While the State of the Union address failed to shine even a dim light on the state of education, remarks made two days later by the president about “vocational” being a “much better word than …
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While the State of the Union address failed to shine even a dim light on the state of education, remarks made two days later by the president about “vocational” being a “much better word than in many cases a community college” stirred a response from the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE). The response criticized the President’s use of “vocational,” stating that it is not a better word but rather one that is outdated. The ACTE explained the preferred term, “career and technical education” is actually used in federal and state laws and by the U.S. Department of Education.
Data from the 2017 Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) graduation and dropout rate study showed that 3,749 seniors graduated from DPS schools last spring, making it the largest graduating class in the district’s history.
In addition, Denver Public Schools (DPS) statistics showed students are grinding it out to graduation even if that means extending their time in school beyond the traditional four-year time frame. One of the programs that has propelled the district’s 75 percent, five-year graduation rate is Accelerating Students through Concurrent Enrollment (ASCENT). ASCENT, according to a Denver University fact sheet, “allows seniors to remain enrolled in high school for a fifth year consisting entirely of college classes, if they have met all of their high school graduation requirements, have taken 12 credit hours of college classes prior to the end of their senior year and are considered college/career ready.”
As Denver grows, the city is undergoing shifts in demographics and a major reduction of school-aged children in many neighborhoods. As a result, DPS began a pilot program in 2016 with the goal of creating more integrated schools. The pilot aimed to prioritize enrollment for students eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program (FRL), “an indicator of poverty” according to the district, in some high-performing, low-poverty schools. “Research shows that at whatever income level, all students benefit from being in diverse schools,” says DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, “that is true both academically and socially.”
After the district received positive feedback from the community regarding DPS’ Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative, more schools expressed interest in participating in this pilot. As a result, DPS opened priority seating at select schools during the 2018 School Choice process.
The Denver Green School (DGS) (6700 E. Virginia Ave.) marked seven seasons of community farming at the close of 2017. The unique DGS program provides learning opportunities for all grade levels as classes visit and work at the farm multiple times during the spring and fall. The farm produced 7,000 pounds of fresh food for the school cafeteria, the farm stand and donation programs. The farm also brought the community together by hosting over 200 volunteers and reached more than 1,500 families. Shares for the 2018 garden harvest are now on sale at sproutcityfarms.org. DGS will dig into another season down on the farm next month.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will host this year’s Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) (574 W. Sixth Ave.) Foundation’s annual fundraising event. The aptly named event, The Passport Dinner: Igniting Global Understanding, Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders, will kick off at 6:00p.m. on Thursday, April 26.
Denver Language School (451 Newport St.) sent three middle school students to compete at the second annual National Chinese Math, Science and Arts Competition. The competition, which was held in Utah this year, organized by College Board and the Confucius Institute, is designed to challenge elementary and middle school students to showcase their Chinese while competing in math, science and the arts. 67 schools from nine states competed in this year’s event.
Dr. Kristin Waters will be the next principal of George Washington High School (655 S. Monaco Pkwy.). Chosen from three finalists, Dr. Waters’ track record and proven leadership stood out. She most recently served as principal of Denver South High School where she had a hand in helping South improve ratings on the district’s School Performance Framework.
Dr. Waters also led the turnaround effort at Bruce Randolph School which was the lowest performing middle school in Colorado when she took the helm. Among notable achievements were a 25 point increase in reading progress, 97 percent of students earning college credits on their way to graduation and recognition by President Barack Obama in his 2011 State of the Union address.
Dr. Waters began her career in education as a classroom teacher in south central Los Angeles and has successfully held a number of leadership roles within DPS. While her current role as Chief Operating Officer of the Denver Scholarship Foundation has been fulfilling, she says she feels at home in a school. “I miss the day-to-day excitement of connecting with students and working with teachers.”
Camryn Torres, a 2015 graduate of Manual High School (1700 E. 28th Ave.) and current Howard University student, is taking a gap semester to travel the world with Denver-based, Up with People. In addition, five Manual seniors, Danne' Watkins, Kyler Stanford, Darsharee Farrow, Shabias Zepher and Nichole Burton have been accepted to travel with Up with People this summer. The nonprofit utilizes music and action to empower youth to be positive agents of change with a mission to build a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world. If you’re interested in learning more about Up with People, email Beyah Rasool at email@example.com.
The application deadline for Denver School of the Arts (DSA) (7111 Montview Blvd.) musicians interested in attending the Young Artist Seminar at the Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park June 19 through July 15, is March 15. Complete information can be found at rockyridge.org.
The East High School (1600 City Park Esplanade) Theatre Company will be performing Footloose Thursday, March 1 through Sunday, March 4 in the East High School Auditorium. Tickets for the spring musical are available at eastangels.seatyourself.biz.
The Mercury Café at 2199 California St. will host the East Jazz Combo and Angelaires on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:00p.m. For more information and tickets, visit mercurycafe.com/events.
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