Time running out on SchoolChoice

Denver Public Schools logoThe clock is ticking toward the deadline for Denver Public Schools parents to turn in their forms as part of the district’s new SchoolChoice initiative, but many families have yet to be heard from.

The deadline to complete choice forms for families with students entering transition years – starting ECE or kindergarten, or moving into sixth or ninth grade – is 5 p.m. Tuesday. Read more in EdNews Colorado. 

Calculating cost of high school dropouts

A look at the average lifetime social burden cost of a 16-year-old school dropout, with Henry Levin, Teachers College economics & education professor. Watch the CNBC report. 

Winners, losers in DPS private giving

Christmas came early for Bromwell Elementary in Denver’s chic Cherry Creek neighborhood, the good tidings wrapped in an e-mail sent to the school community a few weeks before the holiday break.

PTA donations cover the salary of Bromwell Elementary classroom assistant Colleen Cohen, seen here with first-grader Fiona Poppert. Bromwell’s 2011-12 annual PTA fund drive set “all kinds of records,” according to the e-mail, including most dollars ever raised, at $97,000, and the greatest participation ever by parents, at 89 percent. Read more in EdNews Colorado. 

Lafayette’s Sanchez Elementary looks to become a turnaround story

LAFAYETTE — Sanchez Elementary School’s principal and teachers knew a dramatic change was needed.

The school, tucked back in a Lafayette neighborhood that includes mobile homes, apartments and inexpensive rentals, routinely scores at or near the bottom on statewide tests when compared to other Boulder Valley schools. The school also has failed to meet federal achievement goals under No Child Left Behind. Read more in the Daily Camera. 

Bill would make CPR a grad requirement in Colo.

A new bill would require kids to know CPR to graduate from high school, and chatter has increased about the future of the BEST program. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Education apps at your fingertips

We all learn differently, but in this digital day and age, it only makes sense to bring education into the palm of your hand.

Here are a few apps to help students prepare for assessment tests, make sure they are on track at an early age, and connect with teachers, peers, and other resources. Check out this Fox News report. 

Monarch High issues reading challenge

LOUISVILLE — Monarch High School social studies teacher Deann Bucher was at a conference when she heard about schools improving literacy by requiring their high school students to read 25 books outside of class each year.

She was so excited about the idea, she convinced language arts teacher Mystayn Barnes and librarian Beatrice Gerrish to start a pilot “reading challenge” program this school year at Monarch. The two teachers require the 150 or so 10th graders in their world history and world literature classes to read 1,200 pages a semester outside of class. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Are after-school math centers really worth the money?

A little boy, no older than 8, almost leaps out of his chair, screaming, “It’s so easy! It’s so easy!”

Standing at the front of his classroom, Robert Kaplan, a teacher and cofounder of the Math Circle, one of many after-school math enrichment programs in the Boston area, gently chides him. “No, I don’t think it’s easy,” he says. “And it’s not nice to say it is when we’re struggling with the problem.” Read more in the Boston Globe. 

“Parent trigger bill” would be more of a request

Lawmakers return to the Capitol for their first full week with a lot of new bills on their desks, including 11 of interest to education.

House Bill 12-1149, a revised parent trigger proposal, is the highest profile measure. Sponsored by Rep. Don Beezley, R-Broomfield and vice chair of the House Education Committee, it’s a revised version of an unsuccessful bill he carried last year (see story). Read more in EdNews Colorado. 

Sharing a screen, if not a classroom

In a hushed first-grade classroom at Public School 55 in the South Bronx, Edward Muñoz, a bashful 7-year-old in scuffed sneakers and a worn hoodie, was sounding out tricky words with his tutor.

Together they plowed through a book about a birthday barbecue, tackling the words “party” and “presents.” Then they played a rousing game of word-based tic-tac-toe, with Edward eventually declaring victory. Read more in the New York Times. 

Students, teachers and social networking

Student-teacher interaction is a constant part of the school day. But should that interaction extend to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter?

Last year, Missouri passed a bill banning any electronic communication between teachers and students, although the law was revised after concerns that it might infringe on free speech.  Now, school districts across the country are working to define rules regarding student-teacher relationships as they update their social media policies. Read CNN’s Schools of Thought blog. 

iPads in class energize kids, challenge teachers

For 10-year-old Kaitlyn Chin, the first few weeks of school came packed with holidaylike anticipation — especially when the fourth-grader at Legacy Academy in Elizabeth saw boxes delivered to the building. Read more in the Denver Post. 

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.