Thank you for all of the positive feedback on last month’s newsletter. This month, you will notice a brand new section entitled, Research into Practice at UCD. This piece will highlight the work of faculty members in the School of Education and Human Development currently developing useful practices to solve issues of inequity in education. As always, we hope you will forward this newsletter on to your colleagues in education. If you would like to register with us to receive the newsletter each month, please click here: http://www.cruecenter.org/signup.php. We strive to ignite discussion and share best practices here at CRUE, so this month, we recommend you read the article, Poetic Expressions: Students of Color Express Resiliency through Metaphors and Similes. Your team might use this to discuss ways you can assist students to develop a healthy attitude towards their cultural background and experiences.



Promising Practices in the Field

Charles Elbot enjoyed growing up as part of three cultures: French, German and American. After graduating from Wesleyan University, he spent three years traveling around the world experiencing a rich array of cultures. Upon returning to the U.S., he began teaching and helped to found an alternative high school, September School, in Boulder. After several years of teaching and serving as a principal, Charles earned his Master’s degree in Moral Development and Educational Administration at Harvard University. He then served as a principal in public and independent schools for over 21 years. In 2002, Charles founded the Denver Public Schools Office of Character and School Culture. The Office of Character and School Culture continues to develop the work of harnessing a school’s culture to build excellence in academics and character. Charles is the co-author of the book, Building an Intentional School Culture: Excellence in Academics and Character.

The Office of Character and School Culture assists schools in “intentionally shaping” their school culture. The process requires commitment and hard work by all involved. First, an analysis of current school culture is necessary. Past school satisfaction surveys from students, staff, and parents are reviewed; tools such as the School Culture Survey and the Eight Gateway Survey are utilized. Teachers elicit student, parent, and staff input by inviting them to respond on posters to the following questions: “What I want to preserve at my school:” and “What I want to change:”, and the student council interviews students regarding their experiences. This information is compiled by a school committee and reviewed by faculty who then meet with Charles’ office to develop a school touchstone.

The touchstone is designed to define the “way things are to be done” at a school. After it is finalized, the school may hold an assembly for students and staff to discuss the use of the touchstone in daily life and may include a signing of the touchstone banner. A school can promote their touchstone in many creative ways, including classroom posters, student ID cards, and magnets. The following is an example of the Touchstone used at Evans Middle School:

The Evans Touchstone
At Evans Middle School we take the high road.
We weave the vitality, caring, and intelligence of students,
parents, and teachers to excel in scholarship and character.
We deal with the root causes of our issues by engaging in
courageous conversations. We have a stake in the well-being of
others and give our best in and out of the classroom.
This is who we are even when no one is watching!

If you have any questions or would like to speak with Charles in more detail, you may e-mail him at: Charles_Elbot@dpsk12.org



Promising Practices

Research into Practice


Did You Know

In the News

Featured Article


Research into Practice at UCD

Margarita Bianco received her doctorate in Exceptional Student Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has nearly 20 years of classroom teaching experience, most of which occurred in urban settings, working with students with disabilities as well as English language learners. Her research interests include gifted students from underrepresented populations, including twice-exceptional students, and culturally and linguistically diverse learners. In 2004, Dr. Bianco received the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Council for Learning Disabilities for her work on the effects of disability labels on teachers’ recommendations for gifted programs. Dr. Bianco is currently working at the University of Colorado Denver.

Dr. Bianco is currently seeking funds to support a new service and research project co-developed and co-written with Cindy Gutierrez. Entitled, Opening Pathways to Teaching: A Pipeline Project for Diverse Future Teachers, the purpose of this collaborative project within UCD is to increase the number of students of color enrolling in undergraduate school and considering teaching as a career. There is a national need for more diverse teachers in our urban schools, and this project creates a comprehensive and innovative system of support and opportunity for diverse high school students to explore a career in teaching. Students will receive mentoring from current teacher candidates in the UCD graduate program and have the opportunity to take classes earning college credit while in high school, as well as receive personal and family assistance in applying for college, securing financial aid, and acquiring the tools to become successful undergraduate students.

