Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New education commissioner has interesting past

Posted By on Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 1:26 PM

Richard Crandall
  • Richard Crandall
The Colorado State Board of Education has unanimously appointed a new Commissioner of Education, Richard Crandall.

Interestingly, Crandall was previously the Director of the Wyoming Department of Education before he was booted out of office by the Wyoming Supreme Court. Crandall was appointed in summer of 2013, following state legislation that took oversight of the education department from an elected superintendent (Cindy Hill) and gave it to an appointed director (Crandall).

But when she found herself stripped of her powers, Hill sued and won. Hill got her job back and Crandall was sent packing in summer 2014.

Crandall, a moderate Republican, also served as an Arizona state legislator from 2007-2013, where he was the education chairman in both the state Senate and House. Chalkbeat Colorado notes that Crandall "played a key role in ushering in major changes to education policy in Arizona, including backing the state’s adoption of the Common Core state standards and crafting a teacher evaluation law."

Chalkbeat also noted that Crandall is very aware of the challenges in Colorado, particularly around standardized testing. That challenge will only be greater because the nation's most important education law was recently rewritten to shift more power and responsibilities to states from the federal government. Chalkbeat notes:

Crandall signaled an openness to move Colorado away from the Common Core and its membership in PARCC, the multi-state testing effort. At the same time, he praised the importance of high academic standards and the value of comparing test results from several states.
The 48-year-old Crandall has also served a school board member and the president of Mesa Public Schools.

A press release also notes that:

[Crandall] is currently the president and founder of CN Resource, which provides oversight and audit services of USDA child nutrition programs for state education agencies. He is also the chief financial officer and partner of Crandall Corporate Dietitians, the nation’s largest provider of consulting dietitian services to long-term care and assisted living facilities. Crandall, age 48, is studying for a doctorate in education from Northern Arizona University and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Brigham Young University. He is a licensed school nutrition specialist and a certified public accountant. 
Crandall has seven children and six step-children. He replaces Robert Hammond, who retired last summer.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CC gets $8.5 million gift

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 2:49 PM

  • File photo
An anonymous donor has given Colorado College $8.5 million.

The gift, one of the largest in the college's history, will be used to construct a building for innovation and to permanently endow a chaired professorship in innovation.

Read on for the details:
Donor Gives Colorado College $8.5 Million for Innovation

Commitment supports innovation facility, chaired professorship

Colorado Springs, Colorado — Dec. 15, 2015 — Colorado College has received an $8.5 million commitment that will provide support for the development of an innovation program, including funds for building construction and a chaired professorship in innovation.

This commitment, which is one of the largest gifts in Colorado College’s history, comes after Forbes listed the college third on its “Most Entrepreneurial College in America” list and U.S. News & World Report ranked CC first for innovation among national liberal arts colleges.

“Colorado College is becoming a nationally recognized leader in innovation. So this commitment is not only extraordinarily generous, its timing could not be better,” said CC President Jill Tiefenthaler. “The funding will help us to make real and significant progress toward this important priority, which is highlighted in the college’s strategic plan.”

The anonymous donor cited the college’s unique approach to innovation.

“Colorado College weaves innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the liberal arts,” said the donor. “My goal in making this gift is to obliterate silos and ensure that Colorado College students from all academic backgrounds are equipped and given the opportunity to realize their dreams while changing the world in significant, positive ways.”

Of the $8.5 million, $6 million is directed toward a $15 million building for innovation. Current plans for the facility include a product realization laboratory, a recording studio, an idea space and a food ecology laboratory.

Colorado College plans to raise another $8 million before breaking ground on the new building. In the meantime, the innovation program will continue to operate out of the Morreale Carriage House located on the CC campus.

In addition to providing funds for the building, the commitment includes $2.5 million to fund and permanently endow a chaired professorship in innovation.

Patrick Bultema, the college’s executive director of innovation, will become the initial chair.

“Our innovation program provides a foundation for translating the analytical thinking, problem solving and creativity of the liberal arts into action,” Bultema said. “This gift will allow us to intensify our focus and build one of the most forward-thinking programs and spaces for innovative action and entrepreneurial exploration.”

“The gift will have an enormous impact on Colorado College,” Tiefenthaler said. “It affirms our strategic commitment to innovation and provides significant momentum to funding the new building.”

