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Education

  • Ken Caryl student p-r-e-v-a-i-l-s at area spelling bee

    Spelling is the one subject Noah Dolan doesn’t mind studying.

    “I read a lot, so I just like words,” he said.

    That certainly proved true Tuesday night, when the Ken Caryl Middle School seventh-grader placed first in the Columbine Area Spelling Bee. Held at Columbine High School, the bee included the top two performers from the school-wide bees at Columbine Hills Elementary, Dutch Creek Elementary, Governor’s Ranch Elementary, Ken Caryl Middle School, Leawood Elementary and Normandy Elementary.

  • Jeffco school board votes to search for new superintendent

    The Jeffco school board voted unanimously Thursday night to search for a replacement for Superintendent Dan McMinimee.

    Citing weaknesses in McMinimee's performance — including his communication skills and management expertise — as well as a lack of trust among the “district's constituents,” school board members expressed a desire for a leader that can take Jeffco Public Schools “to the next level.”

  • A pearl of an effort

    The best way to start a Black Friday-esque tussle among sixth-graders is to offer them rolls of yarn at no cost.

    Well, maybe not at all sixth-graders. But that’s certainly what happened when Lynn Story offered free yarn to the sixth-graders in her knitting club at Leawood Elementary School.

    “Welcome to Leawood,” said 11-year-old Micah Harper with a mischievous grin as he clutched the colorful yarn he’d grabbed from Story’s bag.

  • Big Idea Project brings big recognition to teacher

    When Bryan Halsey created the Big Idea Project, it was simply a hands-on way to culminate the business leadership class he started at Columbine High School.

    “We basically challenge students to find a need in the world and then do something about it,” said the business and marketing teacher.

  • School district enacts partial hiring freeze

    Effective immediately, Jeffco Public Schools has instituted a hiring freeze on almost all non-classroom positions, and all new hires will have to be approved by a district cabinet consisting of 11 people.

    According to chief human resources officer Amy Weber, the cabinet last week discussed the hiring freeze, which will exclude grant-funded positions and essential positions such as teachers, para-educators, bus drivers and food service employees.

  • Students craft holiday gifts at Red Rocks Elementary

    Red Rocks Elementary School kicked off the holiday season over the weekend with its annual Gifts from the Heart event, when students make homemade gifts for their friends and family.

    It’s been a tradition at the school for about 10 years, and the school aims to make the gifts holiday-neutral so all can participate.

    Though there is a small fee for each craft, school secretary Kathleen Hanvey said the event is not meant to be a fund-raiser.

  • School board discusses teacher pay in wake of ballot failures

    Following the failure of Jeffco schools' ballot initiatives 3A and 3B — which would have resulted in a $535 million bond issue and generated $33 million annually in increased property taxes — the district says its top priority is keeping the teachers it has by improving compensation. 

  • D’Evelyn High marching band hits another high note

    For the sixth year, the D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School marching band took first place in the 2A state competition.

    But unlike years past, this win felt less certain for the 53-member band as they went into the final round of competition as the third seed.

    “I was pretty pessimistic going into it. I didn’t think we were going to win,” said Brennan Reeves, a senior percussionist.

    Junior mellophone player Selma Shepherd agreed, calling it “a tight competition.”

  • School board approves $20,000 in performance pay for McMinimee

    The Jeffco school board has approved $20,000 in performance-based bonuses for Superintendent Dan McMinimee for his achievements during the 2015-16 year.

    Announced at the school board’s regular meeting Nov. 3, the decision comes after a presentation by McMinimee at a special meeting of the board Oct. 20, during which he gave his thoughts on whether he had adequately achieved goals set a year before.

  • Music to their ears

    Choirs from 14 Jeffco high schools — including Dakota Ridge, Columbine and Chatfield — congregated at Arvada High School on Oct. 20 to perform an informal concert for one another.

    Called the Jeffco Sing-In, the musical event has more than a 20-year history. It provides a chance for the concert choirs to listen to each other in a non-competitive atmosphere. In fact, choirs are asked not to wear school colors or choir outfits. Each choir can perform up to two songs of any genre.