Can Colorado do a better job of sharing school report cards with parents? Data advocates say yes

Just as the Colorado State Board of Education is expected to approve the latest round of school quality ratings, a national organization is calling on all states to do a better job of providing this kind of information to parents and taxpayers.

By Nic GarciaChalkbeat

Just as the Colorado State Board of Education is expected to approve the latest round of school quality ratings, a national organization is calling on all states to do a better job of providing this kind of information to parents and taxpayers.

The Data Quality Campaign last week released a report highlighting states that are providing more and clearer data on its schools. Colorado, once known as a leader in collecting and sharing school data, was not among the all-star list.


Final Denver school board campaign finance reports show who brought in the most late money

The reports also showed the continued influence of independent groups seeking to sway the races.

By Melanie AsmarChalkbeat

Final campaign finance reports for this year’s hard-fought Denver school board elections are in, and they show a surge of late contributions to Angela Cobián, who was elected to represent southwest Denver and ended up bringing in more money than anyone else in the field.

The reports also showed the continued influence of independent groups seeking to sway the races. Groups that supported candidates who favor Denver Public Schools’ current direction raised and spent far more than groups that backed candidates looking to change things.


Denver Public Schools proposes changes to how elementary school boundaries work in two areas of the city — for different reasons

Elementary school boundaries in two different parts of Denver would change under a proposal that’s set to be among the first voted on later this month by a new school board.

Paraprofessional Bertha Finney works with a first grade student on a writing assignment at Goldrick Elementary School, Dec. 7, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; elementary school; education; goldrick elementary; learning; classroom;
Paraprofessional Bertha Finney works with a first grade student on a writing assignment at Goldrick Elementary School, Dec. 7, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Melanie AsmarChalkbeat

Elementary school boundaries in two different parts of Denver would change under a proposal that’s set to be among the first voted on later this month by a new school board.

It calls for students living in the Green Valley Ranch and Gateway neighborhoods in far northeast Denver to be part of two new enrollment zones, and students living in Five Points, Cole, Whittier and City Park West in north-central Denver to be part of another new zone.


Life in a child-care desert: How Elyria-Swansea is tackling a nationwide problem

Licensed child care — particularly for children 3 and younger — is hard to come by in this north Denver neighborhood.

By Ann Schimke and Yesenia Robles, Chalkbeat

Olga Montellano is kind, patient and doesn’t flinch when small children shout excitedly in her face.

On a recent afternoon, her calm demeanor was on display as she watched over her 3-year-old daughter and her next-door neighbor’s 3-year-old son as they frolicked on her front lawn in north Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.

When the ponytailed mother of four heard what sounded like gunshots a street over, she ushered the children onto the porch, past a giant reading nook she’d crafted from cardboard, and into the house.

Montellano has been taking care of kids in her home for five years, ever since her next-door neighbor got a job at a factory and needed someone to watch her older child, now a kindergartener. In late November, Montellano added a 2-year-old boy to the mix, the son of a friend who’d just landed an office-cleaning job.


Too tough, not tough enough: Denver’s complicated school rating system is under attack from all sides

Parents use the color-coded ratings to decide where to send their kids, which means the ratings have real-world consequences for enrollment and funding.

By Melanie Asmar, Chalkbeat

Denver Public Schools’ comprehensive and increasingly complex system for rating schools is facing criticism this year from leaders and advocates on different sides of the education policy debate.

Some say the system is making bad schools look good. Others say the opposite. Many complain that frequent changes to the School Performance Framework make excellence a moving target in a district that promotes school choice — and one in which parents use the color-coded ratings to decide where to send their kids.