The UCD School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) is nationally recognized for its model teacher education and human development programs. The SEHD has created an extensive collaborative partnership with six urban metro area districts to develop 27 partner schools (also known as professional development schools) at the elementary, middle, and high school level. University and K-12 faculty work closely together in partner schools not only to support the development of pre-service teachers, but also to promote the academic achievement of students. This project will allow the SEHD collaborative partnership to extend its impact by strategically focusing on developing a pipeline of diverse future teachers and support them as they enter their college preparation program. If you have any questions or would like to speak with Dr. Bianco in more detail, you may e-mail her at: Margarita.Bianco@cudenver.edu



What’s new at CRUE?

Culturally Responsive Literacy Practices
June 16-17, 2008, 8:30am-4:30pm, University of Colorado Denver

Literacy for what? This question provides the framework for this module. Participants explore the evolution of literacy in the United States and learn how teachers can create a “literate” classroom environment. This training identifies the elements of culturally responsive literacy instruction and provides participants with a framework to analyze their current classroom practices and explore ideas for implementing culturally responsive literacy practices. Participants will identify and develop embedded literacy strategies for content-area teachers to increase student engagement in the four language modes – reading, writing, speaking, and listening. $350 early registration; $425 after May 23rd

Please note that Institute participants are eligible to earn 1 hour of graduate credit.

To register, please visit http://www.cruecenter.org/institutes.html

We’re looking for Equity Networkers to join us!

The CRUE Center would like to invite you to join the Equity Network, a group of education professionals who meet quarterly to discuss issues of equity in the P-20 education system in Colorado. The Network has identified core issues related to equity in Colorado schools, along with existing challenges and the resources needed to address them. These include creating common definitions of terms such as equity and diversity, developing standards for equity work in education, identifying and disseminating resources and best practices, conducting a needs assessment and action plan for work within the state, and developing a resolution regarding equity for the powers that be to influence and inform policy and other high level conversations.

Leading the Conversation: Developing Equity Standards for P-20 Colorado Education

Please join our effort to develop equity standards for implementation across the state of Colorado.

Friday May 9, 2008
Tivoli Student Union, Adirondack’s Room
Auraria Campus, Downtown Denver

There will be a catered lunch and free parking.

RSVP: Allison Rehor at allison.rehor@cudenver.edu or 303-315-4949.

Please visit our website at http://www.cruecenter.org/network.html to learn more!


Did You Know?

Stop Bullying Now is a website created for elementary and middle-school students. It addresses issues of bullying with honest explanations, provides recommendations for bystanders, and contains student letters and posts all in kid friendly terms. Check out the website’s area for adults, and please pass the site along- everyone will benefit!


In the News

Please visit our site at: www.cruecenter.org/news.php for Local News as well as National News. We add articles on a regular basis, so it is your one stop shop for equity issues and legislation as it happens! Please know that our articles are collected from a variety of sources and do not necessarily represent the views of the CRUE Center. Our goal is to keep you informed on the latest happenings in our field and give you something to discuss with your teams. This month, be sure to check out the San Francisco Chronicle’s, “White House announces new reforms for No Child Left Behind”, the Daily Camera’s “Boulder Valley school restructuring plan draws fire” and from CBS4Denver, “Bruce Told To Leave Podium After Mexican Comment”.

Featured Research Article

Do you teach limited English proficient students? Do you work in a school with a large ESL population? Do you help with staff development for ELA or ELL?

Models of Best Practice in Serving Limited English Proficient Students

Elba I. Rohena
November 2007

This analysis paper reviews articles published in the "Journal of Teacher Education" in March/April 2002. A summary of existing literature on preparing future educators to work with an increasingly diverse population of students and families is reviewed and implications for teacher education training programs are included.

Click here for access to the full-text article.


Around the Watercooler…

We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts about this month’s content as well as equity issues affecting your schools. Do you have any ideas to share with other CRUE members? Best Practices that are working in your classroom, school, or district? Please click here to tell us more: contact.


We would love to hear what you think of the newsletter!
Please send any feedback about this month’s content, features, or layout to: contact@cruecenter.org


Culturally Responsive Urban Education
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Denver, CO 80204