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June Cherry Creek News p1-12

June Cherry Creek News p1-12

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With News of the Heart of Denver
Hilltop • Belcaro • Bonnie Brae • Glendale • Country Club • Cherry Creek
Volume 9 Issue 6 June 26, 2009
Lowry Newsp. 12
 
The Cherry Creek News
 
& central denver dispatch
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wrote in an e-mail to students, facultyand staff. “At DU, personal choice isa part of personal growth. Our mindsand hearts are shaped by the values of our community but are not regulated by them.”The task force originally recom-mended a complete ban on the use orpossession of all tobacco products oncampus.Coombe told the campus commu-nity that second hand tobacco smokeis a clear public health issue and it isreasonable to address both the task force proposal and our current policyin that light. Data suggest that secondhand smoke can have adverse healtheffects within a distance of 25 feet.A special exception will be grantedfor events at the Newman Center forthe Performing Arts and the RitchieCenter for Sports and Wellness venuesused by the public at large. For thesetwo venues located on the campusperimeter smoking will continue to be banned within the buildings, but des-ignated smoking areas will be madeavailable outside the buildings, at anappropriate distance from entrancesand exits, during public events.The task force’s recommendationswere presented to the chancellor lastwinter with its recommendations anda supporting petition signed by nearly1,900 members of the University com-munity.
With a Stanford University reportcirculating that attacks the perfor-mance of charter schools, and anotherreport from the Colorado Children’sCampaign and other organizationscalling “current achievement levelsdismal,” the Denver Public SchoolBoard has approved ten new schools,nine of them charters. The approvalhas some parent activists attacking theprocess as flawed.The methodologically weak Children’s Campaign report, carriesthe political freight going into the fallschool board campaign with an alarm-ist description of the current state of affairs. Alex Medler, one of the report’sauthors and long-time charter schoolanalyst/advocate argues that thereport is an apt and accessible recita-tion of the available data. Medler has been quoted as saying his “primaryinterest is studying strategic coali-tions and building a broader coalitionthat can better support quality char-ter schools.” The Colorado Children’sCampaign and MOP are both funded by the Donnel-Kay Foundation, andDonnel-Kay Executive Director TonyLewis is both on the A+ Denver boardand the sponsor of charter applicantEnvision Schools.“Our community faces a crisis andthe people of this city need to knowthat,” said Federico Peña, Chairman
Inside the
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Pull and save Julyfree events calendar
page 10
• DPS responds on Algebra
page 2
• Jewish Festival of Love
page
5
 
The Bridgewater Grill
 
page 13
A Matter of Interpretaton
page 15
For years, Colorado tourists andgamblers have been wishing for morecasino games and the ability to betand win more. And, for the benefit of the state’s community college system,Colorado voters granted the wish.Next month Colorado’s 17-year-
Denver approves newschools amid protests
Change in law bringsbig changes to casinoscommunity college funding
of the Board of A+ Denver and for-mer Denver Mayor. “We have a schoolsystem that is going to require majorchange to give the students in ourcommunity the education they bothneed and deserve. And that will requiresignificant public and political will,” headded. Just why there is a suggested deficitof political will in pursuing reformsis unclear. But there is opposition onthe school board to some of the newschools. The successful applications metwith nearly unanimous board votes.According to the Children’sCampaign, DPS Superintendent TomBoasberg told those attending the reportpresentation, “this report highlights theneed to accelerate the reforms underwayin the Denver Public Schools. Thoughwe are making progress in key areas,the status quo is profoundly unaccept-able. We need to work closely with ourfamilies, our students and our teachersto speed up the pace of improvementin our schools so that every one of our students has the opportunity tograduate from high school and attendcollege.”Yet, while district energies focus onnew schools, the vast majority of DPSstudents still are in traditional schools,of which there are nearly a hundredrated low or unsatisfactory.
see DPS on
page 12
see CASINO on
page 3
This 3-year-old female Siberian tiger, named Koshka (Koosh-kuh), arrived at
Denver Zoo in December and is now on public exhibit. Photo: Dave Parsons/Denver
Zoo
old gaming laws will get an upgrade.With the state facing a massive bud-get gap, higher education has been suf-fering, particularly the community col-lege system, which has a limited abilityto increase tuition. The strain is madegreater by the number of people whoare seeking new job skills, particularlythose out of work or facing a careerchange. Community colleges have become vital economic cogs, preppingworkers to attract new companies andinvestment to Colorado.
Staff 
 Joining a growing number of col-lege campuses, the University of Denver has put an end to cigarettesat school. Between higher taxes andfewer smoking venues, smokers arefeeling the pinch of the anti-tobaccotide.Smoking will not be allowed onthe DU campus effective Jan. 1, 2010except for an area 25 feet from publicperimeter rights-of-way. ChancellorRobert Coombe informed the cam-pus community of his decision onThursday following a recommenda-tion by the DU Tobacco Task Force,which has been studying the issue of smoking on campus for more than ayear.The task force was not assembled by University administration, but wasled by Dr. Sam Alexander, executivedirector of University Health Services.The group’s objective was to developand recommend new policies govern-ing the use of tobacco on campus,focusing on the health and well-beingof the University Community. Thecurrent policy bans smoking withinall University buildings and outsideof buildings within 25 feet of entranc-es and exits.“In considering the proposed fulltobacco ban, it is important to notethat while the University has rulesand regulations governing the con-duct of its students, faculty, and staff and policies in keeping with currentlaw, it does not regulate legal per-sonal choice unless such choice hasa deleterious effect on the commu-nity as a whole,” Chancellor Coombe
DU snuffs out campus smokes
 
