December 1, 2015, Community Connection

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CoTESOL’s Virginia French Allen Award winner Jodi Venzara with her students

December 1, 2015
In this issue. . .

Click each link or scroll to read the stories below.

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You're Invited! ACTION Zone Community Meeting on Dec. 7

Please join us for a special Community Meeting to learn about the development of the APS ACTION Zone, including the theme and school design plans.  The proposed ACTION Zone schools are Aurora Central High School, Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, Boston K-8, Crawford Elementary School and Paris Elementary School.  APS staff will be present to hear your feedback, share information and answer questions.

 The meeting will be held:

Monday, December 7
5:30 p.m.
Fields Foundation Opportunity Center
1445 Dayton Street. Aurora, CO 80010

We hope you can attend!

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Lansing Teacher Earns Colorado Teacher of the Year Award
Teacher Jodi Venzara with her students

Congratulations to Jodi Venzara, Lansing Elementary School third grade teacher and English language acquisition teacher leader, for being named Colorado Teacher of the Year by Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Venzara earned CoTESOL’s Virginia French Allen Award, which recognizes her as top in the state for demonstrating excellence in ELA classroom instruction and creativity in the development of materials and programs.

“Jodi has a keen awareness of her audience—both the teachers she collaborates with as well as the students she loves and teaches every day,” said APS ELA Consultant Erika Lee who nominated Venzara for the honor. “She takes the time to know her students not only as learners, but as complex individuals with unique and exciting cultures, as well.”

APS applauds Venzara, who has served the district for nearly 10 years, for her hard work and dedication. We are honored to have such a phenomenal leader on our team and wish her continued success.

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APS Educators Help Colo. PE Teachers Reach New Heights
Left to right: Chris Strater, Amy Farmer and Jennifer Ebby-Handy
Left to right: Chris Strater, Amy Farmer and Jennifer Ebby-Handy

Congratulations to Aurora Frontier P-8 Physical Education Specialist Jennifer Ebbe-Handy, Hinkley High School PE Teacher Amy Farmer and Lyn Knoll Elementary School PE Teacher Chris Strater for earning the Society of Health and Physical Educators of Colorado Distinguished Service Award. The honor recognizes the ladies’ phenomenal work within the Colorado Department of Education Physical Education Cadre.

A group of eight PE teachers from across the state comprise the cadre, which strives to improve educator effectiveness. They provide high-quality professional development opportunities regarding assessment strategies, use of technology in PE, brain-based learning and more. Over 3,000 PE teachers trained under the cadre last year.

Ebbe-Handy, Farmer and Strater have collectively served Aurora Public Schools for more than 60 years. We are proud to have such caring educators go the extra mile to ensure Colorado’s students receive top-notch physical education.

To learn more about the CDE PE Cadre, click here.

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APS Bus Driver’s Artistic Display Honors The Mosleys

Meet Paul Ortiz, Aurora Public Schools bus driver by day and talented pencil portrait artist by night. He has drawn the faces of many iconic figures, but his latest masterpiece of the late Edna and John W. Mosley has steered his artistic career in a more meaningful direction.

Lieutenant Colonel John W. Mosley was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. His wife, Edna, was the first African American to serve on the Aurora City Council.

The portrait is displayed in the Edna and John W. Mosley P-8 school alongside a bio of the dynamic duo. Ortiz hopes that when students look upon it, they are inspired by The Mosley’s story of hard work, perseverance and dedication to their community.

Ortiz, who retired after 26 years in the U.S. Navy, had the honor of personally presenting the original artwork to Lt. Col. Mosley before he passed away.

The Denver Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. contracted Ortiz to draw all 19 of the documented Tuskegee Airmen of Colorado. The artwork will be displayed at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum and two military history museums in Colorado Springs.

Learn more about Ortiz and view a gallery of his incredible pencil portraits here!

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Vista PEAK Preparatory’s AP Program Hailed for Student Diversity

Vista PEAK Preparatory’ s Advanced Placement courses are experiencing dramatic gains in student enrollment and achievement thanks to The Colorado Education Initiative’s Colorado Legacy Schools (CLS) program.

CLS strives to increase the number of Colorado’s high school female students, low-income students and students of color enrolled and exceling in rigorous AP coursework. Students who pass AP exams often receive college credit for the courses, allowing many to graduate early and save money on tuition.

Out of the 11 Colorado schools to commit to CLS in the 2014-15 school year, Vista PEAK’s results shine as one of the most noteworthy. Vista PEAK saw a major spike in AP enrollment from the female, low-income and students of color population. Additionally, there was a more than 200% increase in the number of students from that population who earned qualifying scores on the AP exam.

Aurora Public Schools commends Vista PEAK Preparatory staff for their zealous devotion toward narrowing the achievement gap and ensuring every student’s wish to be a successful AP student is within reach.

To learn more about The Colorado Education Initiative and its remarkable programs, click here!

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Si usted habla español y desea una explicación de esta conexión comunitaria, por favor comuníquese al número
303-344-8060 x28078.


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