Volume 2 Issue 3

Colorado’s Testing Machine: Too Many Moving Parts

Student assessments in Colorado’s public schools are money machines for vendors. Taken
together they are a Rube Goldberg creation. Concern about over testing has been around for awhile. But with new standardized tests coming in 2015, parents, teachers, and students have good reason to pay special attention.

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Community Voice

Editorials from community members. Letters are printed at the discretion of the editorand may be edited for length, clarity, and style. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors on this forum do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of The Jeffco Observer or its staff.

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Board Begins Conversation About Standards, Testing and Curriculum

Common Core has reached a high level of political potency. Before a vote on it, Jeffco board members heard presentations from and interacted with prominent figures on different sides of the Common Core debate. Much of the discussion centered on the quality of the standards themselves, while neglecting the potentially weightier issues surrounding the locus of control and accountability.

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Who is Knocking on Doors in Jefferson County?

National union employees were in Jeffco this summer knocking on doors and spreading the message among their members that the school board majority is “hostile” to their priorities. Last year, Jefferson County residents dared to elect three new members to the Board of Education who were not the union’s preferred candidates.

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Small things done with great love matter

Tutoring contributes to the overall well being of each child who is able to attend sessions by helping them cross language barriers, deal with learning disabilities, and tackle other hindrances. The tutor is rewarded for contributing for student success with smiles and affection from the student.

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$2 Million to Help 300 More Third Graders Read Proficiently

For nearly a decade in Jeffco, 20 percent of third graders have not scored at the proficient
level in reading each year; that is, about 1200 students per year move on to fourth grade without the skills necessary for reading proficiency. The Board of Education for Jeffco Public Schools approved a request for an additional $2 million to improve primary literacy in 2014–2015. 

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What is an IEP and How Should You Use It?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is required by federal statute for students with special needs in order to understand what accommodation, modifications, special education support and educational goals a specific child needs. The IEP process can be tedious, yet if you are equipped with the proper tools, it is a maze that can be navigated.

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Blended Learning Transformative

Blended learning takes place in a traditional school building and boosts the effectiveness of education while it transforms the learning experience for students. It combines teacher-led
instruction with high-quality digital educational content, which is customized to a student’s needs and abilities. 

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Jeffco Adds Math Expressions to Approved Curricula

After a decade, math scores have not grown as expected. In December 2013, the new Jeffco board unanimously set higher achievement goals. Among the areas addressed, the board set the expectation that 180 more Jeffco fourth graders should be proficient or advanced in math each year. Last year 77 percent of fourth graders were proficient or above; the new board goal is 80 percent. A new curriculum is also part of the effort to increase achievement in math.

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School Board’s Constitutional Responsibility: Curriculum

Colorado Constitution, Article 9, Section 15 explicitly gives control of instruction to local school boards. This is what is meant by local control. Sitting a curriculum review committee is a chance to expand community engagement. Community members will have an opportunity to learn what is taught in our schools. This should be an exciting opportunity.

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Ninety Nine Percent of Teachers Get Raises

Wrapping up what has been an unusually long negotiations process, the Jeffco Board of
Education approved the allocation of $18.2 million in employee compensation increases.
Initial recommendations from last year’s summit had set the compensation increase
pool at $11.7 million. During the spring budget cycle, the new board increased the dollars
available to $18.2 million.

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