 
Cherry Creek News
 
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June 26, 2009Page 2
 
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Congratulations to the 3,000 stu-dents who graduated from DenverPublic Schools this year! Unfortunately,however, another 3,000 failed to gradu-ate. For the first time, Denver’s gradua-tion rates fell below 50%this year, to49.5%. Thismeans thathalf of thestudentswho startedas freshmenfour yearsago failed tograduate thisspring.Whetherthe cup is half-empty or half-full, weshould not be content with these cir-cumstances in our community.Graduation rates vary somewhatamong different schools in the city.The highest rates this year were at theDenver School of the Arts and DenverCenter for International Studies (DCIS),where the graduation rate was nearly100%. For South graduation rates werenearly 70% and for George Washingtonthey were nearly 80%.I recently spoke with a researchanalyst at Denver Public Schools tocheck the accuracy of the 50% gradu-ation rate. I was hoping that therewas some kind of statistical misunder-standing. Perhaps the 50% didn’t counttransfers or some other factor. No, theysaid, it was a real number, at least forhigh school diplomas. Transfers werecounted, although the number did notinclude students who received a GED,which would bring the number withdiplomas or GED’s to 58%.It’s no secret that, on average, kidswho do not graduate from high schoolget jobs that pay far less than thosewho graduate. High school graduates,on average, make $1 million more dur-ing their lifetime than non-graduates.People with college degrees fare even better, in terms of career opportunities.At a recent luncheon, Denver PublicSchool Superintendent Tom Boasbergsaid , “This is an age in which thefailure to graduate is a condemnationto a second tier of economic citizen-ship.” Boasberg and others are callingfor a new emphasis on keeping kids inschool and helping them graduate.So what can we do? Well, DPS isworking on several fronts to reducedropouts and increase graduation rates.A study released this spring showed thatmost dropouts showed early signs of failure in the 9th grade, so many effortsare aimed at 9th graders. Working withgroups like Goodwill, Denver Kids andColorado Youth at Risk, DPS is tryingto identify kids with the potential todrop out early and provide mentoring,tutoring and other assistance to helpthem be successful.As a community, we cannot affordto have so many kids entering adult-hood without a high school diploma.It’s time to rally around DPS and thenonprofit groups that help kids succeedin school. When these kids are success-ful we all benefit.
— Dong Linkhart is a Denver CityCouncilman at-large
Time to Improve Graduation Rates
Denver Public Schools has respondedto a parent activist on the issue of MiddleSchool algebra— see the May issue of theCherry Creek News online for much more.
Dear Ms. Witter:Thank you for your interest in theDenver Public Schools’ approach to teach-ing algebra at the eighth grade level. Please be assured, the DPS sets high expectationsfor all of its students and is stronglycommitted to making sure that all of oureighth graders take algebra and are wellprepared to succeed in high school andcollege mathematics.There should be no debate on howimportant algebra is for eighth graders.It’s absolutelyessential. The ques-tion is: what’s the best way to deliveralgebra instructionto our students?In the DPS,eighth graders take algebra using unitsfrom the Connected Mathematics (CMP)curriculum. And the decision to use thatas the district’s common math curriculumwas made after a thorough, data-drivenevaluation.Connected Mathematics is aligned withthe Colorado Model Content Standards forMathematics, and it was developed by theNational Science Foundation after rigor-ous research. Its principles are consistentwith the recommendations of the NationalCouncil of Teachers of Mathematics, andnumerous research studies have been con-ducted on student achievement resultsusing CMP. These studies include field-test reports (evaluation), external researchreports, and state and district data. Studieshave focused on achievement across awide spectrum of student demographics.Three studies are particularly relevant tothe algebra conversation in Denver. First,a University of Missouri study found thatCMP students scored significantly higheron algebra items than did a group of simi-lar students, many of whom were enrolledin an Algebra 1 course. Second, in TraverseCity, Mich., the percent of students whopassed Advanced Placement Calculus andAdvanced Placement Statistics increaseddramatically in 2001, the first year thatthose AP students had completed CMPin grades 6-8. Third, a research study of the Madison School District in Arizonashowed that after implementation of CMP,the percentage of eighth graders whoqualified for Honors Geometry (based ona placement exam) increased.As Denver moved to district-wideimplementation of CMP, eight univer-sity and college mathematics profes-sors sent a letter supporting the useof Connected Mathematics in middleschools. Schools included (are)Universityof Colorado at Boulder, Colorado Schoolof Mines, University of Colorado atDenver, University of Northern Colorado,Metropolitan State College of Denver, andUniversity of Southern Colorado.This is the right mathematics curricu-lum for our students.And it is backed up by a strong systemto monitor our students’ progress. DPSeighth graders take an Algebra 1 test inMay. Results from the test, along withother indicators (grades,proficiency on ProgressReport Indicators, profi-ciency with algebra bigideas, and interest andmotivation to accelerate inmathematics) determinecompletion of the Algebra 1 requirementfor graduation. Students who completethis requirement enroll in ninth gradegeometry. Students who do not completethis requirement in eighth grade enroll inAlgebra 1 in high school.And the number of DPS students suc-ceeding in high school algebra is increas-ing. For the 2008-09 school year, the per-centage of students passing algebra at thehigh school level jumped by 6 percentagepoints.In all subjects, the DPS is committedto establishing high academic standardsfor all students, providing rich and rig-orous programs, and ensuring that theright data-driven academic framework and supports are in place to help studentssucceed.We are committed to an ongoingcycle of continuous improvement, andwe annually assess our student progressand adjust our strategies to better supportstudent achievement. DPS also providesan opportunity for schools with proventrack records of success and growth tosupplement the district’s common cur-riculum with accelerated programs. DPSappreciates and relies on communityinvolvement in our schools, and we look forward to continued dialog on how bestto support our diverse student populationand help them succeed in high school and beyond.Ana Tilton, Ed.D.Chief Academic Officer
DPS responds on middleschool Algebra
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The 9th grade algebrapass rate increased from63% to 69% over the pasttwo school years.
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Cherry Creek News
 
