Tag Archives: principal

A Glimpse at New Schools: Math and Science Leadership Academy

After the Colorado Independent brought attention to Denver’s Math and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA) on Friday, I decided it was turn to shine the light on a brick-and-mortar school that is unique for one reason: no principal. No principal, you say? That has to be good, right? When I throw spit wads at the kid next to me, whose office are they going to send me to? Right? Okay, okay, I can stop being goofy for a few minutes. MSLA is not a charter school but an innovation school. The school’s founders had to ask for waivers from state law that would allow it to operate with two “lead teachers” instead of a principal. Teachers evaluate each other through a peer review system. Located in southwest Denver, it’s a K-5 elementary school with a “primary focus” on “science, technology, and mathematics.” MSLA opened its doors this year to students in kindergarten through second grade. Parents who are interested can go to the school’s website for more information on admissions.

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Obama Speaks to Schoolchildren: Private School Choice is the Answer

Yesterday I wrote about President Obama’s plan to address schoolchildren across America next Tuesday. I got so much response, I thought a quick follow-up was in order. Some of the concerns undoubtedly are overblown, though the hubris embodied in the original lesson plans presented to the public was genuinely disturbing. Even if the substance of the message is essentially good (e.g., stay in school, personal responsibility, etc.), some parents may feel that is usurping their role. But the Obama speech in that sense is no isolated incident. One has to ask the parents who feel this way why they continue to send their child to the public school system. Anyway, the White House since has backtracked from the political gaffe and revised the lesson plans, but much of the damage already has been done. But still plenty of good can come from this whole scenario, if parents pay heed to the principal lesson explained by Adam Schaeffer at the Cato Institute: But this problem didn’t begin with Obama and won’t end with him. Politics in the schools is what we get when the government runs our schools. Don’t want your kids indoctrinated by government bureaucrats, special interests, or the President? […]

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A Glimpse at "New" Schools: Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment

Okay, okay … so Denver’s Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment isn’t exactly new. In fact, at more than 100 years of age, it’s one of Colorado’s older public schools. So what’s new about it? Montclair is one of the state’s first two Innovation Schools — as approved by the local school board and by the state board of education under the 2008 state law — and the only school to be recognized both as an Innovation School and as a DPS Beacon School. What does that mean, you ask?

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New Denver KIPP School Performance Pay Plan Latest Charter Innovation

With a variety of programs and greater flexibility from state laws and district policies, public charter schools can provide a great alternative for parents and students looking for something different. Because of that same flexibility, charter schools can serve as great laboratories of innovation for different practices that work. A couple months ago, while school was still in session, my Education Policy Center friends visited KIPP-Sunshine Peak Academy, a charter middle school located in west Denver. The national KIPP network of 82 charter schools has been made famous recently by the book Work Hard Be Nice, written by Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews.

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Best Wishes for Students in DCTA's New Math & Science Leadership Academy

I don’t have time for a long post today. But my Education Policy Center friends wanted to let you know that they have only well wishes for the success of Denver’s new innovation school (not really a traditional district school, not really a charter): Math and Science Leadership Academy. The school is going to be run by teachers through the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), the local union. The outgoing DCTA president Kim Ursetta explains on her blog some of the reaction that the new school is getting because DCTA is taking the unusual step of not having a principal: In talking to some administrators (central and building) today, they still don’t understand what we’re trying to do. One principal said, “Yeah, but who is the administrator?” Another said, “Good luck with your charter school.” My favorite is the principals who asked what I’ll be doing now, and I tell them about the school. They just stared… and walk away. I didn’t know that math and science, to start, was THAT out of the box. Unorthodox? Yes. But I hope for the academic and all-around well-being of the students who are enrolled to attend there, that the teachers there find […]

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The Real World Would Recognize (and Deal with) Both Good and Bad Teaching

Every child is always a winner … Children just need better self-esteem … We only need to use positive incentives to help children learn more … Let’s reward the good but pretend like the bad doesn’t exist … I’m only 5 years old, and I get that this is marshmallow world nonsense. In fact, it’s the kind of silliness that makes many people question (sometimes fairly, sometimes not) the value of much of what goes on in public education. It gets even worse when the principle is applied not only to students, but also to teachers. At least if the union has its way. Witness the evidence from Chicago, a city with many failing schools: principal evaluations found only 3 out of every 1,000 teachers had unsatisfactory performance. While unions thrive on fears of bogeyman administrators who take out their vindictiveness on good teachers they don’t like, this evidence at least indicates the problem tips in the other direction. In any case, wouldn’t a more objective data system be better?

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New Report on Colorado Homeschooling History: A Call to Vigilance

It’s easy for those who have secured the benefits of educational freedom to take them for granted. That’s especially true in the case of homeschooling, as parents in New Hampshire have responded to a bill that would restrict their rights: The legislation has angered many home schoolers who showed up in record numbers when the bill was being debated in Concord. “There were about a thousand home schoolers there. It was a record-breaking crowd, never been that many home schoolers,” the [Home School Legal Defense Association’s Mike] Donnelly notes. “In fact some of the people at the state house said that they’ve never seen such a large crowd inside ever.” It’s encouraging to see so many Granite State homeschoolers rallying to action. If what’s going on across the country doesn’t wake up and make Colorado homeschoolers vigilant, then maybe a refreshing and comprehensive look at the history of securing parental rights in this arena will. My Education Policy Center friend Marya DeGrow has written a simply awesome new issue paper called Colorado’s Homeschool Law Turns Twenty: The Battle Should Never Be Forgotten (PDF). Two decades ago, after numerous legal battles and legislative battles and struggles with local and state education […]

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Let Parents Choose Single-Sex Classrooms … Who Needs Yucky Girls?

An interesting story from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette looks at an elementary school that has divided boys and girls into separate classrooms (H/T Joanne Jacobs): In a typical classroom, the boys are asked to sit calmly in desks, complete story problems and answer questions after raising their hands. But speed, enthusiasm and competition get the pupils in Long’s all-boys class motivated to learn and to participate, she said. Teachers at Monitor Elementary School in Springdale created classrooms segregated by sex as an experiment to allow teachers to adapt their strategies to each, Principal Maribel Childress said. The idea of sex-segregated classrooms has been catching on more and more in different parts of the country, though it’s still a fairly rare enough practice that it makes articles like this one of general interest. Like so many other things in education, separating boys and girls into different classrooms isn’t the be-all and end-all answer to our problems. (But it’s not a bad idea. Who needs yucky girls around, anyway?) One critic quoted in the story – New America Foundation senior research fellow Sara Mead – makes a great point: The variation among students within each sex is greater than the average differences between […]

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A Glimpse at New Schools: The Imagine Classical Academy at Indigo Ranch

Today’s post is the first in a series on new charter or option schools opening up in Colorado this year. I’m out there keeping an eye on developments in the world of education that are important to parents. This definitely includes knowing about specific new options that may happen to be in your area or the area of someone you know, with a child who might fit well into the school’s environment. Our first featured school is The Imagine Classical Academy at Indigo Ranch – located in the Falcon School District on the east side of Colorado Springs. The Academy is scheduled to open its doors for the upcoming 2008-09 school year. A temporary facility (pictured at right) will be used for the first year, while the permanent site is under construction. Catering to students in kindergarten through 6th grade in its first year, the Academy will a use the Core Knowledge curriculum, and has school uniform requirements. Check out the school’s website for access to much more information on enrollment, program, staff, and more. The Academy is the first of two schools being opened by principal and charter school developer Tina Leone, under an operating agreement with the national […]

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