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News Release - State Board Approves Innovation Applications

June 14, 2012

News Release

State Board of Education approves innovation applications

Board also approves first S.B. 191 waiver request

The Colorado State Board of Education met this week for a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 13. Highlights from the meeting include:

Recognition of Outstanding Students

The State Board recognized four Colorado student teams that won Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) awards at the 2012 VEX Robotics Championship. More than 600 student teams from 18 countries in the world competed in April. Team Critical Mass, which included students from Berthoud High School, won the Engineering Division Excellence Award for its overall robotics program excellence, the highest honor in their division and given to the most well-rounded team. Team Palladium, also from Berthoud High, won the Technology Division Build Award for its well-built robot. Team Hazardous from Loveland, took home the excellence award in the “Create” category, for its overall robotics program excellence. Team Arkham Asylum from Altona Middle School in St. Vrain School District won the top middle school award.

Jill Hawley, associate commissioner of the Achievement and Strategy Division at CDE said CDE is eager to support and expand this type of work now that CDE has a STEM coordinator, made possible by the Race to the Top Phase 3 grant funds. STEM Coordinator Violeta Garcia is a former science educator at the Poudre Learning Center in Greeley, who helped start an after-school STEM program for girls.

The Board also recognized 2012 Colorado Presidential Scholars Cissy Chen from Fairview High School, Sophie Harrington from Boulder High School and Tong Yin from Cherry Creek High School. Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 6,000 of the nation's top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts.

In addition, the state board recognized the Colorado Youth Advisory Council for its work around teen suicide prevention, including House Joint Resolution, HJ12-1004, concerning teen suicide prevention in Colorado, which was passed by both houses and signed by the Speaker of the House on April 19, 2012 and the Speaker of the Senate on April 20, 2012. In support of the council’s work around teen suicide prevention, CDE has approved the following professional development opportunities for Colorado educators: Question, Persuade, Refer ; Safe TALK; and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. More information regarding these professional development opportunities may be found on the CDE website.

Innovation Schools

A request from Falcon School District 49 to become a district of innovation was approved by the state board yesterday. The district sought an innovation zone designation for the following five schools: Vista Ridge High School, Skyview Middle School, Odyssey Elementary School, Ridgeview Elementary School, and Stetson Elementary School. Representatives from the district said the five schools will work as a cohesive unit and with the community to create four separate zones to collaborate and share best practices.

The state board also approved an innovation application for Falcon Middle School. .

Educator Effectiveness

Members from Littleton Public Schools went before the board to request a renewable four-year waiver of certain provisions of Senate Bill 191. These items include mutual consent hiring, hiring pools for teachers who have demonstrated effective teaching, and reduction in force policies. This was the board’s first S.B. 191 waiver to consider. After much discussion and lots of questions, the board voted to approve the waiver request.

San Juan BOCES Integration Project

Helayne Jones, president and CEO of the Colorado Legacy Foundation along with members of the San Juan BOCES, which includes nine school districts in the Southwest corner of the state, provided an update on the project. The Colorado Legacy Foundation, in partnership with CDE is working with 13 districts, including the BOCES to interconnect standards, assessments and evaluation and to deliver high quality education for all students. CDE staff work in coordinated partnership with the Legacy Foundation in these districts to provide training, supports and tools to help them seamlessly integrate the core work of these education policies. For more on this project, visit http://bit.ly/KEAaIV.

For more on the Colorado State Board of Education, visit http://www.cde.state.co.us/index_sbe.htm

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