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Rise & Shine: Adams 14 must find a new external manager, and state officials are sorry

Welcome to a news-packed Friday edition of Rise & Shine.

The State Board of Education met Thursday and made two big decisions. They told Adams 14 officials they never should have agreed to let one school district run another, putting an end to hopes by community members and union teachers that Mapleton might serve as the external manager. As it happens, Adams 14 school board members said they already had decided to go in a different direction, but one state board member said that if an external manager cannot be found, the district's schools should be converted to charters.

Yesenia has that story, as well as one about the successful appeal of Vega Collegiate Academy, a high-performing charter that Aurora wanted to shut down over concerns about how the school was educating — or not educating — its students with special needs. The State Board said the school deserves a chance and asked Aurora to reconsider.

Also from Yesenia: Programs that provides intensive support to high school freshmen are showing promise at reducing the dropout rate. A bill that advanced Thursday would make $1.5 million available to boost such programs.

Also in the legislature, the Senate Education Committee advanced an update to the READ Act that calls for an extensive evaluation of reading instruction in Colorado schools and requires many early elementary teachers to get new training in teaching reading. Some parents and lawmakers don't think the bill does enough. I've got that story.

We've got all that and more below.

Meanwhile, we need something from you. Legislation to ban most suspensions of children in the earliest grades is advancing through the legislature. What do discipline practices look like in your school? How would this bill change those? Do you have the tools you need to keep students in the classroom even when they act out? Please take a few minutes to answer our survey.

Read on.

— Erica Meltzer, bureau chief

PLAN B Apologizing for not having stopped the process sooner, the Colorado State Board of Education on Thursday voted to reject the Mapleton school district as an external manager for the troubled Adams 14 district. The Adams 14 board will attempt to find a new external manager before the end of the month. Chalkbeat

READING RATES A Colorado bill that would require many early elementary teachers to undergo new training in reading instruction passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, but not before lawmakers and parent activists expressed concern that the proposal represents a meager effort against a massive problem: that roughly 60 percent of Colorado third-graders do not read at grade level. Chalkbeat

TURNING POINT Research shows that when students struggle to start high school, they are more likely to fall behind and drop out of school. Gov. Jared Polis has said reducing drop-out rates is a priority for him, and a bill that advanced Thursday would put an additional $1.5 million into efforts like one at Gateway High School that is showing promise. Chalkbeat

SECOND CHANCE One of Aurora’s highest-performing charter schools, Vega Collegiate Academy, logged a victory as the State Board of Education asked the district to reconsider its decision to close the school. District officials had said the charter school was not serving students with special needs. Chalkbeat

IN THEIR SHOES A Columbine survivor has dedicated her life to helping others who have been through mass shootings. Colorado Public Radio

OUNCE OF PREVENTION Colorado schools don’t come close to meeting federal guidelines for the provision of mental health services. Colorado Sun

This man’s job is to prevent the next school shooting in Jefferson County. Washington Post

SHARED SPACE Some parents at the building shared by Merrill Middle School and C3 Elementary are unhappy with the way money for renovations is being spent. Not enough of it will show up in the classroom, they say. Fox 31

LEADERSHIP Some community members are pushing for a new principal at Arapahoe High School after a series of teacher arrests and student suicides, while others are standing behind her leadership. ABC 7 FOX 31

The new president of the Mesa Valley Education Association wants to do more than put out fires. He wants to think about the future of education in District 51. He’s also a lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol and a singer in a chorale group. Grand Junction Sentinel

NEXT STEPS The Pueblo 60 board is narrowing down its options to deal with empty space and deteriorating buildings, and the configuration of the district’s schools could look much different when it’s over. Chieftain

The State Board of Education approved the Aurora district’s plans to have external managers at two struggling schools. Aurora Sentinel