Future of Schools

Wednesday Churn: Metro name change

Updated 2 p.m. – The trustees of Metro State College voted 5-2 today to change the college’s name to Denver State University.

It will require legislative approval to change the name officially, and Denver Democrats Sen. Mike Johnston and Rep. Crisanta Duran reportedly will introduce a bill to do that.

Metro is preparing to offer its first master’s degrees, and the name change also is seen as a way to raise the college’s image in general. (Get a full report on the trustee meeting from The Metropolitan student news service.)

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

The seven members of the State Board of Education will be busier today than a teacher with a 40-student classroom.

Their agenda includes two charter school appeals, a proposed rule requiring districts to notify parents when employees are arrested, a possibly precedent-setting innovation application from the Kit Carson district and an interesting but non-binding resolution urging school boards to do more with less.

Here’s the schedule:

10:30 a.m. – Hearing and decision on the appeal by the Lotus School for Excellence at Longmont of the St. Vrain Valley school board’s decision not to award a charter.

1:30 p.m. – Hearing and decision in the case of the Youth and Family Academy vs. the Pueblo City schools. The academy is an alternative education charter that serves high-risk students. It’s had a long-running dispute with the district and wants the board to order the district to give it a three-year renewal.

3:30 p.m. – Hearing and possible vote on a proposed regulation that would require schools to notify parents within 24 hours when an employee has been arrested or charged with any felony or any of several sex-related misdemeanors. This issue has been pushed by Chair Bob Schaffer, R-4th District, stemming from past notification controversies in the Poudre schools. Text of proposed regulation.

4 p.m. – The board will discuss and vote on the innovation application from the tiny Kit Carson district, which wants exemption for a variety of state rules, including some provisions of the educator effectiveness law. Application (part 1 and part 2); CDE staff recommendations.

No time specified – Colorado school districts are bracing for big budget cuts, and a proposed board resolution calls on them to be creative, saying, “Some of the standard structures and practices in place in many Colorado school district represent inefficient uses of tax dollars, as well as obstacles to secondary-school completion and increased academic achievement for all learners.”

The resolution continues, “The Colorado State Board of Education encourages Colorado’s local Boards of Education to implement cost efficiencies” and follow recent advice by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan “to improve the productivity of the education system through smart, innovative and courageous actions including, but not limited to” streamlined administration, competitive contracting, digital learning, enhanced education options and “performance-based compensation systems.” Full text.

The board gets to dial back a bit on Thursday, when adjournment is set for 1 p.m. and the agenda consists mostly of reports.

What else is on tap:

Douglas County school board members have scheduled a special meeting to begin at 7 p.m. at the district’s administration building in Castle Rock, 620 Wilcox St. School board members are expected to vote on a resolution directing district staff to explore putting a tax increase on the November ballot and Superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen will make a presentation on district choice options, including vouchers, though no vote is expected. Click here to check the agenda.

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

Good reads from elsewhere:

New tactic: NYC considers another option – turnaround, rather than shutdown – of failing schools. New York Times.

Using Youtube: Students at a Maryland high school post fight videos to draw attention to safety concerns. Washington Post.

Future of Schools

These 29 Indianapolis administrators could lose their jobs

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy

Indianapolis Public Schools has identified dozens of principals, deans and other administrators who could lose their jobs at the end of the year, many because of the decision to close high schools.

As the district pursues plans to close three of its seven high schools, the superintendent recommended that the board cancel the contracts of 29 administrators effective July 1.

The list of administrators includes two high school principals and several assistant principals and deans whose contracts could be canceled because of the high school closing plan. Several high school athletic directors could also have their contracts canceled because the district is changing the job description and requirements for those positions, according to IPS spokesperson Carrie Cline Black.

They were all invited to apply to other open positions in the district, but the district is canceling their contracts because state law requires districts to notify certain administrators by March 1 if their contracts will not be renewed, according to Black.

The recommendation, which is included in the district’s monthly personnel report, is not entirely surprising, since the district anticipated having fewer administrators once it consolidates campuses. But the district had not previously revealed which staff members could lose their positions.

This is just the latest sign of the upheaval caused by the high school closings. Hundreds of high school teachers were required to reapply for their jobs, and students were required to select new high school programs for next year.

Here is the full list of staffers the superintendent recommended canceling contracts for:

Arlington High School

  • Debra Barlowe, dean
  • Arthur Dumas, dean
  • David Tuttle, assistant principal
  • Debra Ward, assistant principal
  • Danny Wilson, athletic director

Arsenal Technical High School

  • Anne Deckard, dean
  • Sheldon Floyd, assistant principal
  • Steven Glenn, dean
  • Thomas Starnes, athletic director
  • Roslyn Stradford, assistant principal
  • Lisa Williams, dean

Broad Ripple High School

  • John Edge, assistant principal
  • Robert Moses, interim assistant principal
  • Rachel Norwood, magnet coordinator
  • Vickie Winslow, dean

Crispus Attucks High School

  • Kenneth Roseman, athletic director
  • Joshua Varno, athletic director

George Washington High School

  • Emily Butler, principal
  • Zachary Ervin, dean
  • Patrick Kennison, assistant principal
  • Charonda Woods, assistant principal

Northwest Community High School

  • Moshfilay Anderson, athletic director
  • Eileen Bell, assistant principal
  • Michelle Brittain-Watts, principal
  • Martha Lince, dean
  • Alan Smith, assistant principal
  • Albert Young, dean

Positive Supports Academy

  • Kevin Brown, dean

Shortridge High School

  • Kathy Langdon, athletic director

What do you think?

Detroiters react with praise — and fury — as district changes how it will decide who gets into Cass Tech and Renaissance

PHOTO: DPSCD
A student wearing a Renaissance High School t-shirt competes in a robotics competition.

Reaction was swift and strong last week when Chalkbeat reported that Detroit’s main school district is changing the way students are admitted to Cass Technical High School, Renaissance High School and two other selective schools.

Some parents, teachers, students and members of the schools’ devoted alumni associations praised the district’s decision to reduce the role of testing in admissions decisions. But others expressed anger and concern about how the changes will affect the schools and how decisions about the changes were made.

Instead of basing admissions decisions primarily on the results of a single exam, the district will this year turn the process over to an admissions team comprised of teachers and staff from the schools, as well as administrators in the district’s central office. They will use a score card to decide admissions with just 40 percent of a student’s score coming from the high school placement exam. The rest of the points will come from grades, essays and letters of recommendations. Students currently enrolled in the district will get 10 bonus points that will give them an edge over students applying from charter and suburban schools.

The news turned into one of the most talked about stories on our site this year — and readers’ reactions ran the gamut. Read some of what our readers had to say below.

Some thought the change was problematic:


Others applauded the changes:




A current Cass Tech teacher said she agreed the admissions process needed to change, but was concerned that the district did not ask for her input on the new system:

How do you feel about the new admissions process? Tell us below in the comments or weigh on on Facebook or Twitter.