Rise & Shine: After voters gave their blessing, new schools are going up all over Colorado

Good morning!

Please excuse the tardy. This edition of Rise & Shine is coming to you from a different time zone, where it is still bright and early. I'm at the Education Writers Association conference in Los Angeles, where I'm looking forward to getting my head around a lot of big-picture issues after a whirlwind legislative session.

Last fall, voters in a lot of Colorado districts gave their blessing to new taxes and bond measures, and this morning's news round up reflects the fruits of that labor. New schools are going up. Old schools are getting new looks. The designs of these buildings incorporate new ideas about how students learn and get rid of "prison windows." (I went to a middle and high school with prison windows. We could have used a little more natural light.)

We also have an interesting story from Alamosa about a historic school segregation case there. Hispanic students were forced to go to the "Mexican School," supposedly for their own benefit, even if they spoke English well. Mexican-American parents sued to end the injustice back in 1914.

We've got all that and more down below.

Read on.

– Erica Meltzer, bureau chief


ON THE ROAD Denver metro area school districts are getting behind a plan to provide low-cost RTD fares to students and low-income families. Lack of transportation is a major barrier for families who want to use school choice, and this initiative could help address it. Denver Post

STAND UP Back in 1914, Mexican-American parents sued to end school segregation in Alamosa. District officials tried to say the separate “Mexican School” was for the benefit of students, but they were forced to admit that Hispanic children were sent there even if they spoke English well. Some children had to walk past schools serving white students and cross numerous train tracks to reach the “Mexican School.” The decision was recognized as significant at the time but then lost to history – until recently. Alamosa News

CHARTER MOVES Pikes Peak Prep in Colorado Springs is out from under the umbrella of its charter management organization and moving into a new building as a state-authorized independent charter school. A new state-authorized charter, Monarch Classical School of the Arts, will move into Pikes Peak’s former location. Gazette

NEW BEGINNINGS Two Colorado Springs area districts, Widefield District 3 and Falcon District 49, broke ground on new school buildings after voters approved new taxes and bonds last fall. This is Widefield’s first new school in 22 years. The schools are expected to open in 2019. Gazette

Renovations to Windsor High School reflect new technology and new approaches to learning, with a video production studio, common areas for collaboration – and a lot more natural light. A new Severance High School under construction will include many of the same features. All of this construction in the Weld Re-4 district north of Denver comes courtesy of voter-approved bonds. Greeley Tribune

TIME OUT High school seniors in Pueblo will be able to graduate on time after the district received a waiver from the Colorado Department of Education. Students missed a week of school due to the recently settled teachers strike. Chieftain

COST OF LIVING The Durango school district is raising the cost of school breakfast and the cost of its summer camp program as it tries to pay all its employees at least $13 an hour. The district is trying to pay a living wage above the legally required minimum.  Durango Herald

SENSE OF SECURITY The Poudre School District is hiring three more school resource officers and making security upgrades to some of its buildings. Coloradoan

SCREEN TIME The Boulder Valley district is considering new rules on technology in the classroom after parents raised concerns about children playing violent video games and seeing inappropriate content on school computers. They’re also looking at a districtwide cell phone policy. Daily Camera