Across the Street: Now, the hard work begins
November 14, 2017
The elections are over. Congratulations to all candidates who ran for their local school boards and to those winning their elections. Now, the hard work begins.
I've been busy watching elections, visiting an online school, attending the West Slope Superintendent's Conference in Grand Junction and making new rules as I serve on the State Board of Education.
First, the rule making. In one of my 2016 columns, I reported: "The Colorado State Board of Education does not make law. The Colorado General Assembly, representatives and senators, are the only people who can make law in Colorado. The State Board of Education, is responsible for promulgating rules that local districts use to follow the laws." Since new education laws were passed in 2017, we are now adopting new rules that accompany them. At the November meeting, we voted on the rules Governing Standards for Career and Academic Plan, or ICAP. We also voted in favor of the School Health Professional Grant Program and discussed a research grant request titled "Safe Communities, Safe Schools."
Other parts of the job are actually more fun. I recently attended an open house for Goal Academy, an online school on Main Street in the heart of Grand Junction. Goal Academy "leverages multiple resources to develop highly personalized learning pathways designed to re-engage disconnected youth with learning." Some students, for various reasons, have difficulty learning within the traditional school environment. They and their parents may decide that an online school, with student directed flexibility, is a better choice. I visited with current students, graduates, teachers and parents as I learned more about this educational opportunity. One of the students, who loves learning about history and has a desire to pursue a career in politics, attended with his father. At my invitation, they are both planning a visit to the Colorado State Capitol to observe state government first-hand.
The West Slope Superintendent's Conference was held last month in Grand Junction. I attended at the invitation of Chairman Ken Haptonstall, new superintendent of Mesa 51 School District. These meetings give superintendents an opportunity to hear about the challenges and successes of fellow superintendents on the Western Slope. West End Superintendent Mike Epright earned a huge round of applause for moving one of his schools off of turnaround status on the accountability clock.
The State Board of Education meets two days per month at the Colorado Department of Education in Denver. The meetings are audio streamed live and archived for future reference on the Colorado Department of Education website, cde.state.co.us. Beginning in December, the meetings will be videoed at the same online location.
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I'm honored to represent the 3rd Congressional District on the State Board of Education. Please send me your thoughts or concerns on educational issues.
Joyce Rankin sits on the State Board of Education, representing Colorado's 3rd Congressional District. She writes the monthly column “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. Rankin is also a legislative assistant for State Rep. Bob Rankin. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.