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

Do Denver Schools Teach Kids to Write?

If we measure only one skill, it should be writing. A national commission from a decade ago Writing: A Ticket to Work… Or a Ticket Out surveyed America’s top 120 corporations and found that writing is a “threshold skill” for hiring and promotion in every industry.  Two-thirds of salaried employees have some writing responsibility. Half of these…

Continue Reading …


How to Slice the Summer Pie

By Sari Levy Summer break isn’t an American invention but it has come to feel as American as apple pie. Only, in the true American spirit, we eat it all in a single sitting.  Summer break’s origins (like Spring break’s) are  likely in ancient Greece, when it was too hot during the summer to concentrate.…

Continue Reading …


Opting into a Worthwhile Experiment

Twenty years ago, the introduction of charter schools changed Denver Public Schools more than any single policy since busing had done. Then, last month the Board said that schools should have to “opt-in” rather than “opt-out” of district supports like curriculum, school-based assessments, and professional development.   It’s nothing short of a paradigm shift. Not…

Continue Reading …


(In)Equality in Arts

By Sari Levy Over the spring semester, we’ve been visiting schools (both public and private) and classrooms to see their arts programs. Hardly our first foray into arts education (see our previous report on the subject) these visits do help us broaden our understanding of what schools – and their arts education– can look like.…

Continue Reading …


$1.64 Billion: Where Will It Go?

“School finance” and “resource allocation.”  Two phrases that are probably some of the least inspirational in all of education.  But now that DPS’ decentralization is the talk of the town, I’m curious what autonomy will mean for schools’ funding.   When push-comes-to-shove, the success of this shift to a decentralized model depends on whether school…

Continue Reading …


Another View on Grad Rates: Peter Huidekoper

Another View #131 Peter Huidekoper, Jr. June 10, 2015 Higher graduation rates? A word of caution before we celebrate In our state, the high school graduation statistics tell us little about what that degree means—in terms of a graduate’s knowledge and skills.  Last week’s 2014 Legislative Report on Remedial Education again makes that clear: (http://highered.colorado.gov/Publications/Reports/Remedial/FY2014/2014_Remedial_relJune03.pdf).…

Continue Reading …


Tilting toward Dystopia

Colorado’s 20-year record of steady (if slow) improvement may be dashed in coming weeks if political leaders do not stand up for accountability. We’re one of many states in the midst of a series of critical education policy battles that could send us back to a time when there was little information about the quality…

Continue Reading …


Reimagining the Yellow School Bus

The results of the first round of SchoolChoice are in for the 2015-2016 school year. SchoolChoice participation in Southwest Denver, with its two new shared enrollment boundaries, jumped dramatically from 67% last year to 91% this year. Yet, thousands of parents in the places with the worst schools still feel stuck because it is so…

Continue Reading …


Looking for the Forest through the Trees

By Sari Levy No one wants to be asked to defend testing. In Boulder, where I live, anti-testing fervor is almost as strong as the pro-organic-gardening-fervor. To prove their point, 84% of students at Boulder Valley High opted out of the last fall’s science and social studies testing. We are a small but typical cluster…

Continue Reading …


Another View: Peter Huidekoper

Another View #129                                                                                                     Peter Huidekoper, Jr. April 8, 2015 Evidence of success from the charter world – smaller high schools From “Denver and Aurora High Schools; Crisis and Opportunity”(A Plus Denver, 4/2013) “With the exception of DSST, we have had little success in creating high schools that are mission-driven toward a specific outcome (like…

Continue Reading …