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its approximately 2,000 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Helen Thorpe, Jeff Hobbs to talk race and inequality at CC

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 5:02 PM

Jeff Hobbs
  • Jeff Hobbs
Helen Thorpe
  • Helen Thorpe
Catch a talk by two amazing authors tomorrow night free of charge at Colorado College.

Helen Thorpe, whom you may remember from her time as the first lady of Colorado (or Denver perhaps), and Jeff Hobbs will be speaking on race, class, inequality and youth.

Those subjects should be on the minds of Colorado College students, after two students were suspended recently for racist/mean-spirited comments made on Yik Yak. 

The event, part of CC's Visiting Writers Series, begins at 7 p.m. in Gaylord Hall on the main floor of the Worner Campus Center at 902 N. Cascade Ave.

Here's more information on the authors, from Colorado College:

Helen Thorpe is an award-winning journalist, author of “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America,” and Time magazine's number one nonfiction book of 2014, “Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and At War.” Jeff Hobbs is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.” Both authors have written eloquently about inequality, poverty, urban life, and race.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

UCCS to mark its 50th anniversary

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 3:09 PM

  • Tom Kimmell
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has long been preparing to mark its 50th anniversary Thursday night.

Governor John Hickenlooper and Mayor John Suthers will be among the attendees at tonight's celebration. Sadly, it won't be quite as jovial as was originally hoped. The celebration comes just one day before the funeral service for UCCS Police Officer Garrett Swasey, one of three people killed at the Nov. 27 Planned Parenthood shooting and the first UCCS police officer to die in the line of duty.

The University will acknowledge Swasey in the ceremony, which takes place at 5:30 p.m in Berger Hall.
COLORADO SPRINGS – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and a former chancellor who advised U.S. President Bill Clinton will be honored guests at a Dec. 3 celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UCCS.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in Berger Hall, UCCS faculty, staff and community leaders including Hickenlooper, Suthers and members of the Colorado legislative delegation, will gather to officially end a yearlong celebration dedicated to the 50th anniversary of UCCS. Throughout the fall semester, UCCS celebrated its 1965 founding with a series of events including speakers, time capsule openings, alumni events, parades and a fundraising gala. The program was changed to include recognition for UCCS Police Officer Garrett Swasey, the first UCCS police officer to die in the line of duty. Swasey was killed Nov. 27. His funeral service is scheduled for Dec. 4.

“We are humbled to have served the educational needs of southern Colorado for 50 years,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said. “And we are honored that current leaders of our state, city and campus will join us in recognizing this milestone and remind us of the value of higher education to the future of our state.”

Hickenlooper will deliver a proclamation declaring Dec. 3 as “UCCS 50th Day” and offer brief remarks. Suthers, a former instructor of criminal justice at UCCS, is also expected to offer brief remarks about the social and economic impact of UCCS on Colorado Springs. They will be joined by Neal Lane, Houston, who served as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology under President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001.

Lane was UCCS chancellor from 1984 to 1985, leaving to serve as provost at Rice University, Houston. He now serves as a physics and public policy lecturer at Rice and serves on the board of advisers of Scientists and Engineers for America. In 2009, Lane received the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.

On June 15, 1964, then Colorado Governor John Love signed legislation that allowed the University of Colorado to assume custody of the defunct 80-acre Cragmor Sanatorium property. On Oct. 13, 1964, the $1 sale of the Cragmor property was announced and the Colorado General Assembly appropriated funds that allowed campus operations to open in Jan. 1965.

From its original 80 acres, UCCS has expanded to control more than 400 acres between North Nevada Avenue and Union Boulevard in northeast Colorado Springs. The campus now boasts six colleges, is ranked among the top Western regional public universities, and enrolls more than 11,000 students in on-campus programs and another 2,000 students in online programs.

To see a timeline of UCCS growth and details of other 50th anniversary events, visit

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in Colorado. The university offers 39 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 11,300 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs. For more information, visit

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

These schools are the best bet for vets

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 12:44 PM

  • Shutterstock

My husband's grandfather fought in World War II, where he helped free a concentration camp.

It was a defining moment for him, but painful enough that he didn't talk much about it until recently. Now, in his 90s, he's reconnected with some of his war buddies, written down memories from the war, and collected pictures from that time period to share with his family. It's amazing to listen to him talk about the war, and to learn how that experience shaped him into the person he became.

