Amid troubled times, school execs kick off conference in Breckenridge |

Amid troubled times, school execs kick off conference in Breckenridge

summit daily news

BRECKENRIDGE – The 41st annual Colorado Association of School Executives Convention kicked off bright and early Wednesday with a special speaker – Colorado’s Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones. The three-day conference is being held at Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge.

Jones said he sees himself as a service provider for educators in the state, and he acted as the introductory speaker for the convention. With three days of keynote speakers, clinics and networking, the school executives conference aims to help educators invest in themselves as school leaders who will, in turn, invest in Colorado’s kids.

Jones was appointed to his post in June 2007 and, under his guidance, the Colorado Department of Education works to serve and support the field, partnering with schools and districts on education initiatives. The department also directs resources to the districts with the most need.

The commissioner’s leadership has recently focused on closing the achievement gap throughout state schools.

“The state is making headway,” Jones said.

In his address to conference attendees, the commissioner also stressed that balance is important when making decisions on day-to-day activities and state-wide education initiatives.

Colorado is currently facing lots of new initiatives, like working to close the achievement gap and the federal initiative “Race to the Top.”

According to The Denver Post, Colorado is one of 19 finalists in the second phase of the Race to the Top competition, and independent observers say the state has a good chance of being among the 10 to 15 winners, who will be announced in September. Through this, Colorado schools may become eligible for $600 million in grants from the federal government. Colorado lawmakers also recently passed Senate Bill 191, a new law which ties teacher evaluations to student performance. It also changes the ways nonprobationary status are given to educators.

Jones stressed that Race to the Top initiatives should be talked about at length, and with balance, by educators – “Whether you support it or are against it.”

“It supports you,” he added.

Jones continued Race to the Top discussions with state education leaders at a lunch meeting Wednesday.

Other topics to be discussed by educators throughout the convention include: The shifting landscape of education over the next decade, ballot measures in the November election, stress reduction, increasing student literacy through online technology, analyzing the teacher evaluation systems, building a culture for learning, special education, and much more.

For more information about the Colorado Association of School Executives Convention, visit

SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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