Weekend Reads

Monday Churn: Summer season reading

Daily Churn logoInteresting reads

Now that we’ve entered the summer season for education news, we will not be publishing a Churn every day. When we do, we will include links to interesting education stories from around the nation as part of the package. We know how you count on a frequent fix of edu-news. Here’s what we culled from late last week and over the weekend:


  • Union, NAACP try to halt NYC school closure plans. Gotham Schools
  • What’s behind Bloomberg’s hardline teacher-layoff stance? NY Times
  • Chicago principals get budgets that may force layoffs. Catalyst
  • Urban Catholic schools are closing at same time need grows. NY Times
  • This isn’t the 60s: ROTC booming on campuses. L.A. Times
  • California school funding analysis finds disparity. California Watch
  • Legislative action may save Las Vegas teaching jobs. Review-Journal
  • Florida looks to rein in for-profit colleges. Miami Herald
  • Miami-Dade, Broward compete with charters for students. Broward Bulldog
  • Nev., Tenn., latest to pass laws altering teaching profession? Huffington Post

What’s churning:

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education Friday was briefed on changes in top management at the Department of Higher Education, including the departure of Chief Academic Officer Cheryl Lovell, and approved allocation of state financial aid for the 2011-12 school year, an exercise in spreading about the same amount of money among more eligible students. Story

Compelling commentary on DPS graduation-proficiency gap

Read this newly-posted piece by Alexander Ooms from our opinion and commentary blog about the pervasive gap between graduation rates and academic proficiency in Denver Public Schools.

What’s on tap:

Some bills passed by the legislature are important and many are not, but that doesn’t mean politicians can’t get some mileage out of turning both kinds of bills into laws. Gov. John Hickenlooper is hopping all over the state this week, signing bills in legislators’ hometowns, speaking at a couple of conventions and promoting various economic development efforts. Among education bills he’ll sign are:

  • Senate Bill 11-265, the Mesa State College name change (first thing Monday morning at the college)
  • House Bill 11-1301, the higher ed financial flexibility bill (Tuesday afternoon in Colorado Springs)
  • Senate Bill 11-230, the school finance act, and House Bill 11-1277, streamlining some school district reporting requirements (midafternoon Thursday at the Salida schools headquarters)
  • Senate Bill 11-204, clarifying the missions of CSU-Pueblo and CU-Colorado Springs (first thing Friday at the CSU-Pueblo library)
  • Senate Bill 11-173, a minor school safety measure (later Friday morning at Rock Canyon High School in Douglas County)


The Denver school board has a special session scheduled at 4:30 p.m. for public comment on the budget, reports from community engagement committees and to hear staff recommendations for new schools. The meeting will be at district headquarters, 900 Grant St. Agenda


The Douglas County school board will convene at 5 p.m. at district headquarters, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock.

The Aurora school board meets at 6 p.m. at the Educational Services Center, 1085 Peoria St.


The State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education has a work session starting at a.m. and a regular meeting convening at 3 p.m. The sessions will be at system headquarters, 9101 E. Lowry Blvd. Agendas for work session & meeting

The State Board of Education meets from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Department of Education, 201 E. Colfax Ave. Members will devote most of the morning to draft regulations for implementing the educator effectiveness law and will consider three DPS innovations schools applications in the afternoon. Agenda

The St. Vrain Valley school board meets at 7 p.m. at the
Educational Services Center, 395 South Pratt Parkway, Longmont.


The University of Northern Colorado board of trustees is scheduled to meet. Meeting details haven’t yet been posted.

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

reading list

Weekend Reads: ‘Love and love hard,’ a KIPP Tulsa teacher tells us all

PHOTO: Caroline Bauman
  • New Haven’s schools chief has fallen out of favor after seven years there, and now he’s looking to leave. (N.H. Independent)
  • The KIPP charter network urged its schools to act after Terence Crutcher, a KIPP dad, was killed by police in Tulsa. (Chalkbeat)
  • What that action looked like at KIPP Tulsa College Prep, where at least 10 students are related to Crutcher. (Tulsa World)
  • A teacher at the school went viral after sharing her experiences talking to students — and her advice to “love and love hard.” (Facebook)
  • Great teachers are experts at having hard conversations. Here’s their advice to America. (Chalkbeat)
  • One of Nevada’s wealthiest women is also the state’s glamorous board of education president. (Pacific Standard)
  • Two seasoned education policy wonks are leading Donald Trump’s education transition planning. (Politics K-12)
  • Why is Tennessee’s first single-sex charter school thriving? Not for the reason you might think. (The Atlantic)
  • Efforts are underway to improve black students’ experience at a diverse school where they still come out behind. (Bloomberg)