Updated – Denver’s teachers union today filed a grievance against the district over a plan to extend the day in some elementary and middle schools starting this fall.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association filed the class-action grievance with Denver Public Schools, citing a “mishandling of a process” to extend the school day by an hour in up to 14 schools. Most are traditional middle schools but two elementaries and at least one K-8 are included.
In a news release, DCTA President Henry Roman said that, “Because of our focus on creating the best opportunities for student learning, we are concerned that directives from DPS administration to change the school day for students and teachers ignore the best practices promoted by the National Center for Time and Learning and several provisions of the DCTA contract.”
Roman said he’s attended sessions between the national center and representatives from 14 schools this year. He said the process of expanding learning time “is supposed to include the involvement of teachers, parents and students – and should be designed from the ‘ground up’ – not mandated with ‘top down’ administrative directives.”
He said planning teams from the schools were told to design their own plans but, this past week, were given “one-size-fits-all” directives from central administrators that “would basically make most of the designs look exactly the same.”
Most traditional DPS middle schools start at 7:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. Roman said the directive essentially changes the ending time to 3:30 p.m.
“In a time when teacher’s salaries have been frozen and the forecast for the 2012-2013 school year includes more cuts to the DPS budget, it is irresponsible to begin new programs without a clear idea of a sustainable funding source,” he said.
DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg has scheduled a press conference tomorrow to discuss the district’s 2012-13 budget and funding for the extended-day plan.
Roman also cites the DCTA/DPS contract agreement, which states, “The District’s scheduled student school contact day will not be extended without applying the due process of collective bargaining.”
“We want to engage in collective bargaining around this issue in order to negotiate a fair process that gives schools the freedom to design what they know will lead to student success, the recruitment and retention of excellent educators, and shared accountability for all involved,” he said.
His press release identifies the 14 schools that would be affected by new policies for expanded learning opportunities as Barrett Elementary, Cole Arts & Science Academy, Bruce Randolph Middle, Denver Center for International Studies Middle, Grant Beacon Middle, Hamilton Middle, Henry World School, Hill Middle School of Arts & Sciences, Johnson Elementary, Manual High School, Merrill Middle, Morey Middle, Skinner Middle and Smiley Middle.
Parents of children in Denver Public Schools are reminded that 5 p.m. today marks the deadline for turning in completed SchoolChoice forms stating their preferred schools for the coming year.
As part of a districtwide initiative, DPS is asking parents of students entering so-called transition years – ECE/kindergarten, sixth grade or ninth grade – to complete forms stating their child’s top five choices in schools.
For the first time, all district schools, including magnet and charter schools, are using the same form and enrollment process. Forms can be obtained from any school or online here.
All completed forms must be turned in by 5 p.m. at any school or at the DPS administration building, 900 Grant St., in downtown Denver.
In February, the DPS office of choice and enrollment services will process all forms and attempt to place each student in his or her most highly preferred school. Students will be notified in writing of their 2012-13 school assignment on or about March 1.
January brings choice deadlines for many metro-area districts. Each district runs unique enrollment procedures with different policies and varying deadlines for applications. Check with your local school district, including:
The “Stanley Cup” of aviation was presented Monday to the Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science at Metropolitan State College of Denver. The award is known as the Loenig Trophy and recognizes the most outstanding all-around collegiate aviation program in the country. The award was named after aviation pioneer and inventor Dr. Grover Loening, who worked with the Wright Brothers.
Good reads from elsewhere:
The state’s new educator effectiveness law was the subject of an in-service training in Sterling Valley Re-1 School District, one of the 27 pilot districts implementing S.B. 191. The Journal-Advocate covered the session, led by the Colorado Department of Education.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has formally introduced his 138-page school finance overhaul, and it includes a provision that Brownback officials had not discussed before publicly: a proposal to evaluate teachers, partly based on student achievement, and post their rankings online, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.
An Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization has crafted a sweeping plan for reworking the 33,000-student Indianapolis school system that would place the district under the control of the city’s mayor, pare down the money spent in central administration, and give principals broad authority to hire and fire teachers, Education Week reports.
Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks is in the middle of his first school year and the Steamboat Pilot reported on progress to date, including a recent unanimous vote of confidence from the school board.
The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at EdNews@EdNewsColorado.org.