Fellows in Action

Enabling educators to expand their knowledge and influence

Our CEA fellows will be at the forefront of modeling excellence in education at the local, state and national level.

Rebekah Holmes, CEA Fellow, English Language Development teacher and District Twelve Education Association member invited her local and state elected officials to McElwain Elementary School. The visit showcased the schools work on Restorative and De-escalation (RAD) practices and a discussion on the school and community needs. Visitors included Senator Dominick Moreno, Representative Yadira Caraveo, State Board of Education member Jane Goff, Adams 12 Board President Kathy Plomer and Vice President Laura Mitchell and Lori Goldstein.

The new class of CEA Fellows (2019-20) kick off the year with a two day workshop. Welcome fellows and good luck this year!

Tiffany Choi, high school French teacher and Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) member, during the DCTA strike in February. She led a chant for thousands of teachers at Civic Center Park after a day of picketing for fair compensation. The organizing work of strike captains around the district led to the fast resolution to the strike and a tentative agreement was signed after only 3 days!

Kathy Zaleski, CEA fellow presented in Kent Willmann, CEA mentor class at CU Boulder on restorative practices.  Their presentation introduced pre-service teachers to the philosophy of restorative justice and gave an explanation of the varying restorative practices. Kathy spoke about her experience of using restorative language, connection circles, and restorative conferences and the successes she has seen in  building relationships with her students and reducing suspensions at Northglenn High School.

The Governor recently redesigned the Education Leadership Council (ELC) through an Executive Order in June of 2017. The purpose of the multi-stakeholder ELC is to develop a vision for Colorado’s educational system, from early childhood through to the workforce, and a strategic plan to get there. Four subcommittees have been formed to investigate and discuss ways to guide the creation of a strategic plan.

Alex Wentz, high school math teacher and CEA Ambassador Fellow is serving on the Responsive Systems and Agile Learners subcommittee.  She is presently the only current teacher/educator out of approximately 35 members. The subcommittee has been tasked with looking at how to restructure education in Colorado to better prepare students for an ever more rapidly changing world. They will not only be looking at how we can make more adaptive, responsive systems, but also how we educate students on an individual basis. Through the question of, “How can we best prepare learners and people for a world we do not yet know or understand?” they aim to modernize education and make Colorado the best place to learn.

Great Education Colorado hosted an Action Summit in February to build a plan of action to support Colorado’s students and our state’s future. Parents, educators, policymakers — anyone who believes in adequate and equitable funding for our schools were invited to join to discuss the growing inequities across districts, lost educational opportunities and a growing teacher shortage across our state. Matt Koziol, science teacher and CEA Ambassador Fellow from Northridge High School in Greeley was in attendance the mayor, superintendent, district leaders, several members of the local school board, and the president-elect of the Greeley Education Association. They discussed how the Great Schools, Thriving Communities ballot initiative, which will raise revenue to provide additional resources for schools. The initiative will distribute resources fairly throughout Colorado to allow every community – from corner-to-corner of this exceptional state – to benefit from Colorado’s economic prosperity all while raising the taxes on less than 10% of Coloradans. His team discussed and crafted messaging to get signatures in Greeley. They have also held a forum for local community members who were interested in carrying a petition to help get signatures and discussed best practices for petition-carrying and signature-gathering.

CEA Ambassador Fellow Derrick Belanger attending the CEA Lobby Day on April 16th at the capitol with his co-workers from Century Middle school.  The group met with legislators about the issue of school funding in Colorado, special education funding and the proposed cuts to PERA.

Music teacher, Aurora EA Vice President and CEA Ambassador Fellow Yolanda Calderon, testified on Thursday, Jan. 25, in support of Rep. Michael Merrifield’s Arts Bill. Thank you, Yolanda for all you do for your students, your community and our association!

Sen. Nancy Todd visited Eastridge Elementary as part of the “invite your legislator to school” initiative. For Senator Nancy Todd (D-Aurora), Eastridge Elementary in Cherry Creek School District  is where her lifelong commitment to public education began over 30 years ago. Not only was she a teacher there, she also met her husband, Terry Todd there. Terry was the physical education teacher at the time and now the school’s gym is named in his honor. As an educator, Sen. Todd holds a special place in her heart for Eastridge Elementary and for all Colorado students. She spoke to our third graders about her work at the State Capitol, including her biggest disappointment, Senate Bill 191, which changed the way Colorado educators are evaluated; a bill she fought tirelessly against. Sen. Todd knows firsthand the value that public school teachers provide to the children of Colorado. It was an honor to have her back at Eastridge.

CEA Ambassador Fellow envisions reinventing his school into a ‘community school’.

After the school day ended at Risley Middle in east Pueblo, Dec. 13, about 75 community members gathered in the school’s media center to discuss the way forward for students and their families. The East Side Community Forum was coordinated and led by eighth grade teacher Robert Donovan. He envisions reinventing Risley as a ‘community school’ where the education of children is the beginning piece of community support.

“We want to build lasting partnerships to create a hub for the surrounding community, looking to the school and nearby facilities as that hub so that students, their families and the community are receiving the essential services they need to be healthy, happy and successful,” said Donovan.

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CEA Ambassador Fellow Sean Davis reflects on the recent Graduation Guidelines Summit.

CEA Ambassador Fellow Sean Davis, Denver South High School special education teacher, attended the Graduation Guidelines Summit recently and these are his reflections from the summit:

“Today’s Summit offered interesting case studies and examples around the implementation of various graduation menu options across the state. It provided participants with opportunities to connect with education stakeholders from Urban, suburban and rural areas. Most striking to me, however, was that teachers accounted for less than 10 of the 300 participants at the summit. The new guidelines do provide districts with the flexibility to determine how this can look in their communities. Since teachers will play a crucial role in a successful implementation, it’s vital that teacher questions are answered, our concerns are addressed, and our voices are heard.”