• Kindergarten paraprofessional wins statewide award

    Anne Bitsie has hundreds of children.

    While only three of them are her own, the rest are 10 years’ worth of former kindergarten students, the oldest of whom are now in high school.

    “My students will always be a part of my heart,” Bitsie said. “Oftentimes, I see them out at the store, or around town, and they’ll stop and say hello. Even if it’s been years (since they were in kindergarten), it’s so touching to see that they remember me and to hear that I made a positive impact on their lives.”

  • Mixed response to school district’s facilities plan

    Community reaction to Jeffco Public Schools’ proposed facilities master plan is mixed, based on questionnaire responses from more than 800 community members since the plan was presented at a school board meeting last month.

  • Family’s lawsuit: South Jeffco charter school board violated sunshine law

    By Jeffrey A. Roberts, For the Courier 

    A Jefferson County charter school violated Colorado’s Sunshine Law and retaliated against a family when the parents asked questions about their daughters’ education, a lawsuit claims.

  • Board mulls grade shuffling, elementary school mergers

    A facilities master plan unveiled at last Thursday’s meeting of the Jeffco school board would require a bond issue to address capital needs among the district’s aging schools.

    In a presentation of the plan, Superintendent Dan McMinimee and facilities staff recommended reconfiguring grades at a number of elementary and middle schools, adjusting matriculation boundaries, and making significant renovations at schools across the district — all in a bid to address aging facilities within current budget limitations.

  • Sunny outlook prevails for students at online school

    Using puppets that resemble a chicken and a dog, 14-year-old Amber Miller gives weather forecasts through a creative program of Colorado Connections Academy, her online school.

    “Lovely weather we’re having!” said Woofy the dog puppet in a recent broadcast.
    “Indeed, it’s b-b-b-b-beautiful weather for chickens,” added Professor Poultry, the chicken puppet through which Amber speaks.

  • Dakota Ridge students develop enterprise to increase awareness of suicide risk

    Two seniors at Dakota Ridge High School have launched an enterprise designed to increase awareness of classmates who may be at risk of suicide.

    Working with teacher Rachel Caliga in their entrepreneurship class, Andrew Arney and Bobby Lloyd McConnell have developed a business plan called “Operation Upstream,” which includes products designed to prevent suicides.

    “We thought Operation Upstream would be a perfect business,” Arney said.

  • Pay-for-performance for teachers could be rolled back

    Early conversations between the Jeffco school district and its teachers union hint that a controversial pay-for-performance plan for teachers instituted by the ousted conservative school board majority might be partially rolled back.

  • Mountain area residents offer ideas at school board forum

     Mountain area residents at a Jeffco Public Schools community forum had plenty of ideas for how the district should spend its money, with various attendees suggesting more incentives for teachers in hard-to-fill fields or hard-to-staff schools, bulking up the district’s security team, or providing more funding for the arts.

  • Appeals court upholds decision that teachers’ sick-leave records are public information

    A Jeffco judge’s decision that teachers’ sick-leave records are public information and not confidential personnel information was upheld in a Jan. 14 state Court of Appeals decision.

    Judges Steve Bernard, Robert Hawthorne and Anthony Navarro upheld a 2015 decision against the Jefferson County Education Association, which sought to prevent the Jeffco school district from releasing the names of teachers who were absent from work during “sick-outs” at several schools in late 2014. More than one Jeffco resident had requested the information.

  • School district, teachers union preparing for contract negotiations

    Jeffco Public Schools leaders said Jan. 28 they expect teacher pay and teacher recruitment and retention will be priorities during upcoming contract negotiations with the Jefferson County Education Association.

    The district and teachers union will start contract negotiations Saturday, district human resources director Amy Weber said — less than a year after the last 10-month pact was implemented.

    Negotiations last year on the current union contract encountered several issues, including the contract’s 10-month duration; it expires June 30.