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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.

  • District boosts funding for curriculum, student achievement

    Thanks to increased state funding, Jeffco Public Schools will spend more on curriculum, student achievement and ever-changing technology trends during the 2014-15 school year.

    The school board approved next year’s budget at last month’s final meeting before summer break on a 3-2 vote. The more than $1 billion spending plan is up from last year’s $952 million budget.

  • School board approves 2014-15 budget

    The Jeffco school board voted 3-2 last Thursday to approve the district’s 2014-15 budget — a $1 billion spending plan that increases teachers’ salaries and funding for charter schools.

    Teachers, who have not had a pay increase in four years, will benefit from the $4.8 million earmarked for salary increases, which will equate to an average 2.5 percent raise per teacher.

  • School board rejects tentative teacher contract

    The Jeffco school board last Thursday rejected a tentative teachers contract with the Jefferson County Education Association, much to the dismay of association leaders.

    Board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams voted against the agreement because, while it would have granted pay raises to teachers rated “effective” or “highly effective,” it would have also provided raises to teachers rated as “partially effective.”

    Teachers rated “ineffective” would not have gotten raises.

  • Montessori kids take on a hot issue

    Residents with fireplace ashes to throw away need to know the proper way to dispose of them.

    A seven-minute video made by first- through third-grade students at the Montessori School of Evergreen offers some tips.

    Put ashes in metal buckets — not plastic buckets or paper bags — and cover them with water, according to information in the video. Don’t dump ashes on the ground outside if there’s any chance they could smolder and start a fire, the video instructs. 

  • Discipline suited him well

    Even assistant principals get called to the office occasionally.

    On May 19, Jim Jackson, Evergreen High School’s assistant principal in charge of discipline, was called to a mock office in a skit during the senior farewell assembly. The school not only said goodbye to its seniors but to Jackson, who is retiring at the end of this month.

    “You treat kids with respect and dignity,” assistant principal Tony Barnett said to applause from students.

  • Can-do attitude leads to charitable senior prank

    The term “senior prank” no longer has a negative connotation at Evergreen High School.

    While pranks the last few years have damaged the school, this year’s prank helped dozens of Evergreen families who need food assistance.

    A group of seniors collected 600 cans of food — weighing 781 pounds — and formed them in “2014” in 80-foot high numerals on the school’s football field. To make the cans stand out, each had a piece of colorful paper underneath.

  • A lesson in service

    Students at Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen definitely were in action on Friday.

    The entire school spent the day doing community service projects, not only in Evergreen but in Conifer, Idaho Springs, Golden, Littleton, Lakewood and Denver. Plus, they listened to speakers from several organizations, including nonprofits helping children battling serious illnesses and children in Guatemala, and they learned about military service from the Clear Creek Veterans Coalition.

  • 1,000 throng school board meeting

    The topics of teacher raises and full-day kindergarten drew 1,000 people to the Jeffco school board meeting last Thursday, leading to more than four hours of public comment.

    Because of the fire-safety occupancy limit, more than 400 people were turned away from the meeting, which was held in the auditorium at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood.

    Many of the teachers at the meeting spoke out about the need for pay increases and the financial troubles some are experiencing. 

  • A rockin' field trip

    Second-graders at Bergen Meadow Elementary School had a blast — both literally and figuratively — at the Albert Frei and Sons quarry on April 23.

    The children have been learning about forces in motion as part of their science unit, and what better place to see a force in motion than to watch a portion of a mountainside explode?