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News Release- State board approves innovation zone for Aurora Public Schools

May 12, 2016

State Board approves innovation zone for Aurora Public Schools

The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on May 11 and 12. Meeting highlights include:

Board approves innovation zone for Aurora Public Schools

The state board approved Aurora Public Schools’ application to create an Innovation Zone for Paris Elementary School, Crawford Elementary School, Boston K-8, Aurora Central High School and Aurora West College Preparatory Academy.  The Innovation Zone application came to the state board under the state’s innovation laws.

The board had additional questions for the district because one of the schools, Aurora Central High School, is in its fifth year with a Priority Improvement rating, and will be required to take action directed by the state board by June 30, 2017.

Early Literacy Grants Awarded

The state board unanimously approved the staff’s recommendation to award $3 million in early literacy grants to 22 elementary schools throughout the state.  In addition, approximately $1 million of the total $4 million annual appropriation for the early literacy grants will be provided to 22 schools awarded last year to help ensure sustainability of their programs.  The grants may be used to purchase instructional materials, consulting from literacy experts, coaching, professional development and assessment materials. 

Reporting educator effectiveness ratings

The state board directed CDE staff to begin public reporting of three educator effectiveness metrics later this year.  Data on all 100 educator effectiveness metrics gathered and analyzed by the state will continue to be provided to districts, however, only three metrics will be reported publicly. The three metrics will focus on:

  1. the increase in effectiveness of educators,
  2. correlations between educators’ performance evaluation ratings and student performance outcomes, and
  3. the equitable distribution of effective educators.

Current SBE rules require public reporting of educator ratings in 2015, however, CDE staff received significant feedback from superintendents who advocated for postponing the public release of educator effectiveness data.

Rules adopted for bullying prevention and education grant program

After approving several amendments, the board adopted the proposed rules for the bullying prevention and education grant program.  The program was created by the legislature in 2011, but rules were not required until funding was available.  Proposition BB authorized funding from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund beginning in January 2016.  The grant program will allow CDE to award schools and groups of schools with one- to three-year grants to implement evidence-based bullying prevention programs.

Outstanding educators and students recognized

The state board recognized the following online and blended-learning educators for their outstanding impact on student achievement:

  • Mauri Capps, school counselor, Voyager Online Program in Littleton Public Schools
  • Mari Hobkirk, teacher, Jeffco's 21st Century Virtual Academy
  • Jill Pellegrini, teacher, Springs Studio for Academic Excellence

The board honored the following winners of  CDE’s Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education art contest titled, “I Am a Student of Culture.”  The following students were recognized:

  • K-5 Winner: Jocelyn McCarthy, a kindergartener at Global Village in Douglas County School District
  • 6-8 Winner: Saskia Dimberg, and 8th grade student at Morey Middle School in Denver Public Schools
  • 9-12 Winner: Martin Zapata, a 10th grade student at Pinnacle Charter School in Thornton

Lastly, the board honored Patrick Kilcullen, priority programs coordinator for St. Vrain Valley School District’s Learning Services Center.  Mr. Kilcullen was selected as the distinguished administrator by the Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education.

In other action, the board approved:

  • The University of Northern Colorado’s request for approval of a world languages endorsement program for teachers.
  • The notice of rulemaking for rules for the administration of the healthy beverages policy.  The proposed changes in rules will align state rules with federal nutrition regulations. 

Following the discussion, staff will determine a schedule.