Work I've done
Below you'll find a sampling of projects I've worked on, articles I've written, and organizations with which I've worked.
Opportunity to learn
The Denver-based Donnell-Kay Foundation has been hard at work over the past two years on an ambitious plan to redesign the state's system of schooling. The ReSchool initiative, as it's called, is beginning to roll out its learning from two years of behind-the scenes work. DK contracted with Write. Edit. Think. to produce a report on a "learning opportunities" prototype program run in Boulder during the summer of 2015. This is the report I produced.
Pulling Back the Curtain
America Succeeds, a national education advocacy organization, contracted with Write. Edit. Think. to write an in-depth report about a Colorado law, passed in 2014, that mandates unprecedented financial transparency for school districts and individual schools. The law has far-reaching implications for educational equity and accountability. Read it here. The report was released in September 2015.
Articles focused on educational equity
Manual High School boundaries
In the mid-1990s, as a reporter for The Denver Post, I covered the dismantling of court-ordered school busing in Denver and the ill-fated return to largely segregated neighborhood schools. The most egregious example of poor decision-making on school boundaries concerned Manual High School, a storied institution that had been integrated by busing. That changed rapidly with the end of busing, and today, some former school board members rue the decision they made back in 1995. Read my story here.
East High School's achievement gaps
Denver's East High is the school district's flagship high school. It regularly sends its best students to top colleges, and savvy parents jockey and jostle to get their kids into the always overcrowded school. But the seemingly integrated school harbors yawing achievement gaps within largely segregated classrooms. The current administration is trying to close those gaps, but are their efforts sufficient? I wrote an in-depth story in 2014.
Northfield High School: An audacious experiment
Denver's newest comprehensive high school, which opened in August 2015, makes an audacious promise: All of its students, from varied backgrounds, will enter and successfully complete the highly challenging International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Is this a pipe dream or an ambitious and visionary endeavor?
A rural Colorado district tries a new approach to discipline
Schools in Leadville, Colorado have reduced suspensions by implementing Restorative Justice practices. Read this story on the Colorado Trust website.
standing in the gap stories
I'm one of the producers of Standing in the Gap, a four-part Rocky Mountain PBS documentary on segregation and achievement gaps in Denver Public Schools 20 years after the end of court-ordered busing. I've also written a series of articles on issues related to the themes teased out in the documentary. I'll add them here as they are published.
DPS' teachers of color shortage
Educators and academics say that having a teaching staff that mirrors the student body’s racial composition makes a substantial, positive difference for kids and schools alike. In DPS and other large districts, that's proving easier said than done.
Segregation in DPS: Once African Americans, now Latinos
The growing population of Latino students in Denver Public Schools remains alarmingly segregated from other populations of kids, particularly middle-class whites. This story examines the reasons as well as some attempts the district is making to attack the problem.