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Colorado Edition: Gathering Data

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The Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park.

Today on Colorado Edition: the latest on efforts to improve education in the Adams 14 school district. Plus, what contact tracing efforts look like in Boulder County. We will also have a conversation about racism in Colorado, and learn about why data-gathering is important in national parks. 

Turning Around Adams 14 

In 2018, after several consecutive years of less-than-stellar education metrics like test scores and graduation rates, the State Board of Education ordered the Adams 14 school district to hire external management as a last resort to improve students' academic achievement. The district serves nearly 7,000 students across 11 schools in Commerce City. 

This past school year was the first of a four-year contract with the out-of-state firm MGT Consulting. The idea is that each year, MGT will return more control to the district. So how did that first year go? Especially considering the pandemic and what that’s done to schools logistically — and the education budget overall — some district leaders say the turnaround in Adams 14 has been a success so far. 

This is the subject of recent reporting from Yesenia Robles. She is a reporter with Chalkbeat Colorado and joined us to discuss how the turnaround is going and whether the district will be able to stay on track throughout the coming school year. 

Contact Tracing In Boulder County 

Boulder County is scaling up its contact tracing staff to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. It’s a centuries-old technique that relies on basic conversation. But as KUNC’s Sere Williams learned, it’s more than just a phone call. 

Discussing The Impact Of Protests 

On Monday, we discussed the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the death of Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Black man police put into a chokehold last year.   

On Monday night, the Aurora City Council delayed its vote to open a local investigation into his death. Mayor Mike Coffman said city staff needed more time to assemble a panel tasked with looking into McClain’s death. Aurora’s city manager also encouraged staff to coordinate with ongoing state and federal investigations into the 10-month-old case.  

The vote on whether or not to open a local investigation will take place later this month.   

Renewed interest in McClain’s death is due in part to recent protests against police brutality in Colorado and across the nation. Here on Colorado Edition, we’re having conversations with Coloradans about what racism looks like in our state, and the impact of the protests.   

Jonathan McMillan, a mentor, speaker and advocate for at risk young men of color with the organization My Brother’s Keeper, joined us to discuss the impact of the recent protests and systemic racism in Colorado. 

Data-Gathering In National Parks 

Field research in the Grand Canyon is just restarting after being banned all spring as a coronavirus precaution. Judy Fahys of InsideClimate News visited last year, before the pandemic, and discovered why this data-gathering is crucial for the environment in the national park and for the millions of people who rely on the water that runs through it. She has more for KUNC. 

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you! 

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs.

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Henry Zimmerman (@HWZimmerman), and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. Managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode. We get production help from Rae Solomon.  

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on ourwebsite, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m., with a rebroadcast of the previous evening's show Tuesday through Friday at 8:30 a.m.

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Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.
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