These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.

Has Denver Reached the Peak or is it Starting the Climb?

It’s been over a year since I opined about Denver Public Schools’ strategic direction What Will Tom Do? and I thought it would be a good time to reflect. In particular, the recent elections are the perfect time to step back and think through the next stage of the work in Denver.  I congratulate all…

Continue Reading …


ELA Scores Hide the Gap: Give Us Reading and Writing Scores (Again)

by Peter Huidekoper Jr., Coordinator, Colorado Education Policy Fellowship Program, St. John’s College, New Mexico Remember the 3 R’s? Remember those days of yesteryear when our parents, grandparents, and other old fogeys thought it pretty important to be sure that, if nothing else, schools taught us reading, writing, and mathematics? Yes, writing.  Not the nebulous “language…

Continue Reading …


State and District Coalitions Recalibrating Our Definition of “Possible”

This past week I had the opportunity to visit with colleagues in Illinois, fresh off a state funding victory.  I was hosted by Advance Illinois, a member of the Coalition Support Network I’m working with.  This year, the coalitions they supported scored a crucial state funding victory in coalition with districts, community organizations, and state…

Continue Reading …


Denver’s Good But Is It That Good?

Reviewing the latest distribution of colors from the Denver Public Schools (DPS) release of the 2017 School Performance Framework (SPF), you would think that DPS made the biggest improvement of any school system in the history of American public education in just one year, where the district went from identifying 1 in 7 elementary schools…

Continue Reading …


A Parent’s Perspective: Learning Disabilities and ESSA in Colorado

By Nicola Frost, Understood.org Regional Field Manager, National Center for Learning Disabilities (ncld.org) My son has always been inquisitive and full of life. He loved to build structures out of recycled materials, playing with friends and asking “why”.  But in first grade his curiosity began to be replaced with fear.  He struggled to write his name,…

Continue Reading …


Learning from the Navy?

A few years ago, I had the privilege of spending a few days learning about the US Navy’s training programs which included 24 hours on the USS Stennis, one of ten Nimitz class aircraft carriers.  There is nothing like sitting on the deck of an aircraft carrier at 11 PM in total darkness and 10-…

Continue Reading …


How Do We Get “The Big Mo” in Aurora?

Recent events (and upcoming elections) have education leaders in Colorado asking: is there momentum in Aurora? What is “The Big Mo”? Some folks may have heard about the idea of “The Big Mo.”  It’s shorthand for a term in behavioral momentum theory that suggests success breeds success.  It’s the idea that when a campaign or…

Continue Reading …


Spinning Our Wheels: Are District Efforts the Key?

Colorado has been a leader on state education policy but we have little to show in terms of achievement improvement in spite of two decades of bipartisan support. More than 75% of Colorado’s jobs by 2020 will require some sort of post-secondary degree yet fewer than 23% of Colorado’s high school students are currently persisting…

Continue Reading …


False Positives? Moving Beyond Brenda and Eddie

Student test scores came out a few weeks ago and once again districts, media, and pundits (us included), made lists of schools and districts to watch. It seems too often these days, education reformers get ahead of themselves declaring victory (with a year of growth data) or nothing at all before we know whether most…

Continue Reading …


Beyond Family Engagement: Toward the “Open System”

For the past three years, I’ve worked at Denver Public Schools in the Office of Family and Community Engagement.  It has been an incredible experience and as I’ve transitioned to my new role as Senior Partner, Advocacy and Alliances at A+ Colorado, I’ve wanted  to reflect a bit more on my time and work.  …

Continue Reading …