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Education

  • Teacher salaries capped in compensation plan

    The best-paid teachers in Jeffco will earn just more than $81,000 this year.

    The Jeffco school board continued its work on the district’s new teacher compensation model at its meeting last Thursday, which included the maximum $81,030 salary.

     “Having that high-water mark, we will not only attract but also retain the great teachers we have in our system,” said Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee.

  • Incidents prompt board member to enroll daughters in private school

    Graffiti targeting school board member John Newkirk near his youngest daughter's elementary school prompted the family to enroll their girls in a private school for the 2014-15 school year.

    “After much thought and discussion, our family made the decision to move our daughters to an alternate school environment for the 2014-15 year,” Newkirk said.

    Newkirk declined to name the school his daughters are attending but said it is a “faith-based” school in Littleton.

  • Mortensen Elementary turns 20

    By Stephanie Alderton

    Staff Writer

    Twenty years ago, the gym at Mortensen Elementary had pink walls before the school's first students came through the doors.

    Last Thursday afternoon it echoed with the voices of more than 400 students, staff and guests wishing happy birthday to the school. And the walls were a less-eye-popping gray.

  • School Board renews attorney's contract

    On a 3-2 vote, the Jeffco school board extended the contract with its attorney for one year.

    The board hired Colorado Springs attorney Brad Miller last Dec. 12 on an identical split vote, just one month after members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams were elected. Board members Jill Fellman and Lesley Dahlkemper voted against and have been questioning Miller’s hiring for the last eight months.

  • Friendly overtures — and friction — at school board retreat

    Jeffco’s famously divided school board made conciliatory noises at its annual retreat on Saturday, though some evidence surfaced of the friction that has prevailed since last November’s election. 

    “I promise there will be clear and concise communication,” said Superintendent Daniel McMinimee, who was hired on a 3-2 vote in June. “I’m looking forward to working together. I think this has been a great start.”

  • Board planning changes to rules for public comment at meetings

    The Jeffco Board of Education agreed to change the rules for public comment at meetings at its Saturday retreat. 

    To be approved at a future meeting, the new system would allow for up to 20 people to speak for three minutes each. If 21 to 30 people sign up, two minutes each would be allowed. If 31 to 60 people sign up, one minute per person would be allowed.

    If more than 60 people sign up to speak about agenda-related items, they will be invited to speak during the second portion of public comment, after the board has taken action on its agenda.

  • Jeffco students’ TCAP scores improve

    Jeffco Public Schools continue to outperform the state in reading, math and science based on last year’s TCAP scores, which were released by the Colorado Department of Education last Thursday.

    “In math, we saw great gains with our Jeffco eighth- and ninth-graders, who gained three to four points in proficiency last year,” Jeffco chief academic officer Syna Morgan said in a news release. “Jeffco continued to outpace the state on the Colorado ACT scores … from 21.2 in 2013 to 21.5 in 2014.”

  • Program helps sixth-graders with New Beginnings

    From breaking in a new locker to making new friends, the first day of middle school can be intimidating. 

    Falcon Bluffs Middle School is hoping to counter some of that anxiety with the New Beginnings program for Jeffco students entering sixth grade.

    The program is headed by drama teacher Anthony Bruno and physical education teacher Allyn Atadero. Its aim is to introduce students to middle school life before the year begins, including the dreaded challenge of opening the new locker, their biggest fear, according to Atadero. 

  • Jeffco public schools hire new chief academic offer

    Syna Morgan has been hired as Jeffco Public Schools’ chief academic officer.

    The 24-year education veteran served as Douglas County Schools’ chief system performance officer since 2010. Before that, she was a director with the Colorado Department of Education.

  • New superintendent determined to find common ground

    Hired by a divided school board and suddenly at the helm of a district riven by political strife, Jeffco Schools Superintendent Dan McMinimee says he's determined to build bridges and develop relationships.

    The Douglas County administrator took over the Jeffco school district July 1, and his first order of business was getting to know district staff — and letting them get to know him.