Colorado

Briefs: Asp joining CDE

Elliott Asp, currently an assistant superintendent in the Cherry Creek schools, is joining the Colorado Department of Education as a special assistant to Commissioner Robert Hammond.

An assessment specialist, Asp is retiring as Cherry Creek’s assistant superintendent for performance improvement. He previously held a similar position in Douglas County and also has worked in Aurora and Littleton.

Asp will work on projects related to assessment, accountability, educator effectiveness and the Colorado Growth Model, according to a CDE statement.

A well-known figure in education circles, Asp has served on numerous education committees and task forces. He begins part-time work later this month.

→ Colorado is above average in the quality of its education data systems, according to the Data Quality Campaign, a Washington-based group that advocates for improved and usable state and school data systems. The campaign issues an annual state-by-state report.

The state meets seven of 10 the “actions to ensure effective data use” that the campaign uses to make its ratings. Colorado met six of the standards in 2011. Only 10 states meet eight or nine of the standards; no state meets all 10.

The major conclusion of the group’s 2012 report is that while states have improved data gathering and data systems, much work remains to be done on dissemination and sharing of data and in training educators how to use data to improve student academic performance.

Read the summary of the national report, see a snapshot of Colorado’s results and get details on Colorado.

→ What does it mean to be ready for college? The Partnership for Assessment of College and Careers, the multi-state testing group to which Colorado has hitched its wagon, recently issued its policy for part of what that means.

What PARCC decides is important because Colorado, for now, is committed to using the group’s tests starting in 2015, replacing the current TCAP system. The testing system will have five achievement levels. The policy adopted by the group earlier this month states that students who perform at level 4 in English and math will have a 75 percent probability of earning a C or higher grade in their first college-level English and math classes.

The actual scores needed to attain a level 4 remain to be determined as the tests are still under development. Get more details in this news release.

Colorado’s representatives to PARCC, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and education Commissioner Robert Hammond, voted to adopt the “College- and Career-Ready Determination” policy.

→ Speaking of testing, 16 Colorado high school students recorded perfect 36 scores on the ACT test in 2011-12 and were honored last week by the State Board of Education. All the students are from Front Range districts, and two are from charter schools. See the full list here.

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.


For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.


Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.