K-12 Education

NEWS
4:38 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

District 51 Buys Food Truck To Feed Needy Students

A design of what District 51's new food truck might look like.
Credit District 51

In Mesa County, 42 percent of children qualify for free or reduced lunch.  

During the summer, many of these same kids qualify for a meal program when school is out. 

Usually Mesa Valley School District 51 offers this program at four or five schools, but this year there’s only enough funding to have it at two.

However, this summer the district plans on bringing meals to some students.

With the help of a $50,000 grant from the Western Colorado Community Foundation it purchased a food truck from Denver. 

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NEWS
5:25 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Local Schools Bring In Experts To Teach Kids About Money

Autumn Lettau with NuVista Federal Credit Union teaches sixth-graders at Centennial Middle School in Montrose, Colo about financial literacy.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Many states require students be taught financial literacy. However, Colorado is one of the few that also tests on it. To help students learn, some schools are bringing outside experts into the classroom. 

Six teams of students are playing a quiz game similar to Jeopardy. The purpose of the game is to gauge the financial literacy of sixth-graders who just completed a weeklong course on the topic. 

"I wish that somebody had taught me this when I was this age,"Autumn Lettau with NuVista Federal Credit Union says.

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NEWS
11:02 am
Fri May 1, 2015

School Violence Immunity Bill Clears Committee Vote

Colorado General Assembly

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 7:40 am

A measure to eliminate immunity for public schools for school shootings, death, sexual assaults and other series injuries that happen to students on school grounds cleared the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. It passed on a vote of 10-3.

Currently public schools are not liable. Legislative leaders in both parties are sponsoring the change, spurred in part by the 2013 death of Claire Davis. She attended Arapahoe High School in Littleton when a fellow student shot and killed her before turning the gun on himself.

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NEWS
9:48 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Current, Former Colorado Govs. Make A Pitch For School Testing

Gov. John Hickenlooper joined by former Democratic Governor Roy Romer and Republican Governor Bill Owens. They spoke about the importance of standardized tests in schools as the legislature debates the issue.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 3:51 pm

Two former governors, Roy Romer and Bill Owens, joined current Gov. John Hickenlooper at the state capitol to urge lawmakers not to go too far in reducing the numbers of standardized assessments school children take. This comes as legislators are debating several bills to lower the number of exams.

Republican Bill Owens said it's important to have standards and test against those standards to see if students are learning what they should, and to evaluate schools and teachers.

"Our friends from the left and the right for differing reasons, don't want to test, don't want to measure, don't want to have accountability," said Owens. "This is stunning to me."

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AGRICULTURE
4:25 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Bill For Colorado Farm-To-School Expansion Takes A Small Step

A worker prepares school lunch at the Greeley 6 school district's centralized processing facility. Greeley 6 is able to take advantage of locally available foods with the help of the facility.
Jeremy West

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 3:25 pm

A bill to expand farm-to-school programs in Colorado initially cleared the state House Tuesday, but it still faces objections from some lawmakers who call it unnecessary.

House Bill 1088 [.pdf] would set up grants to help farms and ranches meet federal safety standards to they could sell their locally produced food to schools.

"This program boosts our economy, it creates jobs, and we have schools right now who want to buy more local food from our farmers and the supply chain does not exist," said bill sponsor Representative Faith Winter (D-Westminster).

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NEWS
3:01 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Anti-Test 'Opt-Out' Movement Makes A Wave In New York State

A school bus passes a sign encouraging parents to have their children opt out of state tests in Rotterdam, N.Y.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 7:25 am

Across New York state this week, some students are refusing to take a test, and they're not getting punished for it. The test is a Common Core-aligned, federally mandated exam, and students, parents and educators are part of what they're calling the opt-out movement.

Opt-outs made news last week in several states: Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, to name a few. The objections are similar everywhere. But no state is posting numbers like New York.

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NEWS
5:39 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Vision To Close North Fork Classrooms

Vision Charter Academy won't offer classes at its Paonia campus next school year.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Vision Charter Academy, a public charter school with three campuses in Delta County, won't offer classes at its North Fork campus next school year.  

