Education

Courtesy of Amanda Huner

Choir students at Rocky Mountain High School knew, when you were in Barbara Lueck’s class, you were with family.

“We called her ‘Mama Lu’ for a reason,” said Doug Usher, a 2000 Rocky graduate. “She was there for you inside and outside the classroom and you could go to her anytime with anything and she would be there, she would listen. She embodies that spirit of what we all want teachers to be.”

So when her former students found out the beloved choir director had cancer, they knew there was only one thing to do.

Courtesy of Colorado Shoe School

Dan Huling and Annabel Reader aren’t your typical couple. For almost two decades Huling has been juggling chainsaws as part of the vaudeville troupe the Handsome Little Devils. Reader is a costume designer and part-time stilt walker.

They were looking for a way to slow down and stay closer to their Bellvue home. But Reader said they didn’t want to lose their artistic edge.

“We’re both creatives," she said. "We both need to make to feel sane.”

Then, on a trip back to her hometown in New Zealand, Reader learned about a shoe-making school. It seemed like a perfect fit.

Sarah Weeks

In June KUNC posed a Curious Colorado question to listeners: "Are you a teacher - or do you know one - who has to get a summer job to make ends meet? Share your plans with us."

Sarah Weeks, a K-5 media specialist and STEM teacher at Lopez Elementary School in Fort Collins, responded, saying she loves her job but can't live off her teaching salary alone.

Her summer break essay follows:

Maya Angelou said, "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."

I'm discovering that this quote captures the essence of my philosophy of life and my career as a professional educator.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

According to experts, one of the biggest factors is pay. In 2016, the state ranked 46 in the nation for average salary. Rural schools have an even harder time recruiting because the pay is often lower than urban areas and there's not much of a hiring pool.

"If you lose a teacher, there's nobody that you can just snag from the community to keep up," said Democratic Rep. Barbara McLachlan, a former educator.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

A warm spring has already melted much of the limited snowpack that sits high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in southern Colorado. Water is already flowing through the ditches near the rural village of San Pablo.

It’s 9 a.m. on a windy Saturday morning. Every now and then Dan Quintana -- in weathered work gloves and a ball cap -- raises up his shovel and slams it into the mud and matted willows that line the waterway that runs through his hay fields. His slight frame makes it easy for him to jump across the narrow ditch.

Bente Birkeland / KUNC

Thousands of Colorado teachers converged on the state Capitol Thursday and Friday to demand more funding for public education, higher pay and a more favorable fix to the state’s pension plan for public employees.

“For too many years, Colorado has been chronically underfunding its schools,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, vice president of the Colorado Education Association. “We educators see what that means to our classrooms and our buses and our cafeterias.”

Eric Litwin

“Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown” is the 2018 One Book 4 Colorado winner. The book, chosen specifically for 4-year-olds, was announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper at the state Capitol this week.

At the event, Hickenlooper told a group of preschoolers that he wants to make sure they know how to read and grow to love reading.

alizz islamic bank / Flickr

Colorado has one of the best employment markets in the country. By 2020 more than 70 percent of those jobs will require some type of advanced degree. But right now, there are not enough qualified workers to fill those positions – only 56 percent of residents have postsecondary education.

MiraCosta Community College / flickr

School District 27J will become the first metro Denver area district to implement a four-day week.

Starting in August, students will be off Mondays, but Tuesday through Friday school days could be extended up to an extra hour and a half to ensure students receive the same classroom time.

Parents in need of childcare for Mondays can send their younger K-5 children to a district-run daycare. They will have to find other options for older kids.

Courtesy, Sources of Strength.

In 2016, a streak of student deaths prompted action within the Thompson School District in Larimer County. As the national conversation around student safety and gun violence grows, officials there are planning to expand a successful suicide and violence prevention program.

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