Colorado Department of Education grants $1.47 million to spur teacher recruitment

Denver Public Schools

Teacher helping students at a Denver public school (Photo By Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post)

In an effort to attract and retain quality teachers, the Colorado Department of Education has awarded the and each $1.47 million in grants.

Formally known as the Quality Teacher Recruitment Program Grant, the money will span a two-year period in which the organizations will collaborate with Colorado school districts to recruit, train and support high-quality teachers in some of the state’s most demanding areas. During the two years, the Colorado Department of Education will have the opportunity to contract with a third party to measure the organizations’ results.

Operated by the Public Education and Business Coalition, the Colorado Boettcher Teacher Residency strives to stem the tide against Colorado’s rapidly increasing rate of impoverished youth through recruiting and supporting skilled teachers. The group focuses on preparing teachers not just for curriculums and textbooks but for cultural and linguistic challenges that may arise as well. This results in 96 percent of Boettcher Teachers remaining in the classroom after their five-year commitment.

The Colorado Boettcher Teacher Residency plans to expand its presence in metro Denver while increasing the number of quality teachers in rural regions such as the San Luis Valley and southern Colorado, including the Durango, Ignacio, Crowley and Huerfano school districts.

PEBC president Rosann Ward said the money demonstrates a concentrated effort by the state to ensure students are receiving a quality education.

“The CDE grant funding represents a strong commitment by the state to create effective educators to serve and remain in Colorado’s most challenged communities for years to come,” Ward said in a news release. “We are grateful for the state’s investment and appreciate CDE’s support in developing a pipeline of well-trained, effective teachers to serve districts across Colorado well into the future.”

Teach for America (TFA) has 1,165 active corps members and alumni in Colorado Springs and Denver. Their members are teaching in more than 80 schools and five districts across the state.

With the grant, TFA will train up to 20 new teachers per year for schools and areas in high demand in Pueblo. The organization will also increase its presence in the Denver and Harrison school districts.

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Aurora Public Schools ReNew pledge to energy conservation

Summit Middle School receives a solar panel for winning the ReNew Our Schools competition. (Provided By Center for ReSource Conservation

Summit Middle School receives a solar panel for winning the competition. (Provided By )

Aurora students are joining the fight to conserve energy in a competition aimed at increasing energy awareness, creating green habits and introducing students to energy-related career fields.

The Center for ReSource Conservation, or CRC, is bringing its ReNew Our Schools competition to the Aurora Public School District. Twelve schools will compete against one another in a competition in which students must find ways to conserve energy for a month. The top three schools will win $20,000 solar arrays for their buildings.

Schools from across the district will participate, including Aurora Hills Middle School, Aurora Quest K-8, Crawford Elementary and Aurora West College Prep Academy. The contest began Tuesday and ends April 30.

Students will be able to track their energy expenditures using eGauge electricity monitors provided by eGauge and Magnelab, two local companies. The gauges will display real-time changes in energy consumption using a Web program. This will enable students to adjust their strategies according to how much energy they are saving. Students can also earn points by getting homeowners to agree to save energy.

Mentors will be on hand to educate the schools on energy conservation and instruct students on how they can make energy-efficient improvements. These mentors include experts from Xcel Energy, the University of Colorado Denver, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Johnson Controls and Waste Management.

Flatirons Elementary holds a school assembly to educate students. (Provided By Center for ReSource Conservation)

Flatirons Elementary holds a school assembly to educate students. (Provided By Center for ReSource Conservation)

The project is more than just winning and losing, however. The competition could potentially influence 10,000 students in Aurora and could extend to their families as well. The competition is also a learning opportunity for the kids.

“Students can view their performance at any time on the CRC’s website, which creates a competitive spirit around the competition and gives the students a reason to learn about energy,” ReNew Our Schools program coordinator Kathy Croasdale said in a release. “It is fun to watch what this competition can do for students. It provides students a way to solve a real-world problem without even leaving the school building.”