Parents of students at Vision’s school in Paonia received the news Thursday via email.

Teri Kinkade the executive director of Vision Charter Academy wrote the letter.

In her email, Kinkade tells parents Vision’s board met earlier this week and decided to no longer offer classes at its Paonia location.

She cites a 'lack of interest' and 'declining enrollment' as reasons for the board’s decision.

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EDUCATION
10:48 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Real-World Math: A Bit Of Trig And Hay For The Horses

With the math done, student Kendall Hood works the plasma cutter.
Jenny Brundin Colorado Public Radio

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 4:52 pm

Building a giant steel bale feeder is hard. Try it.

Problem No. 1: Unless you live in ranch country, you probably don't even know what it's supposed to look like — regardless of whether you can build one.

Problem No. 2: Arc welding is involved.

Problem No. 3: Getting it right requires some serious math.

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ARTS
5:59 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Using Shakespeare To Combat Bullying In Colorado Schools

Actors Sarah Adler, left, Ben Griffin, center, and Bethany Talley perform "Twelfth Night" at Paonia Elementary School.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Bullying is still an ongoing issue and telling kids to be nice to each other isn't always enough. That's why educators are getting creative.

In Colorado, some schools are using Shakespeare to get kids talking about violence and bullying and what they can do to prevent. 

More than 120 students are sitting on the gymnasium floor of Paonia Elementary. 

These third through sixth graders are here to see a play. 

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NEWS
11:53 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Testing Reform Remains In A Holding Pattern At The Legislature

Gov. John Hickenlooper touting SB 215 alongside Senate Pres. Bill Cadman, Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, and Kelly Brough, the president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. The measure is now being reworked.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 11:05 am

On average students in Colorado classrooms take more than two-dozen assessments before they graduate, in some cases up to four times a year according to the Colorado Education Association. Critics say it actually means less time for overall learning.

A bipartisan measure aimed at reducing the number of tests Colorado public school students take remains in limbo at the state Legislature. The sponsors delayed the first hearing and don't know when it will be rescheduled – if at all.

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NEWS
1:09 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Testing Reform Bill Is Pulled At The Legislature

Colorado General Assembly

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:05 am

A bipartisan measure to reduce testing for students in Colorado's public schools is not proceeding as planned through the statehouse. Senate Bill 215 [.pdf] was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee Thursday. No longer, it was pulled from the calendar before the hearing.

"We just need to make sure we get the policy right," said state Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), a sponsor of the measure along with Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood).

The sponsors are unsure of when SB 215 will get a hearing. The bill would eliminate mandatory assessments in the 11 and 12th grade and reduce redundant tests in the earlier grades. It has been billed as the major school testing reform bill of the session.

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NEWS
3:57 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Why Some Schools Serve Local Food And Others Can't (Or Won't)

A lunch served by the Yarmouth, Maine, School Department on Sept. 26, 2014, featured Sloppy Joe's made with Maine beef and local beets, carrots, apples and potato salad. More than 80 percent of Maine schools said they served local foods in a survey conducted by the USDA.
U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 2:23 pm

For many years, if a public school district wanted to serve students apples or milk from local farmers, it could face all kinds of hurdles. Schools were locked into strict contracts with distributors, few of whom saw any reason to start bringing in local products. Those contracts also often precluded schools from working directly with local farmers.

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POLITICS
10:26 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Taking Stock Of Split Control At The 2015 Legislature's Mid-Point

Stephen Butler Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 9:46 am

State lawmakers are officially at the halfway point of the 2015 legislative session. What needs to be done before the end of the session? Lawmakers will need to pass a balanced budget, and along the way grapple with some hot-button issues such as school testing requirements and police reforms.

"Most of the big work is ahead of us, what happens for the first half is kind of getting ready for it," said Senate President Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs).

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NEWS
1:40 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Colorado Pushes For Concealed Guns In K-12 Schools

Colorado educators take part in a concealed carry course in Englewood, Colo., on Nov. 8. The course is open to all state school employees. Participants who complete the training are eligible to apply for a permit to carry a handgun.
MATTHEW STAVER Landov

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 5:42 am

Patrick Neville was a 15-year-old sophomore at Columbine High School in 1999. He was on his way to a fast food lunch when the shooting started.

