Thursday Churn: Regents decide tuition

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Updated 1:20 p.m. – The University of Colorado Board of Regents this afternoon approved 2012-13 tuition rates that are lower than those recommended by system administrators but which are made possible by reducing the amount of money available for faculty and administration merit pay.

The administration had proposed two options for each CU campus. The regents chose the lower set of increases and then trimmed them further with the money saved from the merit pay pool.

Here are the increases under the compromise plan:

  • Boulder – 5 percent increase for resident undergraduate students instead of the 6.7 percent suggested in the administration’s plan.
  • Denver – A .8 percent increase in the cost per credit hour, instead of 1.9 percent. The actual percentage increase will be higher for some students because the requirement for full-time status is being raised to 15 from 13 credit hours.
  • Colorado Springs – 4.9 percent increase instead of 5.8 percent.

The administration had suggested that an amount equal to 3 percent of total staff compensation be used for faculty and other merit raises. The regents cut that back to 2 percent.

Tuition has been a contentious topic for the regents ever since early administration proposals at the start of the year suggested double-digit increases in some cases (see story). Some regents also were unhappy with raises for a number of top administrators last year.

Going into today’s meeting, the administration had suggested the regents approve the higher of the two sets of increases. Those larger hikes were: Boulder, 8.6 percent; Denver 9.4 percent; Colorado Springs 7 percent.

Denver’s teachers union has scheduled a rally at 5 p.m. today before the district’s monthly school board meeting. Henry Roman, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, described the event as “a spirit rally, just as you would see in our schools.”

“It’s an opportunity for our teachers to come together and have their voices heard on important issues we face as we begin working with the district on a new teacher contract,” Roman said in a news release.

Roman said the DCTA is seeking to undo recent pay freezes and wants more teacher input in their evaluations. He also said the union will collaborate with the district on proposed reforms, such as extended learning opportunities.

Laura Wilson, principal of Redstone Elementary School in Douglas County, has been named 2012 Colorado National Distinguished Elementary Principal of the Year by the Colorado Association of School Executives.

Under her leadership, Redstone has achieved a 17 percent improvement in student CSAP scores over the past year and will receive the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award this year. Wilson will be honored, along with other state winners, in Washington, D.C., this fall.

You might want to get your tickets now for Sal Khan’s visit to Denver in May. Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, will speak from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Magness Arena in the Ritchie Center at the University of Denver. Event info.

If you haven’t heard, Khan is the Louisiana native born to immigrant parents who went on to earn three degrees from M.I.T. In 2004, he started tutoring his young cousin in algebra via the internet and, at the urging of others, began placing his lessons on YouTube in 2006. His lessons proved so popular – imagine 20,000 hits for algebra videos – that Khan quit his job as a hedge fund manager in 2009 to work on the Khan Academy full-time.

Khan has been featured on a number of national news outlets and, most recently, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who says he uses Khan Academy for his own kids, wrote the Time profile on Khan.

What’s on tap:

The DPS board has a regular meeting at 5 p.m. and a public comment session at 6:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. The agenda includes an update on the district’s pension financing and a vote on a charter contract for Monarch Montessori, the school DPS board members initially denied but State Board of Education members returned to them for further consideration.

A good read from elsewhere:

For-profit regulation: Colorado isn’t the only state looking to update its laws on regulation of for-profit colleges. takes a look at the landscape in several other states. Colorado’s regulation legislation, Senate Bill 12-164, is pending in the Senate.

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 [email protected]

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.