Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Manual High School Reborn

Ninth-graders at the reincarnated Manual High School will begin their days this fall encircled in a morning meeting talking about successes and failures and what they need to do to make school work.

The "new" Manual - its characteristics lifted from flourishing private and charter schools - won't look like any traditional Denver high school when its doors swing open in August.

All kids will have "family" groups to talk about home or friend problems. The school days will be longer for those falling behind academically. Students will most likely have a dress code.

"A lot of the kids have jobs where they show up on time, they behave, they dress appropriately," said incoming principal Rob Stein. "I think it will look like a good business."

Stein, who left his job at posh Graland Country Day School to take over the high- poverty northeast Denver high school, is determined not to make common urban high school mistakes that lead to abysmal student achievement, high dropout rates and droves of disgruntled teachers.

In other words, he needs to start over.

Manual is the first "new" high school in this administration to take flight.

It was closed in the spring of 2006 for a year, and the 558 students went to other schools. This fall, Manual will begin only with ninth-graders and add a grade level each year until it is fully grown out in 2010. About 100 teens are enrolled so far.

Its reopening comes at a time when Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet and the school board are mulling over mass school closures that could give way to dozens of "new" reorganized schools.

The Denver Post