Croasdale said 30,700 students have participated in the challenge to date.

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MSU Denver president Stephen Jordan wins awards for groundbreaking work

Gov. John Hickenlooper presents MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan with the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Nonprofit Impact Award on March 7. Photo Courtesy of MSU Denver

Gov. John Hickenlooper presents MSU Denver President with the ’s Nonprofit Impact Award on March 7.
Photo Courtesy of MSU Denver

Last week, The Post’s political blog, The Spot, reported that president Stephen Jordan was recognized by the Colorado Nonprofit Association in part for his championing of special tuition rates for undocumented students in Colorado. He has since received two more awards for his work.

Jordan, who has a doctorate in public affairs, took home the Nonprofit Impact Award at the 2014 Colorado Nonprofit Week Awards Luncheon. He was also recognized by the and the for his work that led to the passing of the ASSET bill last year. The bill allows undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition at all state institutions if they sign an affidavit pledging to seek legal status in the U.S.

Jordan was presented with the Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues in Higher Education Award by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. The award recognizes individuals who have shown leadership and support of Hispanic and education issues.

The Latin American Education Foundation presented Jordan and MSU Denver with the Sol Trujillo National Lifetime Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have been committed to the promotion of Latino youth, education and development. The award is the LAEF’s premier award. Established 10 years ago, the award is named in honor of Solomon Trujillo, the former CEO of Australian telecommunications company Telstra. Trujillo is a longtime supporter of the organization’s efforts.

District 5 state Rep. Crisanta Duran praised Jordan’s innovative leadership.

“Colorado is fortunate to have Dr. Jordan at the helm of MSU Denver,” she said in a release. “His bold leadership has challenged the status quo and prompted his peers to apply new and creative solutions, which now have an impact in higher education that extends beyond the metro Denver community and sets a nationwide precedent.”

Jordan also received the 2014 Civil Rights Award from the in February.

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MSU president Stephen Jordan wins awards for groundbreaking work

Gov. John Hickenlooper presents MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan with the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Nonprofit Impact Award on March 7. Photo Courtesy of MSU Denver

Gov. John Hickenlooper presents MSU Denver President with the ’s Nonprofit Impact Award on March 7.
Photo Courtesy of MSU Denver

Last week, The Post’s political blog, The Spot, reported that president Stephen Jordan was recognized by the Colorado Nonprofit Association in part for his championing of special tuition rates for undocumented students in Colorado. He has since received two more awards for his work.

Jordan, who has a doctorate in public affairs, took home the Nonprofit Impact Award at the 2014 Colorado Nonprofit Week Awards Luncheon. He was also recognized by the and the for his work that led to the passing of the ASSET bill last year. The bill allows undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition at all state institutions if they sign an affidavit pledging to seek legal status in the U.S.

Jordan was presented with the Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues in Higher Education Award by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. The award recognizes individuals who have shown leadership and support of Hispanic and education issues.

The Latin American Education Foundation presented Jordan and MSU Denver with the Sol Trujillo National Lifetime Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have been committed to the promotion of Latino youth, education and development. The award is the LAEF’s premier award. Established 10 years ago, the award is named in honor of Solomon Trujillo, the former CEO of Australian telecommunications company Telstra. Trujillo is a longtime supporter of the organization’s efforts.

District 5 state Rep. Crisanta Duran praised Jordan’s innovative leadership.

“Colorado is fortunate to have Dr. Jordan at the helm of MSU Denver,” she said in a release. “His bold leadership has challenged the status quo and prompted his peers to apply new and creative solutions, which now have an impact in higher education that extends beyond the metro Denver community and sets a nationwide precedent.”

Jordan also received the 2014 Civil Rights Award from the in February.

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CSU to host Student Career Days for students in landscape industry

Students participating in a landscape installation event courtesy of studentcareerdays.org

Students participating in a landscape installation event. Photo courtesy of studentcareerdays.org

will host this year’s PLANET Student Career Days, a national event geared toward recruiting college students into critical positions in the growing landscaping industry.