But David's life wasn't just that war. He was lucky enough to come home from those battles, to father four children with his wonderful wife, and to have a career as a school principal. On Veterans Day, we often think only of soldiers at war. But like David, most of them come home with their entire lives ahead of them.

So, what happens then? Well, certainly many vets want to further their education so they can enter a career of their choice, but vets have special needs and challenges. That's why the Military Times releases an annual list of the Top 175 colleges for veterans. This year's list doesn't put any Colorado school in the highest rank, but many of our state's colleges were good enough to make the list. 

In a Top 125 list of 4-year colleges (in which the University of Nebraska at Omaha took the No. 1 spot), Colorado State University (in Fort Collins) took No. 13, University of Colorado at Denver / Anschutz Medical Campus took No. 27, Metropolitan State University of Denver took No. 49, and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs took No. 90. In a Top 25 of Online and Nontraditional Schools, Colorado Technical University took No. 17. And, in a Top 25 of 2-year Schools, Pikes Peak Community College took No. 17. 

The Military Times says it uses a complex formula to rank the schools:

As always, we used a rigorous, more-than-120-question survey to evaluate schools. In addition, newly released public data allowed us to consider more information, from more sources, than ever before as part of the process.

We pulled data from the Veterans Affairs Department, Defense Department and three Education Department databases for information on everything from veteran-related policies to average salaries after graduation.
(To learn more about what makes a school succeed with veterans, read the entire Military Times article here.)

While it may not have been at the very top of the pack, UCCS was excited to place in the contest for the second year in a row. A press release noted, "UCCS has an estimated 2,000 students who are veterans, active duty or have ties to the military. The university is in the process of expanding office space dedicated to assisting veterans and has implemented numerous programs and training to help faculty assist veterans with their transition into the classroom."

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia stepping down

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 9:52 AM

The governor's office has provided the following statement:

Lt. Gov. Garcia to join Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education

DENVER — Tuesday, Nov.10, 2015 — Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia today announced that Lt. Gov. Garcia has accepted a position as president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. He will leave his dual role, which includes executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), and plans to begin with WICHE sometime before July 1, 2016.

“I want to thank Gov. Hickenlooper and the State of Colorado for the incredible opportunity to work on important policy issues for the last five years,” said Garcia. “This was a difficult decision but education has always been my passion. I look forward to carrying the message of opportunity, college completion and workforce development throughout the West.”

“Joe will be nearly impossible to replace,” said Hickenlooper. “He has been an exceptional lieutenant governor and in leading education efforts for Colorado. He has given five years selflessly to the success of this state and the future education of our children. We are grateful and wish him continued success.”

Before he was elected lieutenant governor, Garcia was president of Colorado State University - Pueblo. He also served as president of the second-largest community college in Colorado, Pikes Peak Community College and as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Representative for the Rocky Mountain States; Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies; and was named the first Hispanic partner in the 100-year history of the law firm, Holme Roberts & Owen.

Lt. Gov. Garcia has been actively involved throughout his career as a board member for many non-profit agencies such as the YMCAs of Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver; Pikes Peak Legal Aid; the Colorado Springs and Pueblo Economic Development Agencies; The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (where he served as board president); the Pikes Peak Child Nursery Centers Inc.; the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; and numerous other civil rights, educational, and cultural organizations. He earned a business degree from the University of Colorado and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.

In the event of a vacancy, the governor nominates the lieutenant governor who takes office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both houses according to the Colorado constitution.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and its 16 members work collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all citizens of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy among states and institutions, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Its programs – Student Exchange, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, Policy Analysis and Research, and Mental Health and several other interstate collaborations – are working to find answers to some of the most critical questions facing higher education today. WICHE’s 16 members include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the U.S. Pacific territories and freely associated states (the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is the first of the group to participate).
——- ORIGINAL POST, TODAY, 9:52 A.M. ——-

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia - BRYAN OLLER
  • Bryan Oller
  • Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia has announced he will step down to accept a position as president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, several news outlets are reporting.

Before becoming lieutenant governor, Garcia served as president of Colorado State University-Pueblo and, before that, Pikes Peak Community College. While lieutenant governor, he has served concurrently as executive director of the state Department of Higher Education. Back in 2013, the Independent's Ralph Routon wrote that Garcia was the "rising star" of the Pikes Peak region, and was likely to be pursued for an opening in the president's cabinet. 

