Movers and shakers

Former Colorado speaker Terrance Carroll to work for Denver Public Schools

Former Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll conducts his last session in 2010. (Denver Post)

Terrance Carroll, a former Colorado lawmaker who served as the state’s first African-American speaker of the House will join Denver Public Schools as a senior official overseeing the district’s legal, communications, and public affairs departments.

Carroll has been working as an attorney with the Denver firm Butler Snow. He represented the northeast part of the city as a Democratic state representative from 2003 to 2011, when he left the legislature because he was term-limited. While in office, Carroll co-sponsored a bill that created “innovation schools,” which are district-run schools with charter-like flexibilities.

Carroll serves on the boards of Metropolitan State University, the National Western Stock Show, and the Downtown Denver Partnership, according to a district press release. In 2010, he was named one of Denver’s 50 most influential people by 5280 magazine.

Carroll will start on April 2 as the district’s chief legal and external affairs officer, a new position. Part of his job will be to take on the role currently filled by general counsel Jerome DeHerrera.

Carroll will be the second former speaker of the House working for Denver Public Schools. Former speaker Mark Ferrandino is the district’s chief financial officer.

Denver Public Schools will also get a new chief communications officer on April 2: Anna Alejo, a former television reporter who covered public education in the city for 16 years. Alejo left journalism to work in corporate communications and was most recently a communications consultant for technology companies, including those specializing in education technology.

Alejo is the Spanish-language spokesperson for the Denver Preschool Program and was recently co-chair of the pro-reform advocacy group A Plus Colorado, according to the district’s press release.

She will replace current communications chief Nancy Mitchell.

meet the candidates

These candidates are running for Detroit school board. Watch them introduce themselves.

Nine candidates are vying for two seats on Detroit's school board in November. Seven submitted photos.

One candidate tells of a childhood in a house without heat.

Another describes the two-hour commute he made to high school every day to build a future that would one day enable him to give back to Detroit.

A third says her work as a student activist inspired her to run for school board as a recent high school grad.

These candidates are among nine people vying for two seats up for grabs on Detroit’s seven-member school board on Nov. 6. That includes one incumbent and many graduates of the district.

Chalkbeat is partnering with Citizen Detroit to present a school board candidate forum Thursday, Sept. 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at IBEW Local 58, 1358 Abbott St., Detroit.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet each candidate and ask questions in a speed-dating format.

In anticipation of that event, Citizen Detroit invited each of the candidates to make a short video introducing themselves to voters. Seven candidates made videos.

Watch them here:

School safety

Report lists litany of failings over police in Chicago schools

PHOTO: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Police officers stand alongside Lake Shore Drive in August as protesters decry violence and lack of investment in African-American neighborhoods and schools

The Chicago Police Department doesn’t adequately screen and train the officers it assigns to Chicago Public Schools, and their roles in schools are poorly defined, according to a sharply critical report released today by the Office of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.

The report lists a litany of failings, including basic administration: There is no current agreement between the police department and the district governing the deployment of school resource officers, or SROs, and neither the schools nor the police even have a current list of the officers working in schools this year.

The inspector general’s report also mentions several sets of SRO resources and best practices created and endorsed by the federal government, then notes that Chicago hasn’t adopted any of them. “CPD’s current lack of guidance and structure for SROs amplifies community concerns and underscores the high probability that students are unnecessarily becoming involved in the criminal justice system, despite the availability of alternate solutions,” says the report.

Chalkbeat reported in August about incidents in which SROs used batons and tasers on students while intervening in routine disciplinary matters.

Scrutiny of SROs is nothing new, and is part of the broader CPD consent decree brokered this week between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. That agreement calls for better training and vetting of SROs, as well as a clearer delineation of their roles on campuses—including a prohibition against participating in routine school discipline — beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

Read more: How the police consent decree could impact Chicago schools

But the report from Ferguson’s office says that the consent decree doesn’t go far enough. It chastises police for not pledging to include the community in the creation of its agreement with the school district, nor in the establishment of hiring guidelines; and for not creating a plan for evaluating SROs’ performance, among other recommendations. In addition, the report criticizes the police department for delaying the reforms until the 2019-20 school year. A draft of the inspector general’s report was given to the police department in early August in hopes that some of the issues could be resolved in time for the school year that began last week. The police department asked for an extension for its reply.