Travels: Checking In On Denver's School Reform Movement
#edcolo @ednews There wasn't nearly enough time to do everything I wanted to do while I was in Denver -- thanks for all the suggestions! -- but I did get to see some interesting things. The feature event was a chance to talk about school turnarounds at an event hosted by a bunch of organizations including A+ Denver, Get Smart Schools, Donnell-Kay Foundation, and the Colorado Education Association. (They know turnarounds here. The attempt to rescue Manual High School was one of the most-watched [New Yorker, 5280] turnaround efforts of the last decade, the Central Falls of 2007-2008.) Afterwards it was fun to meet and/or hang out a bit with Denver's close-knit school reform mafia (Van Schoales, Mariah Dickson, Rob Stein, Alicia Economos, Tony Lewis, Kristina Tabor, Rob Kellogg, among others). The next day I got a tour of one of the 3 DSST charter schools, combined middle-high schools that feature a big focus on building community culture and a relatively high degree of student diversity for a charter school. I also got to see the Lake Middle School turnaround, part of the local district-charter compact that features a district-run IB school sharing a building and doing coordinated recruitment with a charter school (West Denver Prep) that gives priority for neighborhood kids and allows midyear transfers. And it was great to catch up with Alan Gottlieb and Kristina Tabor to talk about what makes for good education blogging and to hear about all the interesting things going on at EdNews Colorado, which features in-depth journalism that few other education sites offer. Anyway, it seems like there's lots going on in Denver. There's a board election that could alter the current 4-3 alliance that supports the current superintendent. Former President Bush and his Bush Institute team were in town to talk education. I should be paying more attention, and perhaps so should you.