By Nate Faflick
Colorado students and teachers seek closure while finishing an unprecedented school year that brought us drive-through graduation ceremonies, funding deficits at the state legislature, and a myriad of other complex challenges throughout the education system. As the novel coronavirus has continued; Colorado teachers and school leaders have stepped up to the challenges and we’re so grateful for their adaptability, sacrifice and leadership throughout these challenging times. Many questions remain for the potential to return to school in the fall, but we now have the opportunity to re-think and restructure education.
Webinar Recap: Schooling in the Era of Covid-19 – School Boards and Budget Decisions
A+ Colorado joined with Dr. Marguerite Roza from the Georgetown Edunomics lab; Susan Miller, Treasurer, Jefferson County Board of Education; Angela Cobián, Treasurer, Denver Public School Board of Education; and Pat Mestas, Primero School District Board of Education to take a deep dive into School Board District Budget Decision Making. Watch a recording of the webinar here; and don’t forget to check-out the schooling in the era of COVID-19 playlist on the A+ Colorado YouTube page.
Aurora Public Schools is wrapping up phase two of their Blueprint APS work. The most recent phase involved regional design teams made up of APS staff (school leaders, teachers, district staff) community members and parents to come up with regional specializations for seven identified regions in the district. This week they presented the final recommendations to the APS Board who will vote on them June 9th. Implementation of the specializations- ranging from STEAM to business management- will focus on the development of specialization focused magnet schools in each region with aligned opportunities integrated into boundary schools.
Data Quality Campaign – Accountability Update
The Data Quality Campaign recently convened advocates from Colorado, Kentucky, and Tennessee to discuss what is top of mind for them as they think about the data that will be critical to inform their state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Key themes and questions that came up during the conversation included accountability, remote learning, indicators of the climate within the ecosystem, and testing in the fall.
A+ Colorado and DFER had the opportunity to speak to two students, Cielo Valdez Xolot and Rachel Kelly, and Sam Battan from Colorado Youth Congress (CYC). Cielo and Rachel spoke about the work they continue to do with CYC and how their work shifted to virtual platforms because of COVID-19. We want to thank Cielo, Rachel, and Sam for their time and their leadership. If you want to learn more about CYC you can visit their website, https://coyouthcongress.org/.
Colorado Department of Education
The Colorado Department of Education is Planning for the 20/21 School Year and they ‘re seeking input for their Framework and Toolkit. Make your voice heard, and fill out the form here.
Colorado Department of Education is extending the invitation to individuals with culture and linguistically diverse experience and knowledge to participate in offsite reviews of teacher preparation programs from Institutes of Higher Education and alternative licensure programs as they align to the English Learner standards. Fill out the peer review registration here.
Denver Public Schools
In Denver Public Schools, the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) is made up of teachers, school administrators, parents and staff. They’ve been convening to discuss the upcoming budget challenges and will be holding their final meeting on May 29th. Submit your public comment here.
There is one more in-person public comment opportunity with the Denver Public Schools, School Performance Framework committee. June 11th is the final opportunity to provide your comment as the committee will be moving forward with a vote. Submit your comment before the committee votes on recommendations.
Schooling in the era of COVID-19 Playlist
We’ve recently compiled our “Schooling in the Era of COVID-19” webinar series into 1 playlist on YouTube. Watch for researchers, advocates and stakeholders discussing critical topics including; district budgeting & ensuring successful transitions. Find the playlist here.
COVID-19 Innovation Fund
COVID-19 has had a drastic impact throughout the state on schools, students and teachers. As they’ve rapidly adjusted to remote learning environments, teachers and school leaders have demonstrated tremendous adaptability and leadership. The Gates Family Foundation has created the COVID-19 Innovation Fund which is dedicated to supporting innovative learning during these unprecedented times. Read more about the fund here.
We’ve been receiving a lot of great questions from our readers about how Colorado school districts are adapting to remote teaching. As we continue to dig into the work that districts are doing, what would you be most interested in learning more about?
Nate Faflick, Communications and Development Associate
Go-to quarantine meal: Peanut Butter Tacos
Favorite spot in Colorado during the summer: Campgrounds outside of Buena Vista
Favorite online concert or recording: Secret Sky Festival – San Holo performance
Want A+ Colorado news delivered to your inbox? Subscribe!