Ann Marie Awad

Ann Marie Awad's journalistic career has seen her zigzag around the United States, finally landing on Colorado. Before she trekked to this neck of the woods, she was a reporter and Morning Edition host for WRKF in Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capitol. In a former life, she was a reporter in New York City. Originally, she's from Buffalo, so she'll be the judge of whether or not your chicken wings are up to snuff, thank you very much.

Outside the newsroom, Ann is a comic book nerd, coffee snob, fledgling outdoorswoman and adventurous eater.

Andre Deak / Flickr - Creative Commons

Colorado is becoming more diverse -- but children of color aren’t on equal footing with their white peers, according to the 2017 Kids Count report. The annual report by the Colorado Children’s Campaign and the Annie E. Casey Foundation focused on the state’s growing minority populations, which are expected to make up almost half of Colorado’s population by 2050.

“When you really drill down and look at the data, we see some pretty big gaps, and those gaps too often fall along racial and ethnic lines as a result of policies and practices that over the years have disproportionately limited opportunities for Colorado’s kids of color ” said Sarah Hughes, research director with the Colorado Children’s Campaign.

Ann Marie Awad / KUNC

If you heard that 12 people were living together in a two-bedroom apartment, you might think they were a group of college students, not teachers in the Roaring Fork School District.

“They love teaching in the community, they love working with the students there, but they simply cannot afford housing,” says Amie Baca-Oehlert, Vice President of the Colorado Education Association.

Roaring Fork is in Glenwood Springs, where the median home price is more than $536,250 dollars. The mountain town’s rental scene is also extremely tight and pricey. But it’s not just there. Baca-Oehlert says she hears stories like this all the time.

Ann Marie Awad

Outside of the single building that houses Weldon Valley Elementary, Weldon Valley Middle School and Weldon Valley High School, it’s very quiet. Kids are in class, and the school is not near any major roads. Megan Quitter can pick out different bird calls as the sunshine warms the cool morning.

“I heard mourning doves and red-winged blackbirds,” she says. “I used to do outdoor education.”

Community College of Aurora

Concluding a months-long investigation into the firing of a part-time professor, the American Association of University Professors accuses Community College of Aurora of denying due process rights to its part-time instructors, as well as violating their academic freedom. The allegations center around Nathanial Bork, a former philosophy professor who was fired from CCA in fall 2016 after he voiced concerns about curriculum changes at the school.

Office of U.S. Senator David Perdue

During the third day of Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearing, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on a Colorado case involving an autistic teenager and the quality of education he received in the Douglas County School District. The ruling rejected a key standard that Gorsuch had observed in previous decisions, and proved to be an unexpected way to keep the Colorado judge on his toes.

Christine Cavaller / <a href=>Flickr</a>

Jeffrey Zax realizes the irony; the University of Colorado economics professor just released a paper examining how success can be determined by one’s place in the alphabet. His Z name obviously didn’t doom him to a life of failure, but he’s long noticed a trend. Especially after years of attending graduation ceremonies.

Ann Marie Awad / KUNC

El-Mekki Idris brought a tray to our table with two fragrant dishes on it. “This is koushouri, and the other one is fool sandwich,” he explains.

Koushouri is a popular rice, pasta and lentil dish from North Africa. It’s topped with tomato sauce and fried onions. Fool, another popular regional dish, consists of mashed fava beans and spices. At Sudan Cafe, Idris serves it as a sandwich on a soft, home-baked roll.

Elliot Haney / City Year

AmeriCorps -- the long-running public service program administered by the federal government -- may be on the chopping block. According to The New York Times, one of the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts is the Corporation for National and Community Service, the office that oversees AmeriCorps.

CNCS programs have been expanded by nearly every administration since the corporation’s creation under President George H. W. Bush. Eliminating the office could signify a sea change in public policy: Trump may be the first president in recent memory to back away from federally-subsidized public service.

Lauren Coolman / Flickr

Colorado parents are leaving traditional school districts at a higher rate in the last five years. Their destination? Virtual schools. According to a report by the non-profit think tank A+ Colorado, charter schools -- both online and brick-and-mortar -- saw booms in enrollment that far outpaced growth at traditional districts between 2011 and 2015.

Melissa Webster / KUNC

Caprice Lawless peruses the aisles at the Sister Carmen Community Center and food bank near her home in Louisville. As she draws closer to the produce section, she sees a heap of squash which a volunteer says will not count against her bi-monthly allowance. She heaves one into her shopping cart, just as another volunteer plops down bins of fresh, tiny Brussels sprouts.

“Holy moly!” she exclaims with delight, before bagging up several of them. ”Look at these little tiny Brussels sprouts.”

Lawless is 64. She’s been teaching English and composition at Front Range Community College in Westminster since 1999. She’s an adjunct professor -- meaning she works part-time and receives no benefits.