Colorado

Thursday Churn: Good at math?

UpdatedDenver Public Schools is looking for 75 math tutors to help students in seven schools improve their math performance.

The initiative is part of the district’s turnaround plan in Far Northeast Denver. The math tutors, or fellows, will serve one-year fellowships with DPS and receive intensive summer training and ongoing professional development from Boston-based Blueprint Schools Network, a turnaround partner.

Students in grades 4, 6 and 9 are slated to receive daily, small-group tutoring in an attempt to ensure they make more than one year’s worth of growth in math in 2012-13. The initiative aims to add 50 minutes of math help every day.

The district began the tutoring effort this year and says 30 percent of students have moved a proficiency level in math in six months. Learn more.

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Ten Colorado high schools will participate in the 2012-13 inaugural year of a state program to improve college readiness.

The schools, located across the state, were named Wednesday as participants in the Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative, which will focus on dramatically improving the number and diversity of students who enroll in Advanced Placement coursework and receive qualifying scores on their exams.

The initiative is funded through a $10.5 million investment from the National Math and Science Initiative. It will include teacher training and incentives for students and teachers.

The ten schools – Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, Northglenn High School, Aurora Central High School, Arvada High School, Centennial High School in Pueblo, Central High School in Grand Junction, Fruita Monument High School, Grand Junction High School, James Irwin Charter High School in Colorado Springs and Vista Ridge High School, also in Colorado Springs.

“Recruiting and supporting students from all walks of live in rigorous, college-level coursework is a proven method to help close the achievement gap,” Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia said in a press release.

The program is based on the Advanced Training and Incentive Program, which supporters say has an “unprecedented track record” in increasing college readiness.

“This program gets results and it gets results for kids that too often don’t pursue or are not encouraged to pursue advanced classes,” said Helayne Jones, president of the Colorado Legacy Foundation.

Ten more schools will be selected for the 2013-14 school year, and another ten schools will be chosen in 2014-15, for a total of thirty participating schools.

Douglas County school district and teachers’ union leaders on Wednesday held their second day of public negotiations on a 2012-13 contract. Some progress was made, according to Dougco officials. You can read a brief update and hear audio of the discussions here.

What’s on tap today:

Aurora Public Schools is hosting a Pathway to Results celebration at 9:30 a.m. that highlights the district’s unique P-20 programs. Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia is expected among the guests for what’s described as a demonstration of how Aurora’s Academic and Career Pathways are impacting student achievement. Students will provide hands-on demonstrations and there will be a simulated hospital room, a 21st century classroom and anatomy sculptures molded from clay. It’s all at 15771 E. First Ave. in Aurora.

Jefferson County school board members meet for a study session at 5 p.m. at district headquarters, 1829 Denver West Drive in Golden. The agenda includes a discussion with Edgewater city leaders and a legislative update.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Stolen tests: Cherry Creek School District officials say they’ve recovered ACT and Advanced Placement tests stolen Sunday from the basement of a building at the Cherry Creek High School campus. The theft prompted the school to cancel ACT testing for students this week – but they still have to take the test on the statewide make-up day. 9News has the story.

Neighborhood charters: Some Washington, D.C. leaders are intrigued by charter schools with attendance boundaries, like some charters in Chicago and Denver, where examples include West Denver Prep at Lake. The Washington Post‘s Bill Turque says the idea isn’t popular with “charter purists.”

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.