Archive for the ‘Opinions & Editorials’ Category

State Board Hears Findings on State Assessment Study

May 21, 2014 Comments off



News Release
State board hears initial assessment study findings

Direction 38! has attached a highlight of the study findings and provided a link to take you to the full CDE release.

We have also posted the following questions about the CDE Study.

  •  Did your local school board participate in this study to examine the issues and concerns with the new state assessment system?
  •  Were parents asked their opinions?
  •  Were teachers asked their opinions?

Here is the CDE News Release:

Colorado Department of Education201 E. Colfax Ave.Denver, CO 80203Phone: 303-866-4247
May 16, 2014 For more information, contact:  CDE Communications Division, 303-866-4247

News Release

State board hears initial assessment study findings  
The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on May 14 & 15. Highlights from the meeting include:The board heard findings from the first phase of a study commissioned to examine issues and concerns associated with implementation of the new state assessment system.  CDE turned to its Regional Comprehensive Center, WestEd, a non-profit education research agency, to research the state’s assessment requirements, gather data from districts, parents, teachers and charter schools, synthesize the findings and present a range of options to address those findings. The study was performed at no cost to CDE or the state. 

Researchers from WestEd will be in Denver to share the presentation that was provided to the board onWednesday, May 21 from 2-3:30 p.m. at CDE, 201 E. Colfax Ave., State Board Room, in Denver. Following the presentation, the researchers and CDE staff will be available to the media to answer questions.


State Assessment Update

Staff provided an update on the first online state assessment administration which took place April 14-May 2 in social studies and science.  Staff shared information from the field tests of the English language arts and math assessments and discussed next steps in preparing for 2014-15 administration. To view the presentation, clickhere.

To Read More: Read more…



May 16, 2014 1 comment





QUESTION #2: What are the Common Core test requirements for home schooled children?



Home schooled students are required to take a nationally standardized test. However, if a parent or legal guardian requests it, a district shall permit a home schooled student to take the state assessment and provide the results of the assessment to the parent or legal guardian. The test is given only to home schooled students whose parents request that the child participate in the testing. (22-7-409 (III)(1.3)(b), C.R.S.)

– See more at:
NOTE: Accuracy reviewed & verified by Joyce Zurkowski/Assessment Unit Supervisor/Colorado Department of Education



QUESTION #3: How do Common Core tests accommodate special needs students?



State and federal law require all students to be held to the same standards and participate in the state assessment program.

There are three ways that students with disabilities can participate in the state assessments:

1) take the general assessment without accommodations;

2) take the general assessment with accommodations; and

3) take the alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

What are accommodations and what are some examples?

Accommodations are changes in how the test is given without changing what is being assessed.Students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), 504 plan or English Learn (EL) plan, can use specific accommodations allowing the student better access to the test as long as there’s alignment between the accommodation and the student’s educational plan. That plan may also indicate the student is eligible to participate in Colorado’s alternative tests in science and social studies. Accommodations can be divided into four categories:

1. Presentation accommodations – changes in the way test items are presented to a student (i.e., large print, braille, oral presentation, translated oral presentation, etc.);
2. Response accommodations – changes in the way a student responds to test items (i.e., uses scribe, responds in Spanish, uses assistive technology device, etc.);
3. Setting accommodations – changes in the test environment’s setting (i.e., small group or individual administration); and/or
4. Timing accommodations – changes in the scheduling of the assessment (i.e., allowing multiple breaks, providing extra time, testing at specific times of the day, etc.).

The CMAS: Science and Social Studies assessment administration time includes an extended time allotment of time-and-a-half for all students. Students who have an extended time need beyond time-and-a-half documented in an approved IEP, 504, or EL plan my be provided with additional time..

What is the CoAlt?
A small number of students, approximately one percent of the student population, take the Colorado Alternate (CoAlt) assessment. These are students who have significant cognitive disabilities. Special accommodations are built into the CoAlt specifically for these students.

NOTE: Accuracy reviewed & verified by Joyce Zurkowski/Assessment Unit Supervisor/Colorado Department of Education

Direction 38! Common Core Forum Panelist Bios

May 5, 2014 Comments off


The Common Core Forum is scheduled at Antelope Trails Elementary School Cafeteria for Monday 5 May, 2014 from 6:00  P.M. to 8:00 P.M.  Panelists will discuss Common Core implementation in Colorado’s local school districts.



For your convenience we have posted short bios of each of our panelists.


Panelist Biographies.




October 31, 2013 Comments off


The 30 October 2013 print edition of the Trilakes Tribune has an interview by Rob Carrigan of the Tribune, with Direction 38! members.  This front page interview can be seen by clicking on the link below.

