Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Across the country students walked out of school Wednesday morning, including in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. In Colorado Springs, several hundred people surrounded Palmer High School for 17 minutes to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting.

In his first formal policy response to the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month, President Trump is setting up a federal commission to explore school safety. He's also endorsing legislation to improve background checks, and urging states to pass laws temporarily keeping guns out of the hands of people judged to be dangerous to themselves or others.

A policy proposal unveiled Sunday evening has Trump renewing his support for arming teachers and other school employees on a volunteer basis. He stopped short of endorsing a higher age limit for would-be gun buyers.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC, Mountain West News Bureau

The national conversation we’re having on guns is particularly painful in Colorado, where Columbine and Aurora are still active wounds. And like the rest of the country, this Mountain West state is deeply divided over what measures to take.

On the NPR Ed Team, I am what you might call the grizzled veteran. I've seen education trends come and go and come again. And go again.

You get the idea.

In years past, around December, my teammates would often pause by my desk and ask: "What do you think we'll be covering next year?"

I've always found this a fun thought exercise, and, at some point, my editor suggested I jot down my answers and share them beyond our cubicles. And so, here are a few predictions for 2018.

Four years ago state lawmakers – and the governor – created a law to help undocumented children follow their American dreams. They allowed them to pay the significantly cheaper in-state tuition to go to state colleges instead of higher out-of-state prices. The requirements: They must graduate from a Colorado high school that they’ve attended for three years and promise to pursue citizenship.

“This is an issue that has been a challenge in our state and our country for many years,” said Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, one of the main sponsors of Senate Bill 33.

The state of Colorado collected $180 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales in the 2016 fiscal year.

But could the well run dry?

As of July 1, 2017, Nevada is the eighth state to sell recreational marijuana -- and it won’t be the last. California, the sixth largest economy in the world, will start selling pot Jan. 1, 2018.

Jeffrey M. Foster / Courtesy UCCS

It's been slightly more than a month since Dr. Venkat Reddy officially took over the top spot at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, but he's no stranger to the school.  He's spent 25 years there, starting as a finance faculty member, serving as Dean of the Business School, and shepherding online education for the University.  

Karen Montgomery / - Creative Commons

Colorado is now the first state in the country to allow all Olympic athletes training in here to get in-state college tuition. Right now, it only applies to athletes living at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

More Gun Training in Schools Advances

Jan 26, 2017

A measure that would encourage schools to offer  additional training for security guards, and pave the way for more teachers to have guns in schools cleared its first committee on Jan. 24.

Botvin LifeSkills

There's a new drug-use prevention program aimed at middle schoolers in Pueblo. The new program comes from Botvin LifeSkills, a national organization that focuses on substance abuse prevention. The program will be implemented throughout Pueblo County's School District 70 middle schools this fall.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers gave the 145th annual "State of the City" address at the Broadmoor Thursday.

Mayor Suthers called on state leaders to expand a section Interstate 25 between Denver and Colorado Springs. He also acknowledged the pain caused by two shootings that happened in the city last fall.

Another topic was jobs. 

courtesy CC/FAC

Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center have finalized a merger that, after a four-year transition period, will result in the full integration of the center into College operations.

Holly Pretsky / KRCC

Waiting in line at a soup kitchen or riding a bus may not be typical medical school curriculum, but that's exactly what some med students did last week.

Shanna Lewis / KRCC

While crews are out mopping up hot spots and reinforcing the Hayden Pass Fire perimeter in Fremont and Custer counties, there's a diverse group of young people working behind the scenes to keep the base camp running.

Holly Pretsky / KRCC

President Barack Obama spoke Thursday at the Air Force Academy commencement celebration. For many graduates, it was a day they will never forget.

The deadline for the first marijuana tax funded scholarship in Pueblo is fast approaching, but there haven't been many applicants yet.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

The Governor's commission studying American Indian representations in public schools released its report this week. The group recommends that public schools do not use American Indian mascots, but if they do, they should partner with a tribe to make sure it is done in a respectful way. Right now thirty Colorado schools use some type of American Indian mascot or imagery.

The commission went to four schools to bring American Indian and non-American Indian people together, community members, school boards, and students. This follows failed attempts at the statehouse to ban these types of mascots.

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Apr 19, 2016

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91.5 KRCC

A bill that would force school districts to allow medical marijuana on school grounds is making its way through the state legislature. As part of our Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland speaks with other statehouse reporters about the issue.

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Lt. Governor Joe Garcia to Step Down

Nov 10, 2015
Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado's Lt. Governor Joe Garcia announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from the position next year, after five years on the job. He also heads the Colorado Department of Higher Education and will leave that post to helm a higher education policy group for the western U.S., called the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Milken Family Foundation

A middle school teacher in Pueblo County is one of up to 40 nationwide to win a Milken Educator Award.

Former Staff Sergeant Ryan Moore has taught for seven years after spending six in the Army.  The 8th grade science teacher at Liberty Pointe International in Pueblo West was surprised by the award, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000. 

Moore says his teaching philosophy is based on relationships.

"Through relationship teaching, you learn about these kids, you learn about their home lives, you learn about their struggles, you learn about their successes," says Moore.  "And when you do that, teaching becomes easy because you know how to reach them.  And it also becomes easy because you want to help these kinds once you know them."

Moore says he genuinely loves his work and the people at his school. 

Milken Educator Awards come from the Milken Family Foundation, which cites Moore's classroom imagination and leadership as some of the reasons for the award.

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