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

December Newsletter: Keeping you informed about A+ Denver

Looking ahead

2013 Game Changer Nominations
It’s that time of year again! We are accepting nominations for anyone you think has been a game changer in public education during 2013 in Denver. Game changers are people at the school, district, or policy level that have impacted public education in Denver in a positive way in the last year.

Use the hashtag below on Facebook or Twitter to nominate someone or send us an email telling us why your nominee is a game changer. Our picks will be announced in January 2014.


2013 Annual Report

For a summary of 2013 impact and projects, read our annual report here:

A+ Denver 2013 Annual Report 

On the Front Burner
The DPS School Board will be updating, The Denver Plan after many years of needling by A+.  Look for updates in January about what strategic changes the district will be making.

Colorado Gives Day – Today! December, 10th

Do you enjoy reading our reports and attending our events? This year, A+ Denver is participating in Colorado Gives Day, sponsored by 1st Bank.  Please lend a hand by making a donation today!
A+ Denver believes that creating an engaged public to hold the DPS Board and Superintendent accountable for stated goals and sound policies will lead to increased student achievement.

What we’ve been up to lately

Start with the Facts 2013, Progress Report: Adequate is not Enough
In case you missed it, our second progress report on the state of DPS was released in November. The district is making remarkable progress, but we need to find ways to accelerate the progress of low-income students. Many of these kids face far greater hurdles than non low-income peers, but we argue that there are steps we can take to improve outcomes more rapidly.  Read Start with the Facts 2013, Progress Report: Adequate is not Enough for details on how low-income students are faring across the district compared to their non-low income peers. Both groups are improving, but at far different rates. [Note: the report includes a correction to Manual high school’s ACT score, which contained a typo]

Start with the Facts 2013: Adequate is not Enough

Recent Press Coverage

Dale Stephens, Uncollege
Dale Stephens, the Chief Educational Deviant of UnCollege led a discussion about challenging the traditional education path to college. He believes experiences like jobs and internships provide unique opportunities to actively engage in learning, which is the reason he founded his gap-year program UnCollege. We’d like to thank Donnell- Kay for bringing Dale to Denver, and everyone who attended the lively discussion. Check out our Facebook page for some of the pictures from the event.

Education Policy & Networking Event, Turnarounds in Colorado

The University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs and School of Education & Human Development hosted a panel discussion about school turnaround efforts in Colorado. It has been four years since the passage of the 2009 Education Accountability Act that mandates state intervention in chronically low-performing schools. Van Schoales participated on the panel and talked about the challenges turnarounds have faced in Colorado. In case you missed it, you can watch the charged discussion here.

A+ Denver has followed turnaround performance in Colorado closely. Read our reports from 2011 and2012.

Be sure to look out for our updated report on school turnarounds which will be released later this month.

The (really) hard work continues
In November A+ staff visited two turnaround schools in the Montbello neighborhood, DCIS Ford and Green Valley Elementary.

We had the privilege to meet with and observe two outstanding school leaders and their committed, talented teams. It was a reminder that teachers and principals are working around the clock to change outcomes for kids that have been falling through the cracks for years.

DCIS at Ford is an innovation school that focuses on international studies. Students investigate the world, recognize perspective, communicate ideas, and take action through in and out of the classroom. This is the first year of principal Ginger Conroy, who is working with a mostly new staff to tackle discipline, implement academic programs, and embed the international studies philosophy into learning.

The students at Green Valley Elementary have seen rising TCAP scores under the leadership of Keith Mills. The school has embedded a strong data-driven culture. GVE’s classrooms are set apart from those in many other schools by their expectation that students demonstrate their learning for their peers in a safe, structured environment.

Book Drive

Finally, if you have any new or used children’s books you would like to donate to the free library in the DHA waiting room, please contact Sari Levy.