New International Preparatory Magnet Proposed For Smiley Middle School
On the heels of the successful International Preparatory Magnet (IPM) at Hamilton Middle School in southwest Denver, district staff this week proposed to the Board of Education that a similar program be launched at Smiley Middle School in Park Hill.
The Hamilton IPM currently enrolls approximately 440 students, about 300 of whom reside outside the school’s attendance area. The overall enrollment at Hamilton – 1,039 students – means the school can no longer accept students under the district’s “Choice” program.
Under the plan, students who would attend Morey, Cole, Gove, Randolph, King, and Noel middle schools would be eligible for transportation to the new program at Smiley. The program would be phased-in with sixth-graders beginning with the 2003-2004 school year. A grade would be added each year for two years and the program would involve, ultimately, about 150 students.
Students currently attending Hamilton IPM would be allowed to finish there. Currently, 91 students live in northeast Denver and attend Hamilton’s IPM.
This would be modeled after the program at Hamilton, which has demonstrated great success for students throughout the city,” said John Youngquist, Assistant Area Superintendent in northeast Denver. “This is an effort to provide more educational options, including families moving to the new developments at Stapleton.”
Wayne Eckerling, Assistant Superintendent for Research, Planning and Special Programs, said the staff is seeking public comment at the January 9 public hearing (to be held at Academia Ana Marie Sandoval) and is suggesting Board approval at the second meeting in January.
Gust Elementary School’s ‘HG’ Program Might Add High Achieving Students
District staff proposed this week that Gust Elementary School’s Highly Gifted program also invite high achieving students to apply.
The recent decline in the number of highly gifted students attending (Gust) creates the need to attract new students to maintain the program’s viability and also creates an opportunity serve additional students,” the district report states.
The idea might boost Gust’s enrollment by 25 students. Gust’s Highly Gifted feeder schools are Barnum, Castro, College View, Doull, Force, Godsman, Goldrick, Grant Ranch, Johnson, Kaiser, Knapp, Munroe, Newlon, Sabin, Schenck, Schmitt, Traylor and Valverde elementary schools.
The staff proposal suggested the possibility that an additional bus may be needed to serve the expanded program at a cost of $17,500.
Highly Gifted / High Achieving Program Might Expand To Carson Elementary School
District staff proposed adding Carson Elementary School to the schools serving highly gifted and high achieving students in southeast Denver.
Currently, southeast Denver students are served at Cory and Southmoor elementary schools. Cory offers service on a challenge team classroom model; Southmoor’s approach is a self-contained program for highly gifted students.
The proposed Carson plan would follow the Cory model.
The problem is that Southmoor is filling up due to increased demand from “Choice” students, growing neighborhood interest, and increased numbers of Highly Gifted students.
The proposal would launch three classrooms at Carson. Highly achieving students would be accommodated at Carson based on space availability. High achieving students score at the 90th percentile or above on standardized achievement tests or score at “advanced” levels in CSAP on reading, writing or math.
Proposed feeder schools from Carson would be Bromwell, Carson, Del Pueblo, Fallis, Fairmont, Greenlee, Lincoln, Lowry, Steck, Steele, and Whiteman elementary schools. Transportation would be provided within district guidelines.
Highly gifted students from other areas of the city (those assigned to Crofton, McGlone, Edison and Gust) would have a second priority for enrollment at either Southmoor or Carson.
The plan calls for all existing students that will be fifth-graders next year at Southmoor would finish there; Carson would start in 2003-2004 with grades one through four. Students who live in the proposed Carson catchment area and who would be in grades one and two next year would be assigned to Carson. They could attend Southmoor with transportation if there was space on the bus.
Infrastructure” Coming For English Language Acquisition
Chief Academic Officer Sally Mentor Hay said this week that the district is working to ensure that the English Language Acquisition program is supported by the same kind of curriculum and “infrastructure” support provided to the district’s new literacy program.
She also told the Board of Education that the new efforts and goals, still under review, propose more intensive oral English language development sooner in the transition process and would strengthen guidelines for the transition of instruction in reading and writing from Spanish to English.
Work groups of principals, specialists and teachers are ready to test new concepts with the broader school community next month, said Mentor Hay. The work groups are identifying best practices in DPS and other districts, checking instructional materials, revisiting the curriculum, and setting time expectations for student transitions.
Key to the improvements, said Mentor Hay, will be building an improved curriculum and assessments.
Mentor Hay also said the program will provide more clear choices for parents, more time and attention devoted to English Language development, specific progress expectations each year, and a defined approach to helping students make the transition to mainstream classrooms.
As the pace and intensity quickens, said Mentor Hay, “the need for guidelines will become even greater.” That could lead to more flexibility to allow grouping students who are at the same point in the transition process.
After consulting with teachers and principals in January, a task force will report back to the Board of Education in February. New approaches would be implemented with the next school year.
