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Panel is working to evaluate inBloom database for district
Editor:
I sit on the Jeffco School District Data Advisory Management Council with information technology experts from businesses across Jeffco as well as parents and teachers. We are investigating, testing and advising the district on the potential need for and safety of a new way to organize the extensive amounts of information that Jeffco staff must gather to effectively serve our kids.
Right now, there are about seven or eight databases out of which staff must pull information and sort to make sure they are meeting students’ needs. This can take hours better spent teaching. Technology can make this a simpler, shorter process.
On the other hand, what are the security issues that we might face versus the security issues we face now? How can we be sure the information is going to be safe? Is this a useful way to spend district funds to give Jeffco staff better approaches to meeting our children’s needs?
These questions all are being asked and evaluated by the council so that Jeffco Schools can make an informed decision.
Some items that are not quite accurate in Klein’s statement or might be misinterpreted:
1. The district is not going to incorporate discipline information into the database. It does not meet the criteria the district set for this work.
2. While the board has agreed to allow up to $2 million for a Classroom Dashboard, those funds will not be spent unless the no-cost prototype dashboard is approved and useful.
Phyllis Albritton
co-president, Evergreen High PTSA

School board candidate defends position on inBloom
Editor:
I am responding to a recent letter referencing an article about my Jeffco school board candidacy. Specifically, the letter took issue with my stance regarding Jeffco’s participation in the inBloom pilot project.
In my comments, I expressed optimism regarding the possibilities of technological innovations to improve education. I also underscored the need to protect student privacy. The complete quote:
“My biggest concerns are those of many parents — privacy concerns. Jeffco already collects data and stores it in many, many databases. It would make things easier for teachers, but I wouldn’t want to sign off on it if there was a major privacy issue.”
The letter only referenced part of this quote, and did not include my concerns over student privacy and my reluctance to support the project if privacy cannot be protected.
This is an important decision for our district. It has incredible implications for the potential to improve education in the 21st century, and it highlights the perils of technological advances that often outpace our abilities to consider legal and moral implications of such rapid advancement.
We cannot make good decisions on these issues unless we take the time to discern the facts and to consider all of the information available to us. Which is what I intend to do.
Tonya Aultman-Bettridge
Jeffco school board candidate

South Jeffco residents come to rescue of missing Yorkshire terrier, owner
Editor:
Good karma from finding and returning others’ dogs recently was returned on Aug. 5, when the people in our neighborhoods went above and beyond to help me find my Yorkie who was adopted the day before. She bolted through the front door that morning without a collar on yet and never looked back. Thankfully, I had her safely in my arms after approximately two hours of searching.
This was an impossible ending in an area with abundant wildlife — had it not been for all our neighbors: one who stopped in a truck when he saw me running and turned Lilly around before she ran across a four-lane highway; all the dog walkers and runners who gave me sighting information so I was quickly in the areas she was seen; the man on a bike who rode around Clement Park and reported back that Lilly was not there; and finally an angel on Earth named Pat who took me in her car and got me in front of Lilly and then helped block the entrance to a cul-de-sac where I was finally able to get her back in my arms. Pat even drove us home. I cannot thank all of these neighbors enough for taking their time to help me.
We just moved in October and feel so fortunate to have settled in this neighborhood. I believe there are no kinder people anywhere in Denver then our neighbors!
Carol Hellmann
Littleton

Votes on Meadows development betrayed Littleton voters
Editor:
On Aug. 20, the Littleton City Council heard a final reading on the rezoning of 7620 S. Platte Canyon Road from PD-C to PD-R. A fair number of citizens presented reasons for not approving the change from commercial to residential to include: loss of potential jobs, growing traffic that is already unbearable during rush hour, too high a density for the area.
Council members Cole, Beckman and Valdes all voted against this change, referencing the Littleton citizens’ disapproval as the critical reason they could not vote in favor. Council member Brinkman (the council representative for this district) voted in favor of the change, voting against the very people who elected her. Additionally, Taylor, Stahlman and Cernanec all voted in favor of converting commercial to high-density residential.
What makes this so unpalatable is the fact that Brinkman, Stahlman and Cernanec all ran during the last election on low density and keeping the character and tradition of Littleton. In fact, Brinkman’s campaign literature stated, “Balance growth (low density, diversified employment, appropriate retail” and “low-density housing — I say, “LOW or NO!”
Stahlman went so far to say during his lengthy speech on why he was voting in favor of this development was that it is on the edges of Littleton, as if this had anything to do with the rezoning. His campaign literature stated, “Build on the best of Littleton’s character and tradition. Favor progress but strongly respect tradition.”
I helped elect these two council members based on what they said they were going to do; however, they don’t walk their talk. They are just like the professional politicians we dislike. They tell us what we want to hear and then do what they want. I am not opposed to high density; in fact, I think the Littleton Village project, a.k.a. Marathon property, is a great mixed-use property and one I want to see succeed. The Meadows at Platte Valley are just too many apartments (250) in such an already overcrowded area, especially when it comes to traffic.
I am disappointed in Brinkman, my own council representative, for not voting with and for her constituents. I am proud to have Cole, Beckman and Valdes representing all the citizens and listening to what they say. I know how I will be voting in the 2013 and 2015 elections.
Val Watson
Littleton

Theft of flag from preschool tests our nation’s core values
Editor:
I am the director of a small preschool/child-care facility in Littleton. When we returned after the Fourth of July, our flag was missing. When we closed the building on the evening of July 3, the flag was there.
It is very disturbing to think that someone would steal our flag from in front of our building. We try to teach our children to respect the flag, only to have someone take the entire flagpole and flag on the Day of Independence.
What is happening to our nation when our core values are being tested by such actions?
Jackie Sloan
Littleton

Event is designed to raise awareness of ovarian cancer
Editor:
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance urges everyone to wear teal on Friday, Sept. 6, to remind us that ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
Recent ovarian cancer reports in the media have centered on celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Pierce Brosnan, but not all families impacted by this terrible disease are famous. An estimated 220 women in Colorado will die of ovarian cancer in 2013; for many others, hope begins with awareness. Women must know the symptoms, including bloating, abdominal pain, urinary urgency and frequency, and difficulty with eating.
Why is awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms so important? Because there is no universally accepted screening test for this disease; a pap test does not detect this cancer.
You can learn more about COCA and its work on behalf of Colorado women at www.colo-ovariancancer.org.
Guadalupe Pep Torres
executive director, Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance