Education briefs

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By Sal Christ

Columbine principal resigns to take job in Aurora
Three years after succeeding Frank DeAngelis as principal of Columbine High School, KC Somers resigned to take a position as a P-20 Learning Community Director with Aurora Public Schools.
In a resignation letter dated Sept. 8, Somers expressed “mixed emotions” about his decision to take on the new role, which will see him provide leadership and support for students, teachers and principals across the Aurora school district instead of just at an individual school.
“The potential of this position allows me an excellent opportunity to further impact and hone my skills as an educational leader, support many marginalized learners and continue to promote every student’s future success,” he wrote. “As you might imagine, deliberating over this decision has been an emotional process for me. I feel so blessed and privileged to lead and serve the Columbine community. We are a very special school with very special people whom I care for deeply. I am also very proud of the work that we’ve accomplished together over the past three years, and it is important to me to see this work continue.”
Somers’ resignation coincided with the appointment of Columbine’s athletic director, Scott Christy, as his interim replacement on Sept. 15.
According to Diana Wilson, Jeffco Public Schools spokeswoman, Christy was a natural choice for interim principal since he’s well-known around the Columbine community.
Somers became Columbine’s principal in 2014 after DeAngelis announced his retirement from education in August 2013 following a 35-year career at Columbine, including 18 years as principal. Somers was previously principal at Blue Heron Elementary and an assistant principal at Chatfield High School.

School board candidate forums to be held
Ahead of the November elections, Jeffco residents will have several opportunities to meet and hear from the five individuals running for three Jeffco school board seats at candidate forums across the county. During the forums, candidates will discuss their positions on issues currently affecting the school district and K-12 education, as well as take questions from members of the public. The forums are as follows:
Lakewood AAUW is sponsoring a school board candidate forum on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., at Holy Shepherd Church, 920 Kipling St. in Lakewood. Contact: Robin Durgin at robindurgin@gmail.com or Mary Wylie at  dnmwylie@gmail.com.
The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County and the Jefferson Unitarian Church Together Colorado Committee are co-sponsoring a candidate forum on Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at the Jefferson Unitarian Church, 14350 W. 32nd Ave. in Golden. Contact: jeffersonunitarian.org/events/candidate-forum-jeffco-school-board/ or e-mail  info@lwvjeffco.org.
The Arvada Chamber of Commerce will host a school board candidate forum Oct. 20, from 7:15-9 a.m. at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. The cost is $15 per person, including breakfast. Contact:  business.arvadachamber.org/events/details/3rd-friday-breakfast-election-forum-20945
Candidates for Jeffco school board will speak and respond to questions at the Golden Votes’ March to the Ballot Box event Oct. 21 from 1-3 p.m. at the Golden Public Library, 1019 10th St. in Golden. Contact: Judy Denison at judy_d@prodigy.net.
The Edgewater Collective and Jefferson County Association for Gifted Children are co-sponsoring a diverse learners candidate forum on Oct. 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the library at Jefferson Junior/Senior High School, 2305 Pierce St. in Edgewater. Contact Joel Newton at joel@edgewatercollective.org or Susan Miller at info@jeffcogifted.org.

Jeffco receives $2 million in funding for reading initiatives
More than 2,500 students at Jeffco Public Schools will benefit from funding allocated to the district by the Colorado Department of Education for reading initiatives. Announced Thursday, the school district will receive about $2 million for kids in kindergarten through third grade who’ve been identified as having reading deficiencies. Originating from the Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act, the funds are used to support eligible students “with strategies that help them succeed.”

Grant funding for homeless students
In addition to its annual READ Act allocation from the CDE, the school district also received a $37,000 McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth grant that will go toward Jeffco’s Community and Family Connections program, which addresses safety and educational needs of some 3,000 students struggling with homelessness.
According to the school district, the program provides academic support, as well as school supplies, hygiene items and other basic necessities for homeless families. The funds also “offset credit accrual, recover or other educational fees, transportation to schools of origin for special circumstances, printing and outreach materials, and parent and family outreach evenings.”
— Sal Christ