchange system are saving it more than 50 percent on its energy bill even as the school has expanded its facilities by 40 percent. The tour begins at 1:30 p.m. at the school, 1301 High St. in Boulder.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Public health officials continue to test students and staff at Longmont High School after the discovery of latent tuberculosis at the school, reports the Longmont Times-Call.

State Board of Education Chairman Bob Schaffer, who is also the principal of Liberty Common High School in Fort Collins, endorsed the work of Neenan Co. as the school prepares to break ground for an expansion next week. The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported that the school built “an extra layer” of engineering oversight into its contract with Neenan, which is embroiled in a state investigation into the quality of its work at 15 other sites.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at [email protected]

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.