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CC: Let's talk about death

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 6:17 PM

Nathan Dunlap killed four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese in 1993. He's on death row, but Gov. John Hickenlooper has given him a temporary reprieve.
  • Nathan Dunlap killed four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese in 1993. He's on death row, but Gov. John Hickenlooper has given him a temporary reprieve.

If you want to get people riled up but you're sick of talking about abortion, the death penalty is always a good backup.

We just can't seem to agree whether the state of Colorado should be allowed to kill people. The questions are numerous: Are the drug cocktails common in executions "cruel and unusual"? Do we tend to execute people of color for the same crimes that white people serve prison time? Why does someone like James Holmes get life in prison, while others get the death penalty for lesser crimes? Is the death penalty a deterrent? Does it provide healing for the families of victims? Is it fair? And how many innocent people are we killing?

That last question is coming into full focus with Oklahoma prisoner Richard Glossip once again scheduled for execution, despite abundant evidence that he's not guilty of hiring another man to kill his boss. (If you're not familiar with the case, you can read about it here.)

Colorado College is apparently ready to dive into the weeds on the subject. The school is hosting a three-day series on the death penalty. It's open to the public, and more details are below:

The Colorado College History Department is hosting a three-day series of presentations on “Addressing Capital Punishment” for the campus and community. Cornell University Professor of History Paul Friedland will speak on “Why States Kill: The History of Capital Punishment from the Medieval to the Modern” at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 30) in Colorado College’s Worner Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave.

Thursday evening, San Quentin Prison Chaplain George Williams, S.J. will speak on “The Cost of Killing: Dimensions of Capital Punishment,” 7 p.m. in Colorado College’s Slocum Commons, 130 E. Cache La Poudre St. Finally, Friedland and Williams will lead a dialogue on “Does Capital Punishment Make Sense: Historical and Ethical Perspectives” at noon Friday in the Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

The panel will be moderated by former Colorado College President Richard Celeste and followed by a luncheon and small group conversations in Worner Center. For more information, contact Joanna Popiel at (719) 389-6523.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ACT scores flat

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 11:21 AM

  • Ryan McGilchrist

The Colorado American College Test (ACT) scores have been released, and they are generally flat.

The state administers the ACT to all high school juniors, and the results are often used to assess a student's readiness for college. Colleges also often use the scores as part of their admissions process. The 2015 composite score on the test, statewide, is 20.1, down from 20.3 in 2014. The highest possible score on the test is 36. 

According to the Princeton Review, "The national average for the current SAT is 1500. For the ACT, it's between 20 and 21. If you are close to these averages you will likely be accepted into a considerable number of colleges and universities (as long as you have decent grades), but may not be considered at more selective schools."

Chalkbeat Colorado worked the state data and came up with some interesting tidbits. (Read the whole article here.) Among them:

• The composite scores were 20.3 for females and 20 for males.

• Students who qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches had a composite score of 17.3.

• White students scored 21.7, while scores were 17.3 for Hispanics, 17.1 for blacks, 22 for Asians and 17.9 for American Indians.

• Students with non-English language backgrounds scored 13.7.

• Students receiving Title I services, with individual education plans and other special services scored 16.8.

• Immigrant students scored 15.7.
Chalkbeat also has a great tool that allows you to look up the scores at your school or district. I went ahead and did a little of the legwork for you. Here's a few composite scores for local districts:

• Academy District 20: 22.4

• Colorado Springs School District 11: 19

• Harrison School District 2: 18.3

• Cheyenne Mountain School District 12: 24

• Falcon School District 49: 18.7

* Manitou Springs School District 14: 20.9

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Friday, August 7, 2015

GOP wants to run local school boards

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 10:12 AM

GOP wants to run the schools using party politics. - BRYAN MCDONALD
  • Bryan McDonald
  • GOP wants to run the schools using party politics.
The El Paso County Republican Party is campaigning to recruit candidates to run for school board positions in November.

But voters should think twice before putting the GOP in charge of education. Kansas, under the cataclysmic guidance of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, has done that for several years, and they have a disaster on their hands after legislators slashed teacher pay and undermined the retirement plan, according to a recent story on Huffington Post.

