Colorado Abolishes “Free Speech Zones” at Public Universities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law legislation that effectively abolishes free speech zones on the state’s public college campuses. Free speech zones, areas in which students’ First Amendment rights are literally confined, stifle freedom of speech and expression on America’s college campuses. The legislation, Colorado Senate Bill 62, prohibits the state’s […]

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Denver Arts & Venues accepting Public Art proposals for four new works

DENVER — Denver Arts & Venues is seeking proposals for four new pieces of art that will become part of the Denver Public Art collection.

Proposal submissions are being accepted through January 16 (two pieces at Carla Madison Recreation Center) and January 23 (Paco Sanchez Park and Denver Zoo/City Park).

REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS:
Carla Madison Portrait | Budget: $ 7,000 | DEADLINE: Monday, Jan. 16, 11:59 p.m.

The City of Denver Public Art Program and the Carla Madison Recreation Center Art Selection Panel is seeking to commission a portrait of the late Denver City Councilwoman Carla Madison. The call is only open to Colorado artists.

Denver Carla Madison Recreation Center | Budget: $ 45,000 | DEADLINE: Monday, Jan. 16, 11:59 p.m.

The Denver Arts & Venues Public Art Program and the Carla Madison Recreation Center Art Selection Panel has released a request for qualifications for artists who wish to work on a public art project for the soon-to-be-finished Carla Madison Recreation Center. The selection panel seeks a unique, one-of-a-kind artwork that is appropriate for the Carla Madison Recreation Center and for the diverse community that utilizes it.

Paco Sanchez Park | Budget: approximately $ 18,000 | DEADLINE: Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 11:59 p.m.

The Denver Arts & Venues Public Art Program and the Paco Sanchez Park Art Selection Panel has released a request for qualifications for artists who wish to work on a public art project for the Paco Sanchez Park. The selection panel seeks a unique, one-of-a-kind artwork(s) appropriate for Paco Sanchez Park and for the visitors who utilize the park. The artwork should speak to community-based connections: a history of the area, the legacy of Paco Sanchez, and the native residents of the Villa Park neighborhood.

Denver Zoo/City Park Project | Budget: $ 285,000 | DEADLINE: Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 11:59 p.m.

The Denver Arts & Venues Public Art Program seeks to commission an artist or team of artists to create an original work of art for the exterior façade of a building on Denver Zoo’s property. The building is located on the southeastern side of the Zoo, adjacent to Denver’s City Park and facing City Park’s Duck Lake. The panel is particularly interested in artworks that explore the interplay between the built and natural environment that celebrate the Denver Zoo and City Park.

For more information, including full RFQs, please visit ArtsandVenues.com.

 

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Denver Public Schools Announce Districtwide Progress on School Performance Framework

DENVER — Denver Public Schools released the results of the eighth School Performance Framework (SPF), which looks at a comprehensive set of factors to create a rating for each of the district’s nearly 200 schools. These parent-friendly ratings range from Distinguished, or Blue on our ratings “stoplight,” to Accredited on Probation, or Red.

The overall rating summary for the DPS 2016 SPF:

Rating

% of Schools

Distinguished (Blue)

7%

Meets Expectations (Green)

43%

Accredited on Watch (Yellow)

28%

Accredited on Priority Watch (Orange)

7%

Accredited on Probation (Red)

16%

DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg highlighted examples of strong growth in the results this morning at Trevista at Horace Mann, a Northwest Denver school that was rated Red in 2013. Boasberg and Denver Board of Education Vice President Barbara O’Brien joined Trevista Principal Jesús Rodríguez, Trevista teachers, and students to celebrate that school’s first-ever Green rating. 

“I know how hard it is to get here,” O’Brien, who served with community members and families on the Northwest Working Group to improve area schools, told the Trevista team. “It’s heroic work, and we all thank you for what you’ve done.”

Rodríguez said the school is determined to reach the very highest rating or Blue.

“Last year, we painted our doors blue because we want everyone … to see that we are on a mission to be blue,” he said.  “We know we have a long way to go, but the determination of our staff and community make the future bright blue for us.” 

“Our families entrust our work and partner with us to fulfill the hopes and dreams of the children that we share,” said Trevista teacher Jessica Mullins. “We celebrate our kids… who show us on a daily basis the possibilities for their futures.” 

Joining in the celebration at Trevista were school teams from Fairview Elementary, University Prep Charter School, Collegiate Prep Academy, DSST: College View High School Charter and Respect Academy, a multiple pathways school. All of these schools saw strong results on the SPF.

“This means we are closer to ensuring that our students who struggle the most with poverty have a great education,” said Fairview Principal Antoinette Hudson, whose school on the edge of the Sun Valley neighborhood. “Setting high expectations for student learning is extremely important.”