Opponents of Measure 3A, the mill levy override for Lewis-Palmer School District 38 funding on the November ballot, say the district is asking for “way too much” and that there are “no controls.”

The following “Letters to the Editor” were also in the 30 October Edition of the Tribune.

Teacher1Mr. Kevin Reece of Monument  says :  “Now is Not the Time” for 3A! As residents of Monument, Colorado with a child in School District 38, my wife and I do have “skin in the game” regarding the upcoming 3A issue being voted on come 5 Nov 2013. We have considered the pros and cons of the proposals (including the 66th Amendment). We have seen little collaboration and intentional involvement with the community including residents, school teachers and businesses leading up to this November vote; therefore; we have decided now is NOT the time for 3A, and the additional tax burdens the community as a whole will experience.”

For the rest of this article click here: Kevin Reece Editorial

FACTS%20LogoIn another editorial, Laura McGuire writes:

I’ve become increasingly alarmed with Ballot Initiative 3A as I’ve researched how to vote on the Lewis Palmer School District 38 massive $4.5 million Mill Levy Override.  3A, if passed, will take Tri-Lakes property owners from the 9th highest taxed school district in Colorado to the 3rd out 178 districts! This is a 20% increase in the taxes paid to D38! 3A also imposes additional onerous taxes on local businesses already burdened by the struggling economy.  I grew up in Monument and graduated from Lewis Palmer High School as have my own children. We’ve benefited from a District that has long been “Accredited with Distinction,” the highest rating given to Colorado public schools. 3A proponents are using emotion-filled messages to imply that our kids will suffer unduly if they don’t secure this hefty MLO.

For the rest of Laura’s letter to the Tribune, click here:   McGuire’s Letter


October 26, 2013 Comments off

PasshatPay Fees

“Democrats and unions try to kill Colorado’s flat tax.”


Oct. 23, 2013 7:25 p.m. ET Wall Street Journal

Colorado has veered to the political left in recent years, and on November 5 it may take another leap toward California. The Democrats and unions who now run state government are promoting a ballot initiative that would raise taxes and unleash a brave new era of liberal governance.The Colorado Tax Increase for Education, or Amendment 66, follows the well-trod union script of claiming to raise taxes in the name of better schools. Its real purpose is to repeal restraints on tax increases and open the door to even higher taxes and more spending on everything.

The referendum would repeal the state’s current flat income-tax rate of 4.63% that liberals loathe because raising it requires raising taxes on nearly all Coloradans. And sure enough, Amendment 66 would raise the rate to 5% on income up to $75,000, and to 5.9% on all higher earners. That’s a 26.6% tax increase on anyone making more than $75,000 a year.

To read the rest of this article click here for the Wall Street Journal


October 22, 2013 2 comments



Message to Bear Creek Parents about Palm Scanners from D38 Assistant Superintendent

Dear Bear Creek Parents,

Please see a note from our Assistant Superintendent below –

A handful of parents expressed concerns about the Palm Scanners.   Their concerns have resulted in conversations that I believe will have a  positive outcome as we review advancements in technology and decide what is best for Lewis-Palmer Schools and our students.  The School District will be forming a technology and student data committee consisting of parents knowledgeable of technology as well as parents who are interested in the direction the district takes regarding the use of technology for student records.  Their job will be to review student data systems as a part of the process the district goes through in determining what makes sense for our schools.

The palm scanner will be one of the first technologies this group will study.  As a result, we will be holding back on our trial of the scanner at Bear Creek.  Please know that  Katie DuBois and our Food Service  Department followed all procedures the district has in place as they worked through this implementation.  Listening to these parents, and thinking about technologies now available, I see that this new technology requires additional processes.  We will work to put them in place and will not move ahead until this work is completed.

Thank you for your time and to the parents that took the time to call.   We will begin work to put the structure of this committee together shortly and will provide informational updates on our web page.

Cheryl Wangeman

Assistant Superintendent

Lewis-Palmer School District #38

The following link is an attachment to this email.

Palm Vein Scanning


October 22, 2013 Comments off

PasshatPay FeesThe Watchdog Wire Publishes Article on D38 MLO Request

“We elected the District 38 school board members to be good stewards of the money for our kids, and they have been squandering it,” longtime community member Ernie Biggs contends. “Now they want us to give them 4.5 million dollars more each and every year without an end in sight and without any accountability.”

To read the watchdog wire article click here.

To go to the Watchdog Wire Home Page, click here.


Watchdog Wire exists to train citizens just like you to be citizen journalists and provide a place to feature your work. By covering stories in your local community that are otherwise ignored by the establishment media, you can make a difference! We partner with you to provide the training, the platform and the coaching you need to be government watchdogs in your own cities and states.