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Education

  • Petition signed by 6,500 seeks resignation of school board majority

    A petition signed by 6,554 Jeffco residents calling for school board President Ken Witt and board members John Newkirk and Julie Williams to resign caused a stir at the board’s meeting on Thursday evening.

    Jeffco parent and petition organizer Molly Snyder told board members she is not affiliated with the teachers union, the Jefferson County Education Association. 

  • School maintenance funding in limbo

    The fate of some voter-approved funds for facility maintenance in Jeffco Public Schools remains unclear after the school board voted 3-2 to table a discussion about their use on Jan. 15.

    The $17 million in question represents part of the proceeds from the bond issue approved by district voters in November 2012 for maintenance and renovation of schools. Even though the ballot specified $99 million in bonds, higher yields meant the bonds sold at a premium and generated additional funds.

  • Charter schools seeing enrollment growth

    Jeffco’s charter schools saw significantly greater enrollment growth than district-managed schools in the last year, and advocates say that greater availability of choice, high academic expectations and options for home-schoolers are responsible.

  • Open enrollment begins in Jeffco schools

    Jeffco parents who want to enroll their children in district schools other than their neighborhood school in 2015-16 can begin the enrollment process Wednesday, Jan. 7, according to a district press release.

    Accepted placement depends on classrooms’ available space.

    The district’s first round of choice enrollment will run from Jan. 7 to Jan. 30. A second round — based on a first-come, first-served basis - will run from Feb. 13 to Aug. 31.

    Out-of-district students may also enroll in any Jeffco school that has the space.

  • School district contracts with online therapy provider

    Physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists are hard to find in Colorado and even harder to recruit with a cash-strapped budget.

    To address shortages, Jeffco Public Schools will begin outsourcing some of those services starting this month.

    San Francisco-based PresenceLearning will begin providing physical, occupational and speech language therapy to Jeffco kids via teleconferencing under a $267,300 contract approved by the school board in December.

  • Chatfield class explores final frontier

    South Jeffco is home to companies such as Lockheed Martin and Oakman Aerospace that are playing big roles in the future of space exploration. Chatfield High School’s senior engineering class is aiming to add the school’s name to that list.

    The class — one of nine in the country chosen to participate in a national design challenge sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science In Space — is working on a way to produce fuel in space with algae.

  • Young adults learn babysitting skills

    Babysitting is the first real job for many young adults — but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.

    Because of the challenges and responsibilities involved in caring for little ones, the Red Cross is committed to providing training for teens in everything from dressing a minor cut to performing CPR.

    “It gives the parent a peace of mind that the babysitter has gone through training,” said Glen Bernard, a Red Cross instructor trainer. “The babysitter knows how to handle an emergency situation.”

  • Columbine team has the biggest, best idea

    A big idea from a group of Columbine High School students has turned out to be a big winner.

    Columbine’s team placed first last weekend in the inaugural statewide Big Idea competition with its project Denver Push, which focused on accessibility for the disabled. Kale Reader, 17, Dan DeGraaf, 17, Ty Duffy, 18, and Megan Lacy, 17, each won a $1,500 college scholarship.

  • Teachers union, district debate pay model in court

    The Jeffco teachers union argued Friday in district court that the school district improperly enacted a performance-based pay model that created unfair pay disparities between new and experienced teachers.

    The district countered that the school board was well within its rights to make final decisions about pay, and that the same disparities existed under the former system.

    Attorneys for the Jefferson County Education Association and the school district argued their cases before District Judge Christopher Zenisek, who has not yet made a decision.

  • School district negotiations raise Open Meetings Law questions

    The recent move by Jeffco Public Schools and the teachers union to take portions of contract negotiations behind closed doors falls into a murky area of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.

    The district and the Jefferson County Education Association opened negotiations last month, and both sides agreed early on to break into small study groups and examine several priority topics. The two sides announced last week that meetings of the small groups would not be open to the public.