“Clearly one of the things these schools have in common is overwhelmingly serving students who come from families in poverty and helping … those students achieve extraordinary growth,” Boasberg said, telling the assembled school leaders: “The work that you are doing to drive the growth of our students is the most important work we have in our society today, and I speak on behalf of our whole community in thanking you for that work.”  

Among other highlights in the data: 

· Among schools identified as alternative education campuses, 7 of the ten schools that were rated Orange or Red in 2014 increased to Yellow or Green.

· Among our 23 schools receiving intensive district supports because of a history of poor performance, 14 improved their ratings between 2014 and 2016; 5 stayed the same and four went down.

Boasberg said the SPF also highlighted challenges the district is facing.

“Overall, the number of Green and Blue schools are down this year, which comes as no surprise with new state standards,” he said. 

The 2016 SPF is the first released by the district since the implementation of more rigorous academic standards and assessments. Boasberg has supported the tougher standards as more in line with what students truly need to be prepared for success in college and career.

“We celebrate the achievement of our schools that have achieved Blue status, but we also want to work to achieve a higher bar for our schools,” he said. “For example, next year, we will have a higher bar for our high schools.

He also noted the significant gaps among students by ethnicity, race, and income: “Our commitment as public schools is to ensure all of our kids succeed, and it is fundamentally a civil rights mission.” 

For the first time this year, DPS schools are receiving an equity rating based on how well they are supporting students in poverty, students of color, English learners and students with special needs.

The rating is determined by performance on existing measures, such as state assessments, but it’s being pulled out to emphasize high expectations for all kids, Boasberg said. While it is not part of a school’s overall rating this year, it will be included on the 2017 SPF. 

“A year from now, all schools will be required to be closing gaps in order to be Green or Blue,” he said, “so we can ensure we are serving all of our students.”

Learn more about how DPS monitors, supports and holds schools accountable at greatschools.dpsk12.org. The site also is available in Spanish.

 

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Denver Parks and Recreation Announces Public Event Policy

DENVER — Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) published a new Public Event Policy and announced the 2017 permit application process that will begin on November 1. 

Public Event Policy

The Public Event Policy describes the rules and regulations under which outdoor public events may be scheduled and held within Denver parks.  This new policy supports public events in Denver parks while both safeguarding the parks and rights of residents to access and use the parks. 

DPR leaders worked closely with the community to provide input on current policies and procedures as well as recommend new ones.  The policy was defined through the assistance of a stakeholder committee comprised of representatives from various neighborhoods and organizations as well as public community meetings.  Representatives included event organizers, residents from City Park, Washington Park, Cheesman Park, Stapleton, Park and Recreation Advisory Board Members, and city council staff.   

The Public Event Policy can be viewed here.

Applications for 2017 Permits Begins on November 1

Tuesday, November 1 marks the first day DPR will begin accepting permits for public events, special occasions, and event facilities in 2017.  This includes the City Park Pavilion and Washington Park Boathouse facility, private/special occasion events and public events.

Individuals and organizations interested in applying for permits can come to the Wellington Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Room 1.G.1, where the doors will open at 6 a.m. The line will form at the Webb Building entrance at 15th St. and Court St., across from the Downtown Sheraton hotel.  The DPR Permit Office will accept applications on a first come, first served basis beginning at 7 a.m. 

New this year, 2017 reservation requests for the City Park Pavilion and Washington Park Boathouse will be accepted online beginning at midnight on Tuesday, November 1.  In-person reservation requests will still be accepted beginning at 7 a.m. on November 1.  Please note that reservations made online between midnight and 7 a.m. on November 1 for these two venues will be processed before in-person applications.

Reservations for the Central Park Pavilion, Chief Hosa Lodge, James Fleming Mansion and Montclair Civic Building venues are accepted one year in advance of the desired rental date and are currently open for 2017 reservations, both online and in-person. 

Please note that many of the historic venues in parks across the city are incredibly popular.  It is recommended to have optional dates in mind if your first choice is not available. 

Information and Frequently Asked Questions on rental facilities and permits are available at www.denvergov.org/permits. For additional information, please call 720-913-0766 or email [email protected].

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Public works truck knocks down power lines in Denver

Public works truck knocks down power lines in Denver
The power lines got caught on the dump truck's bed near East 27th Avenue and Fillmore Street in Denver. About 100 homes are without power as of Thursday afternoon. Five poles were knocked down by the truck. Xcel Energy says it will take them half the …
Read more on 9NEWS.com

Public input sought on major I-70 plan in north Denver

Public input sought on major I-70 plan in north Denver
A group called Unite North Metro Denver says the state should divert the highway up to I-76 and I-270. The group's Thad Tecza says engineers should then create a surface boulevard where I-70 is right now. "By committing city to this highway for next 75 …
Read more on Colorado Public Radio