Cindy Rundstrom “Heart And Soul Of DPS” Bids Farewell
With a beaming smile and a couple of tears, Cindy Rundstrom said goodbye to the Board of Education and district staff this week after 34 years of dedicated service to Denver Public Schools. She will retire as Assistant to the Superintendent, having worked in a broad variety of positions in which she grew to become one of the district’s most knowledgeable resources.
You are truly the heart and soul of DPS,” said Board of Education President Elaine Gantz Berman.
A steady stream of well-wishers poured into an afternoon gathering in honor of her retirement and Board members and Superintendent Jerry Wartgow later thanked her for her “truly irreplaceable” understanding of the school district.
Cindy’s knowledge of the district,” said Assistant Superintendent Wayne Eckerling, reading a resolution approved by the Board, “is unsurpassed.”
When it was her turn to speak, Cindy stood at the podium in the Board room and said she would like to thank a “few friends,” pulling out a thick telephone book, drawing a laugh. Ever prepared, Cindy read through a list of former superintendents. “I have been very fortunate to work with the very best and the brightest,” she said. “There have been so many people who have supported and encouraged me.”
Cindy lauded the new energy and expectations in Denver Public Schools and added: “Thank you all for allowing me to grow and for allowing me to be a part of this caring community.”
Citizens Committee for Facility Needs Will Study Possible 2003 Bond Vote
The Board of Education this week formally organized a “Citizens Committee For Facility Needs” to study the feasibility of a possible bond election in November 2003.
The committee will begin meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. at the administration building (900 Grant St.).
The committee is charged by the Board to “validate that the district needs a general obligation bond program for new schools and classroom additions; various safety, fire code and maintenance issues; technology; new support facilities; and educational program enhancements.
The committee will review and validate the staff’s methodology for identifying specific projects, and validate the priority of projects identified by staff for inclusion in a bond program. The committee will also advise the Board regarding the feasibility of placing a bond issue on the November ballot and recommend a size for the proposed bond.
Committee members are: Jean Abney, Dianne Barrett, John Britz, Bill Brown, Tom Buescher, Denise Burgess, Ann Byrne, Juanita Chacon, Nolbert Chavez, Kitt Cowperthwaite, Michelle Crouse, Cathee Fisher, Jerry Garcia, Don Giesbert, Ellen Golombek, two different individuals named Joe Gonzales, Manuel Gonzales, Al Habercorn, Robin Johnston, Doug Jones, Steve Kaplan, Steve Katich, Michael Kleinberg, Wendy Lanier, Johanna Leyba, Larry Manzanares, Bennie Milliner, Ron Mirenda, Mary M. Morisette, Stephanie O’Malley, Theresa Pena, Joel Rosenstein, Patsy Roybal, Alana Smart, Leo Smith, Gully Stanford, Janine Vanderberg, Pam Wakefield, Brian Weber, Brian Wert, and a Denver Classroom Teachers Association representative.
Barry Fey Thanked For $50,000 Donation For Musical Instruments
Superintendent Jerry Wartgow and DPS Foundation co-chairman Cole Finegan thanked music promoter Barry Fey for his $50,000 donation to help the district buy and maintain musical instruments.
Inspiring musical performances by two barbershop quartets from George Washington High School – one female, one male – and a jaw-dropping solo performance by Denver School of the Arts violinist Zoë Aqua were showcased as part of the tribute to Fey’s efforts.
Clearly moved by the students’ work, Fey held an acoustic guitar aloft and urged the district to expand music education. “It’s precious – just like the children,” said Fey. “And if you can do that, we’ll all be better off.”
In other action this week, the Board of Education:
- Approved boundaries for the new Stapleton Elementary School coming on line with the 2003-2004 school year.
- Set tuition rates for Academia Ana Marie Sandoval, Denison Montessori School and the Tuition-Based Extended Day Kindergarten programs.
- Selected architects (three different firms in all) for Elementary School Playground and Learning Landscape projects at Barrett, Columbine, Ebert, Gilpin and Mitchell elementary schools.
- Agreed to purchase seven acres of vacant land at the southeast corner of the intersection of Albrook Drive and Carson Street in Montbello.
January 9 Meeting At Ana Marie Sandoval
The Board of Education plans to conduct its first meeting in 2003 at Academia Ana Marie Sandoval, 3655 Wyandot St. The entire meeting schedule will be held at Sandoval, including the 7 p.m. public hearing. Speakers are invited to call 720-423-3210 by 4 p.m. on Jan. 9 to sign up to address the Board.
Denver Public School
Board of Education
Elaine Gantz Berman, President
Lucia Guzman, Vice President
Sue Edwards, Secretary
Kevin Patterson, Treasurer
Michelle Moss, Board Member
James Mejia, Board Member at Large
Les Woodward, Board Member at Large
BoardNews is published after each Board Meeting.
For a free subscription contact the DPS Public Information Office 900
Grant St., Room 402, Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 720-423-3414 • TTY/TTD: 720-423-3741 •