• School district negotiating groups raise questions regarding Open Meetings Law

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

  • Study groups take over in teacher contract talks

    Jeffco Public Schools and the teachers union have agreed to take part of their current contract negotiations behind closed doors.

    The sides agreed early on to form small groups made up of representatives and experts to examine several priority topics. The smaller groups will meet to come up with options before the full bargaining teams gather again to hammer out a final agreement. The next public negotiations are slated for April 13.

  • School board approves salary guidelines for newly hired teachers

    The Jeffco school board has unanimously approved salary guidelines for teachers hired this year who have teaching experience in other districts, have master’s degrees, or are working in hard-to-fill positions.

  • Block party: Wilmot students embrace cubism in Rubik’s competition

    Rubik’s Cubes are back.

    The popular 1980s cube-manipulation game is seeing a resurgence, so much so that Wilmot Elementary conducted a Rubik’s Cube competition last Friday among a dozen fifth-graders.

    The competition was not an official event at the school. Rather, principal Matt Cormier organized it after he saw several students working with Rubik’s Cubes — and they were solving the puzzle pretty quickly.

  • Through the glass, creatively

    The “big reveal” — as Evergreen Middle School art teacher Ann Simpson called it — of eighth-graders’ projects on Friday was very revealing.

    The art students’ projects — 6-inch-by-6-inch glass dishes that they spent days meticulously creating — were under a sheet on a table in the art room, ready to be seen for the first time. To make the moment even more memorable, Simpson brought a music student with a snare drum to supply a drumroll as the sheet was lifted.

  • School district, teachers open talks

    Negotiators for the Jeffco school district and the teachers union waded into collective bargaining last week, and while pledges of cooperation remain in the air, some friction around compensation has already made an early appearance.

    The union’s entire contract is on the table this year, and the district and the union spent most of their first two sessions laying out each side’s specific interests and defining logistics for how bargaining sessions would be structured. Negotiations could run through May.

  • Pay raises urged for principals, assistant principals

    Jeffco Public Schools should pay higher salaries to its principals and assistant principals, teachers who hold relevant master's degrees, and staff in hard-to-fill positions, the district’s human resources chief said at a March 5 school board meeting.

    As the district moves into its budget season and gears up for contract negotiations with the teachers union, chief human resources officer Amy Weber recommended that board members consider instituting the pay changes to make the district more competitive. 

  • Student-based budgeting lets principals get a jump on hiring

    Several months into Jeffco Public Schools’ implementation of student-based budgeting, area principals are saying the new policy gives them the ability to react quickly to their schools' hiring needs.

  • EHS teacher gets a soldier’s sendoff

    For the past eight years, Evergreen High School teacher Michael Poynter has dedicated himself to teaching science.

    For the next seven months, Poynter will dedicate himself to the military, returning to active duty with the inspector general’s office.

  • Union seeks to protect names of teachers absent during sick-out

    A lawsuit filed by Jeffco’s teachers union in an attempt to protect the names of teachers who missed school during a “sick-out” last fall has shifted the district’s simmering discord to the judicial arena.

    An injunction issued last week prevents the district from any further release of the names of teachers who were absent last Sept. 19 — at least until a district court hearing scheduled for May 15.