More than 850 students from around the country will compete in the three-day event, which allows them to demonstrate and hone real-world skills. The 38th annual event, hosted by the Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET, gives students the opportunity to showcase their talents in areas such as tree climbing, patio building and wood construction.

More than 70 companies will be recruiting at the event, which takes place March 20-23.

the promotional communications manager for Inc., a Virginia-based manufacturer and distributor of handheld outdoor power equipment, said everyone benefits from investing in the future.

“We supply tools for industry professionals to do what they need to do,” Phelps, whose company sponsors the event, said. “If we don’t support the industry, that impacts us financially. Beyond that, we enjoy lawns and parks too. This is the largest event that actually celebrates, focuses on and challenges the young people who are interested in lawn care, landscaping and horticulture.”

Phelps said people are overlooking a lucrative, growing industry because of common misconceptions. He said when people think of landscape workers, they think of a grimy guy driving a smoky truck who throws down sod, but many landscape workers are well-educated, artistic people who have a passion for the business.

Students participating in a hardscape installation event. Photo courtesy of studentcareerdays.org

Students participating in a hardscape installation event. Photo courtesy of studentcareerdays.org

According to PLANET’s web site, the landscaping industry makes $71 billion annually which is expected to increase to $80 billion by 2015. But PLANET officials cite concerns over a shortage of educated and skilled workers for the growing industry, which employs a million people. The SCD site said the shortage has meant job security for college students who earn landscaping and horticulture degrees because nearly all have job offers by the time they graduate.

“With all the news about no jobs or a lack of jobs, it’s amazing to me that the landscape industry can’t fill all the jobs it has,” Phelps said.

, who a year ago graduated from Chattahoochee Technical College in Georgia, now works as an irrigation designer on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

CSU’s is now a Technical Sales Specialist at Intermountain STIHL, which caters to the Rocky Mountain region. Larscheid was an active participant in , winning the Swingle, TomTolkacz Family Scholarship in 2012. He graduated from CSU last year.

853 students from 65 colleges participated in 28 individual and team competitions at Auburn University in Alabama last year. Colorado State University’s students scored high marks in categories that included leadership skills, computer and landscape design, personnel management and business management. PLANET’s Academic Excellence Foundation gave 68 scholarships totaling $74,300.

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Parker’s Dana Von Schaumberg is well prepared for teaching career

Many recent graduates will join Dana Von Schaumberg this fall as the newest members of the Teach for America corps. Few, however, will enter with her wealth of experience.

Von Schaumberg, a student from , will graduate from Scripps College, a women’s liberal arts institution in Claremont, Calif., in May. Throughout her college career, Von Schaumberg has worked with students locally and abroad.

For four summers, Von Schaumberg worked with Kent Denver’s Breakthrough Denver program, which provides additional educational opportunities for under-resourced students in middle school and urges older students to pursue careers in urban education. She says the experience exposed her to the realities and effects of the achievement gap.

“I saw firsthand ways disparities in education negatively impact students, families and communities,” Von Schaumberg said to Scripps College’s Lauren Prince. “The students I’ve worked with are beyond incredible; they continually inspire me, make me laugh and push me to advocate for equitable access to educational opportunities for all students.”

Von Schaumberg also spent a semester in Cape Town, , teaching math-enrichment classes to eighth-graders. In 2011, administered the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study assessment to ninth-grade students. The assessment is designed for eighth-graders. ’s results placed the nation second to last when compared with scores from 42 other countries.

During her time in South Africa, Von Schaumberg became active in the community. She took classes in the local language, poverty and development and social research methods. For her capstone project, she established a math resource center that included peer tutoring, textbooks and flash cards. She marveled at how much support she received for her efforts.