Moreover, Republicans are responsible for passing laws in our neighbor state to the east that can make teachers into criminals, based on the teaching materials they use. Not a very good way attract top quality educators.

From the HP story:
Amid what some see as attempts to de-professionalize teaching — in February a bill passed the state Senate that would make it easier to jail teachers for teaching materials deemed offensive, while another new program lifts teacher licensure requirements in certain districts — some superintendents say teacher morale is at an all-time low. 
In Colorado, teacher pay is nothing to celebrate. According to, Colorado ranks 24th out of the 50 states with a starting salary of $32,126 and average teacher salaries of $49,844.

And, of course, the push to deconstruct the public school system and shift that funding to private and parochial schools remains a prime mission for Republicans.

So, if you're interested in being part of that effort, here's the letter that went out late yesterday:
Fellow Republicans,

Upcoming school board elections provide outstanding opportunities to positively influence our county's youth, contribute to your local community's success, and gain valuable experience in campaigns and governance.

In particular, districts such as Colorado Springs School District 11 need strong, thoughtful, and bold conservative leadership. If you are interested in running for an open position in your school district in this November's election, we want to hear from you. Let’s help elect people who believe that educational standards should emanate from their own communities instead of from Washington.

For more information, please contact Daniel Cole at before Wednesday, August 12.


Jeff Hays
Chairman, El Paso County Republican Party 

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mike Miles resigns in Dallas

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Miles: On the road again. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Miles: On the road again.
Controversial school superintendent Mike Miles resigned today from Dallas public schools, drawing cheers from some and words of sorrow from others.

He served as Harrison School District 2  ("School house rocked," May 13, 2010) superintendent here some years ago and made an unsuccessful bid for Senate. He left for Dallas in 2012.

He says he's headed back here in this coverage from the Dallas Morning News, which reports he recently had a contract dispute. He resigned, news agencies are reporting, without a severance payoff and without another job waiting in the wings.

Miles made friends and enemies all over the place. Here's an announcement of his resignation from Dallas schools that landed in our in-box a few minutes ago.

Diane Ravitch's blog

BREAKING NEWS: Mike Miles Resigns as Dallas Superintendent
by dianeravitch

Mike Miles, the controversial superintendent of the Dallas public schools, resigned. He was a military man, trained by the unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy.

When he arrived in Dallas, he announced ambitious goals, including significant gains in test scores. He fired many principals, closed schools, demoralized teachers (who left in droves), pushed school choice, instituted pay-for-performane, appointed large numbers of young TFA to high-level administrative positions (including the director of human tesources, hired at age 28, fired at age 30 for improprieties), evaluated teachers by test scores: the whole reform play book, but achieved none of his goals. After three years, test scores (the golden ring of reformers) were flat or declining.

Teacher turnover and flight from DISD reached unprecedented numbers. The atmosphere became so toxic that Miles moved his family back to Colorado, presumably for their safety.
One of the lowest points in his three-year tenure was when he directed police officers to remove a school board member from a high school in her district, where she was visiting.
His supporters were disappointed and called it "a sad day."

Others, no doubt, will be glad to see him go.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kids can get free lunch, breakfast over summer

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 10:22 AM

click image OĞUZHAN ABDIK
  • Oğuzhan Abdik

Needy families often rely on free and reduced-price school lunches to keep their children's bellies full. 

When summer rolls around, those free meals go away, creating a major strain for families. Colorado Springs School District 11 wants to make sure no child goes hungry this summer. That's why it's once again providing free lunches and breakfasts to kids over summer break - no questions asked. 

There's plenty of locations to choose from this year, so many local kids should be able to access the program. Read on for all the relevant details: 
Colorado Springs School District 11 Summer Food Service Program

Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does the need for good nutrition. Children who aren't hungry learn better, act better and feel better. During the school year, more than 18 million children receive free and reduced-price meals at school. During the summer, that number drops to about three million. Summer food programs provide nutritious meals to children.

Colorado Springs School District 11 will again offer an “open” summer food service program for children 1-18 years of age.