Two students, armed with guns and pipe bombs, had stormed the Colorado school, on their way to killing one teacher and 12 students — some were Neville's friends.

Neville, now a Colorado state representative, says many of Columbine's teachers and faculty acted heroically that day.

But, he says, "I truly believe that had some of them had the legal authority to be armed, more of my friends might be with me today."

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HEALTH
5:08 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Preventing Suicide With A 'Contagion Of Strength'

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:32 am

For Whitney Bischoff, high school was tough. On the first day of her freshman year, a childhood friend committed suicide. Things weren't any better at home — her father died when she was 7 and her mom was an alcoholic with an abusive boyfriend.

She had a hard time making friends.

And when all the stress threatened to overwhelm her, she, too, considered suicide.

"I thought family was everything," Bischoff says. "I thought, if I didn't have family support – what am I going to do? Suicide seemed like the only way out."

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NEWS
3:14 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

When Pot Goes From Illegal To Recreational, Schools Face A Dilemma

Schools in Colorado are trying to find effective ways to teach the health effects of marijuana use. "When it's legal for your parents to smoke it or grow it," says one educator, "that changes the conversation."
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 9:21 am

Like many schools across Colorado, Arapahoe Ridge High School in Boulder has seen an increase in overall drug incidents since recreational marijuana became legal.

While public schools aren't required to report marijuana incidents separately from other drugs such as cocaine, evidence compiled by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News suggests more students are using marijuana.

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NEWS
8:06 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Hoops By Day, Hops By Night: This Phys Ed Teacher's Got A Secret Brew

When the homebrewing gets good, the teachers turn pro. Kegs of Line 51 beer fill an Oakland warehouse.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 7:10 am

Listen up, cub reporters. Lesson 1: Never miss an opportunity to catch a good story. I was doing important hop research at my local craft beer emporium, aka my bar.

"This red IPA is great. What is this again?" I asked the bartender.

"That's Line 51. From Oakland. The owner, P.T., does it part time. He has a day job." What's he do? I asked. "He's a schoolteacher."

Bingo! Secret teachers, you can't hide from this NPR Ed sleuth, no sir.

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NEWS
10:48 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Mesa County School District Tries To Combat Student Drug Use With Education

Cody Roark, left, and Nick Cunningham oversee Pathways, a new Mesa County Valley School District drug intervention program for students.
Credit Laura Palmisano

A year after recreational marijuana stores opened, Colorado is still trying to determine the impact on youth who aren't legally allowed to use pot.

Recently released data shows that in the last school year drug incidents in Colorado middle and high schools reached a ten-year high and certain districts standout in the data including the Mesa County Valley School District.

Mesa County District officials say they are trying to address the problem through more education. 

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NEWS
6:35 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Mesa County School District Cites Marijuana Legalization For Rise In Student Drug Cases

Last school year, Grand Junction High School reported 51 drugs cases to the state. The school had the highest number of drug incidents within Mesa County Valley School District 51 last year. It's also the largest school in the district.
Credit Laura Palmisano

A year after recreational marijuana stores opened, Colorado is still trying to determine the impact on youth who aren't legally allowed to use pot.

Recently released data shows that in the last school year drug incidents in Colorado middle and high schools reached a ten-year high and certain districts standout in the data.

Last year, Mesa County Valley School District 51 also reported more student drug cases than it had in the past ten-years.

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NEWS
10:24 am
Wed February 11, 2015

How Do You Talk To Students About Weed When It's Legal?

The hallways at Arapahoe Ridge High School in Boulder, Colo.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 9:34 am

Since Colorado has embraced legal retail marijuana sales, schools are grappling with the best way to discusses it in the classroom amid changing attitudes.

"When it's legal for your parents to smoke it or grow it, that changes the conversation," said Odette Edbrooke, the Health Education Coordinator for the Boulder Valley School District.

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