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June 26, 2009Page 3
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Central City.”The gaming enhancements offeredfrom Colorado’s three gaming townswill create new revenue for the 13colleges in Colorado’s community col-lege system without raising taxes forColorado residents. Beginning July2, Colorado Community Collegeswill receive 78 percent of the gamingtax revenue, specifically directed tostudent financial aid and classroominstruction. Twenty two percent willgo to Gilpin and Teller counties and itsgaming towns, according to the pro-portion of incremental revenue.“With the four-lane Central CityParkway already in place, Coloradotaxpayers need not be burdened withthe expense of creating additionalroads to Black Hawk and Central City.This is a big plus to the visitors whowant to enjoy any additional hours,higher bet limits and new games likecraps and roulette and take a safe,modern highway,” Behm added.Casinos are gearing up for thechange over. Many are offering spe-cials, but one of Colorado’s standbysis celebrating the new limits with aparty and special gifts. On Wednesday, July 1 at 8 p.m. thru Thursday, July2 Fortune Valley Hotel & Casino willhave a kick-off bash to usher in thenew laws. Live music, complimentaryvalet, a commemorative gaming chip,and prizes are all part of the festivi-ties. RSVP at www.fortunevalleyca-sino.com/party.Amendment 50 allowed CentralCity, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to vote to extend the hours of operationof casinos, to add the games of rou-lette and/or craps, and to increase theamount of money that can be wageredon any single bet from $5 up to a maxi-mum of $100. Amendment 50 exemptsthe revenue raised from new gaminglimits from state and local revenue andspending limits. The state anticipatesan additional $84 million in revenueover the next two fiscal years.The expansion in games and bettingwill also allow the Native Americancasinos in state’s southwest corner tomatch the new limits.
Sea change comes toColorado casinos
On July 2, Amendment 50 willtake effect in Central City, CrippleCreek and Black Hawk, where therewill be 24 hour gaming, the additionof roulette and craps, and $100 maxi-mum bet limits.Each of the three towns had to voteto approve the changes.The nearly unanimous vote byCentral City residents in January wasabout building momentum and jobopportunities in Central City. The his-toric mountain town expects a 10 per-cent increase in the overall workforce,adding jobs when the economy isshedding them by the thousands.It also gives Colorado a boost fromplayers who had otherwise been mak-ing trips to Las Vegas, in search of moregames or bigger bets. While Coloradoremains a limited stakes gaming state,the changes match what customersand voters wanted— especially aftervoters had rejected previous proposedchanges in Colorado gaming laws.“This is a win-win for both CentralCity and Colorado community col-leges,” said Joe Behm, president of theCentral City Business ImprovementDistrict. “With plans for two new casi-nos, we are already seeing a boost for
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