The program will provide free breakfast and lunch during the summer at the locations, dates, and times shown below. Please note: All sites will be closed Friday, July 3, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

Please call District 11 Food and Nutrition Services, 520-2924, or go to for more information.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Former local teacher makes documentary on education

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2015 at 8:19 PM

Laurie Gabriel decided to make a film about why she quit her job. - COURTESY LAURIE GABRIEL
  • Courtesy Laurie Gabriel
  • Laurie Gabriel decided to make a film about why she quit her job.

Veteran teacher Laurie Gabriel, who spent part of her career in Colorado Springs School District 11, has created a documentary about why she left the profession.

Gabriel taught orchestra, choir and drama during her 27 years as an educator. She quit five years ago due to what she calls a federal and corporate takeover of public schools. Specifically, she says her students were crying and vomiting at the prospect of more standardized tests. 

"You just don't hear enough about it," she says. "Teachers are afraid to say anything."

In addition to having problems with the tests themselves, Gabriel says she was told to ignore slower kids in her class and to focus her energy on high-performing kids. She says she was working until 7 p.m. doing paperwork that no one read. Because of that, she had to cancel after-school clubs and tutoring.

She now has a private orchestra and does music therapy.

Her film, Heal Our Schools, explores ways in which schools could improve if teachers were given more freedom to tailor their lessons to their students, had smaller class sizes, and were free from standardized testing.

The movie will be showing at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 2111 Carlton Ave., at 7 p.m. on Friday, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday. A third showing will take place at Graner School of Music, 4460 Barnes Road, at 3 p.m. on June 13. The cost is $7. Seats can be reserved at 213-6850.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Few AFA graduation tickets available

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 12:39 PM

  • Courtesy U.S. Air Force Academy

If you want to see this year's Air Force Academy graduation ceremony, you'd better move quickly. Only 600 tickets will be available. Here are the details from a news release: 
Approximately 600 free, reserved-seat tickets for the Academy's Class of 2015 Graduation Ceremony will be available Thursday. Tickets must be picked up by the general public in person at:

* The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance offices at 102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 430, in downtown Colorado Springs, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
* The Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce offices at 166 Second Street in Monument, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Department of Defense ID card holders may also pick up tickets at the Air Force Academy's Athletic Ticket Office, at the Cadet Field House, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. These ticket locations will be open Monday through Friday, except for Memorial Day.

A maximum of six tickets per person are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets cannot be mailed and there is no will-call at the stadium. Lost tickets cannot be replaced.

Because of increased security measures, individuals picking up tickets in Colorado Springs or Monument will need to provide the following information:

* First and Last Name,
* Date of Birth,
* Driver's License Number and which state the Driver's License was issued in.

Only the person picking up the tickets needs to provide this information. If that individual has a current DoD ID card, they will not need to provide additional information.

The Air Force Academy's Graduation Ceremony is May 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m., in Falcon Stadium and will include a commencement speech by the Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James. The ceremony will conclude with an aerial performance by the Air Force Thunderbirds, weather permitting.

Falcon Stadium gates will open at 7 a.m. on May 28. Due to increased security requirements, please ensure you arrive very early as traffic coming on base will be heavy and there may be long lines at the Stadium. All visitors should be prepared to show valid identification, vehicle registration and proof of auto insurance. Vehicles may be inspected upon entry. If Force Protection Conditions change, some scheduled events may also change or require additional security precautions for the safety of all our guests. Any event changes will be announced via local media and the Academies official Facebook page.

If the graduation ceremony is moved indoors due to dangerous weather or security reasons, general public and staff ticket holders will not be able to attend. If the ceremony is moved, notification will go out by May 28 at 7 a.m., via local media and the Academies official Facebook page.

For more information on the Air Force Academy Graduation, visit or e-mail
This year's featured speaker will be Deborah Lee James, the Secretary of the Air Force. 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Get money: A rare coin visits the Money Museum

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 12:11 PM

  • Courtesy American Numismatic Association's Edward C. Rochette Money Museum
  • The 1787 Brasher Doubloon
Now through July, the ANA Edward C. Rochette Money Museum will display the finest example of one of the first cold coins created for circulation in the early United States: the Brasher Doubloon, which was minted in 1787.

This Brasher Doubloon, one of only seven worldwide, is also the finest of its breed. It's here on loan from the Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach, Calif., which has insured it for $10 million. It contains 26.4 grams of .890 fine gold.