Von Schaumberg's classroom in Cape Town

Von Schaumberg’s classroom in Cape Town

“It was amazing to be a part of such a community,” Von Schaumberg told Prince. “I was shocked at how much support I received and how much I could accomplish in five months.”

The experience gave her insight into the discrepancy between third-world and first-world educations. She plans to bring that insight into her career as a teacher in the United States. Von Schaumberg will be teaching in Denver this fall.

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See The Change USA receives tax exempt status

See The Change USA announced its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status Wednesday, Feb. 26. is an organization based in Colorado Springs dedicated to providing age-appropriate courses to every middle school in the country.

Under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, all donations to See The Change USA are now fully tax-deductible retroactive to the company’s founding Aug. 23, 2012. Also, the organization is now eligible to apply for government and foundation grants, which will expand the organization’s resources and reach.

According to the 2012 results from the Programme for International Student Assessment, or , the United States ranks 21st in science and 26th in mathematics out of 34 countries. See The Change USA believes the problem stems from a lack of exposure to technical sciences, particularly physics, at earlier ages.

See The Change USA seeks to generate an interest in scientific and technological fields by introducing quality physics courses to students in middle school. In addition to meeting with faculty members once a week, See The Change USA provides curriculums, lesson plans and assistance to teachers. The goal is to inspire students to think critically about the world around them, a skill that See The Change USA officials believe will aid students beyond the classroom.

The organization is involved in seven schools, affecting 1,900 students and about 40 teachers. In a video accompanying the release, Corpus Christi Middle School announced that students gained two years in science on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills after four months in the program. Harrison School District noted that students entering the program two to three years behind in science finished more than a year ahead of grade level.

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See The Change USA’s President and CEO, Dave Csintyan, thanked the organization’s supporters while commenting on a brighter future for America and its students.

“Obtaining our 501(c)(3) status is a major milestone for See The Change USA. This opens many doors for us to expand our fundraising activities and fully realize our goals as a charitable educational organization,” Csintyan said. “In doing so, we will create a new generation of workforce-ready employees, (with) 21st-century skills and critical thinking skills, across all occupations and inspire our youth to pursue careers in science and technology.”

According to Maria Feekes, the vice president of operations for See The Change USA, the status change comes at an opportune moment. In a report released in 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor estimated that there would be 1.2 million job openings in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

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Stuart foundation donates $10 million to CSU Animal Cancer Center

The Stuart family has had several dogs treated for cancer at Colorado State University, including Keester, left, who is now undergoing treatment for a tumor of the nervous system.

The Stuart family has had several dogs treated for cancer at Colorado State University, including Keester, left, who is now undergoing treatment for a tumor of the nervous system. Credit: Colorado State University

Nan Stuart’s golden retriever, Keester, is a trained service dog that can perform emergency rescues from swift water and ice. When she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor off the spinal cord, the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center developed a radiation protocol and rehabilitation plan that alleviated her pain, dramatically improving her quality of life.

That CSU team, which Stuart has dubbed “Team Keester” is one of the reasons she and her family have donated $10 million to the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center. The donation is comes from The Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation, led by Nan and her sibling, Brett. The $10 million is the single largest contribution in the history of CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. The donation will nearly double operational funds for the center.

This donation is the latest gift in the Stuart family’s long relationship with CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. It all began in 1983 when E. Hadley Stuart, brought one of his golden retrievers to CSU for cancer treatment. Now, some 30-years later, the Stuart family has given around $22 million to the treatment center. Thanks in part to the generosity of the foundation, the Flint Animal Cancer Center boasts the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets. The family has had such an impact on the center, Dr. Stephen Withrow, the founder of the center and a surgical oncologist, often refers to the Animal Cancer Center as the “House that Hadley built.”

The Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation was created by the heirs of food-industry giant, Carnation Milk Products Co. Carnation also prioritized animal care with the promise of “milk from contented cows.” The late Hadley Stuart’s family continues the Stuart legacy by funding research for canine cancer treatment.

