Rise & Shine: Denver Public Schools wants to help teachers buy houses; the union president calls it a ‘PR approach’

Good morning!

There's snow on the ground, and we've got a ton of news – so I'm going to dive right in.

Antwan Wilson, a longtime principal and assistant superintendent in Denver, is back in a consultant role after being forced to resign his high-profile job as chancellor in Washington, D.C. Eric Gorski, wearing his reporter hat again, tracked down that story.

The Adams 14 board gave a raise to their embattled superintendent after adding a last-minute item to their agenda. That meant the public had no notice this was coming. Yesenia Robles has that story. She's also got news from Aurora, where the proposed budget plan calls for getting rid of the coaches who help teachers turn new technology into great lessons for students. Teachers are not happy about it.

And I've got the moving stories of former foster youth who had to overcome a lot of obstacles to graduate from high school. They were at the Capitol this week to advocate for a bill they hope will make things a little easier for those coming behind them. As it stands, foster youth in Colorado have four-year graduation rates far below other students who also face a lot of instability, like homeless youth and those from migrant families.

Plus, Englewood schools will be closed Monday as their teachers participate in a day of action for more school funding, and teachers in Pueblo are talking about striking after the school board narrowly turned down pay raises.

Read on.

– Erica Meltzer, bureau chief

RETURN Antwan Wilson is back in Denver, working as a consultant for the district, after being forced to resign his job as chancellor in Washington, D.C. Wilson is a former assistant superintendent and a former principal who oversaw the closure of Montbello High School. Chalkbeat

NO NOTICE The Adams 14 school board added a surprise item to their agenda this week: a raise for their superintendent during a challenging year when community members are pushing back against changes. Chalkbeat

OUT OF REACH Youth in foster care in Colorado graduate from high school at a rate that’s abysmal — and falling. When state officials asked some of those teenagers how they could help, one of the main things they heard was, let us stay in our schools, even if we can’t stay in our homes. A bill moving through the Colorado General Assembly would help them do just that. Chalkbeat

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TECH SUPPORT The coaches who help Aurora teachers turn new technology into engaging lessons are going away in the district’s 2018-19 budget plan. District officials say teachers will still get help, just in a different form. But the decision is causing an uproar among teachers, who say this will make it harder to take advantage of $20 million in new technology paid for through a voter-approved bond. Chalkbeat

WALKOUT Englewood schools will be closed on Monday as a large number of teachers plan to walk out in support of greater school funding. The Colorado Education Association has called for a day of action on Monday. It’s not clear yet whether other districts will close. 9 News

STRIKE THREAT The Pueblo Education Association is threatening to strike after the school board there voted down a recommendation for a pay increase in a narrow 3-2 decision. Make sure to click through for the photo of teachers and paraprofessionals reacting to the vote. Pueblo Chieftain

HOMEWARD BOUND? Denver Public Schools is partnering with Landed to provide down payment assistance to teachers. The union president called it a “PR, public relations approach to a very serious issue.” ABC 7

SPACE RACE Three students from the Cherry Creek district could have their recipes included in the next mission to the International Space Station. CBS 4

APPLIED MATH Students at Loveland High School are building a tiny home for a homeless person as part of the Geometry in Construction program. The program, which, as the name indicates, combines math and construction skills, started in Loveland and soon will be in 500 schools around the country. Reporter-Herald

HEAR NO EVIL Investigators and parents are wondering why a teacher didn’t report a threat that a student made against the school in Elbert. Fox 31