The Money Museum will have it on display with three historic coins from its own collection, the Bebee/McDermott 1913 Liberty Head nickel, and both the Cohen/DuPont Class I and Idler/Bebee Class III 1804 Draped Bust dollars.

Monaco's website has an 18-minute video (and transcript below it) all about the 1787 Brasher Doubloon. Of note:
It's an incredible picture of the era of coins dating back to the 1780's. You would not find gold coins circulating readily. The economy of the United States of America at this time was third world at best. ... The majority of gold coinage circulating in the colonies in the 1780's was Spanish, some of it South American, Central American, but primarily Spanish. Doubloons would circulate and the value of those Doubloons was widely regarded as the standard coinage of the United States colonies for gold, however, 95% of the population of our colonies in these years would never have even touched a gold coin. They would have been handling business on a much, much lower level using pence and half pence, and copper coinage, trading goods and services with each other, rather than trading gold coins. Gold coins were very, very difficult to come by.

So naturally, when a gold coin was made it would have been used. It would have gone directly into circulation and was needed to fuel whichever business transactions that were taking place at that high dollar value. For a gold coin, such as the 1787 Brasher Doubloon, to have survived over 230 years practically and still exist today in mint condition is something of a complete mystery and in my opinion a total miracle that this coin exists in the condition that it's in today.
"Brasher," in the name comes from the gold- and silversmith of New York who struck it: Ephraim Brasher. Though new at the time, the coin's design has all the hallmarks of U.S. branding, as it were: stars, eagles, arrows and an olive branch. Per the Money Museum's release:
The obverse design of the Brasher Doubloon shows an eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in another to symbolize that the United States wanted peace but was ready for war. Thirteen stars surround the eagle's head (representing the original 13 colonies), with the E PLURIBUS UNUM ("Out of Many, One") above.

The reverse design depicts the sun rising over a mountain in front of a sea, a symbolic of a new beginning. Around the design is another Latin legend, NOVA EBORACA COLUMBIA EXCELSIOR. Columbia was a nickname for the United States, where as "Nova Eboraca" translates to New York and "Excelsior" is Latin for "ever higher."

In addition to his punchmarked initials on the obverse, Brasher's full last name is on the reverse. Brasher served in various political and government offices in New York and later was a neighbor of George Washington on Cherry Street in lower Manhattan. 
Money museum curator Douglas Mudd says, "Not only is it a genuine rarity with high monetary value, it also is a historical treasure-trove because of what it represents as the first gold coin struck for the nascent United States. It is beautiful and historically important as a record of the early design concepts discussed in Congress for U.S. coinage."
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

USAFA announces new athletic director

Posted By on Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 11:12 AM

A U.S. Military Academy grad has been picked as the Air Force Academy's athletic director, the academy announced today in a news release. He replaces long-time AD Hans Mueh, who is retiring.
Knowlton: USAFA's new AD.
  • Knowlton: USAFA's new AD.
 The Air Force Academy is pleased to announce it has tentatively selected Mr. James A. Knowlton as its new Athletic Director. Mr. Knowlton served as the Athletic Director for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for the past seven years.

As with any federal hiring process, the new hire is not official until all pre-employment requirements are completed and verified. The Academy remains committed to vigorously protecting the privacy of all who applied for the position - including the other finalists for the position.

Dr. Hans Mueh, the current Athletic Director will retire effective Jan. 31, 2015. The Academy will host a formal introduction and press conference with Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, and the new Athletic Director once the hiring process is complete and the hire is official.

"We were extremely pleased to receive applications from many highly qualified candidates, which following our deliberate process, resulted in an exceptional group of finalists. Mr. Jim Knowlton demonstrated the right level of intensity and experience, while still understanding the unique military culture at our United States Air Force Academy."

"He will balance the demands of the NCAA business with our absolute necessity to win with character. He brings a fresh perspective, but knows the importance of athletics to all of our cadets, not just intercollegiate cadet-athletes. I am confident he will set a culture and climate aligned with our core values. I look forward to him joining our team."

"I am incredibly excited by the honor and privilege of serving as the director of athletics at the Air Force Academy and the opportunity to join an exceptional team and first-class community, on and off base," said Knowlton. "I want to thank Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson and the search committee for their invitation to join the Academy family, and I am eager to
work with the Falcon cadet-athletes, coaches and staff. My family and I are very much looking forward to what lies ahead."

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