The focus isn’t just on animals however. The research done by the Flint Animal Cancer Center often provides new approaches in human cancer treatment. For instance, Dr. Withrow created a technique for treating tumors in the long bones of dogs without severing the canines’ limbs. Not only did Withrow’s technique revolutionize treatment of osteosarcoma – the scientific term for the condition – in dogs, but it has also been adapted at human cancer centers.

The Center’s Director and medical oncologist Dr. Rodney Page says that the funding provides a wide-range of opportunities for the center to revolutionize cancer treatment.

“This level of support sets the cancer center on a sustainable path as a leading innovator in translational cancer research and patient care,” Page said. “It creates possibilities for pursuing exciting opportunities in cancer care and cancer research in perpetuity.”

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University of Colorado Denver offers free lecture series on arts, architecture, STEM

The is introducing a new Mini-School for Arts and Architecture alongside the return of its popular Mini- School.

CU Denver introduced the Mini-STEM School last year, with the goal of using unorthodox teaching to generate interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the so-called STEM fields. The program was a hit.

Each program will feature eight lectures that explore new ways to understand various disciplines. The lectures are 50 minutes long with a 30-minute question and answer period at the end. The Mini-STEM School will host lectures on Tuesdays nights starting this Tuesday. While the Arts and Architecture school will run on Thursdays beginning this Thursday. Programs are free and open to the public and class begins at 7 p.m.

Inspired by the popular CU Mini Medical School on the Anchutz Campus, the Mini-STEM and Mini Arts and Architecture schools step away from conventional textbook learning and provide a way for students, of any age, to experience learning in a way that is understandable and will inspire them. Members of the CU Denver faculty will give lectures on a variety of topics ranging from the STEM school’s “Not in Our Genes– A different kind of Inheritance” and “Mining the Mesmerizing Miraculous Mysteries of Mathematics…for Art!” to the Mini- School for Arts and Architecture’s “Advancing Community Identity Through Historic Preservation.”

Those who register with CU Denver beforehand will receive a Certificate of Participation if they attend six of the eight lectures. Walk-ins will only be accepted on a space available basis.

Last year, more than 300 people registered for the lectures. The school attracted scholars of all ages ranging from 7 to 87.

Inge Wefes, the associate dean for CU Denver’s Graduate School, believes the school went a long way in dispelling some of the myths about STEM careers.

“The key is to revise some prejudice about STEM subjects, such as ‘you have to be super smart to do well in science,’ or ‘math is hard and boring,’” said Wefes.

The Mini-STEM School will be held in the Baerresen Ballroom in the Tivoli Building and the Mini-School for Arts and Architecture will be held at St. Cajetan’s on the Auraria Campus.

For more information visit: http://gswebapps.ucdenver.edu/ministem/ for the STEM school, and http://gswebapps.ucdenver.edu/miniarts/ for the Arts and Architecture school.

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Twenty teams from Denver Public Schools to compete in the Aspen Challenge

Twenty teams of students from Denver high schools will participate this week in the Aspen Challenge, a two-day forum where students will be given an opportunity to work with notable figures to create real-life solutions to some of the world’s most serious problems.

Speakers ranging from Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet will speak with students and issue the eight-member teams a challenge, calling on students to work together to design an implementable solution to a pressing, real-world concern.

In all, more than 200 competitors from Denver Public Schools, including teachers and principals, will participate in the challenge.

The Aspen Challenge — created by the Aspen Institute and the Bezos Family Foundation, who this year teamed up with Denver Public Schools — will be Thursday and Friday at the Cable Center in Denver. Teams will present their challenge solutions before a panel of judges in March, where three finalists will be chosen to present in June at the 10th annual Aspen Ideas Festival.

The Aspen Challenge began in 2013 in California with 20 schools from the Los Angeles Unified School District and has this year expanded to Denver, where other local speakers include Colorado’s Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia and Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg. For a full list of speakers and additional details, visit theaspenchallenge.org.

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