April 2002

Doing Their Homework

I recently read your article “Primary Colors” [September]. It was a great article, but I was a little disappointed that my school, Ricardo Flores Magón Academy, was left out. We have 90 percent Free-and-Reduced Lunch and 80 percent English Language Learners, yet we have some of the best CSAP scores in the state of Colorado, with the majority of our scores being in the 90 to 100 percent proficiency/advanced category. Our students are not only great students, but they have won numerous tournaments in tennis and chess. We are the only free public tennis and chess academy in the nation, and our students have taken to both sports—and have dominated.
Marcos Martinez
Head of School, Westminster

You are correct that Challenge School is located in Denver. However, it is not a Denver school and does not accept applications from out-of-district students as it clearly states on its website. It’s frustrating for us that live very close to the school that such a prime piece of educational property located in Denver can’t be taken advantage of by those of us in the DPS school district.
Kenlynn White via e-mail

I just read “Primary Colors,” and after getting over the initial shock that some schools were not recognized, I attempted to better understand the author’s methodology. I don’t believe this article gives a true account of the top schools in the area.

I am quite familiar with the new growth model found at SchoolView.org. 5280’s article summarizes the X–Y graph and explains the new growth model nicely, and I agree with Alexander Ooms’ opinion that this is a very interesting method of rating a school. However, the article falls short when the author comes up with his numbers.

I started with [Aurora Quest and Challenge School] because they are both noted for a history of continued excellence; however, I had to stop when five of six of the numbers I checked were inaccurate for the growth figure reported in the article. I could not make the numbers reported in the article jibe with what I reviewed on the website. Perhaps some might say these numbers are not off by much, but to me it screams of poor research, poor proofreading skills, a deadline, or an agenda.
Kirsten Krzystek
via e-mail

5280’s 2010 schools package, “Primary Colors,” evaluated public elementary schools primarily using the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Colorado Growth Model. Through the process of reporting and researching the piece, we used the latest available numbers, from 2009, as provided by the CDE, and confirmed the data as part of our fact-checking process before sending the issue to press.

The CDE has since updated the Growth Model site to include 2010 numbers. The update also included a recalibration of past years’ statistics, including 2009, to account for students who have left or entered a school between the beginning of the school year and October 1. The effect of the CDE’s revised methodology is that, in some cases, the CDE’s updated numbers on SchoolView.org are slightly different from the numbers we published in the September issue. For a complete explanation of the Growth Model and the latest statistics on public schools, please visit SchoolView.org. —Ed.

Term of Endearment?

I was very sad—and mad—to see that you referred to our Denver Broncos football team as the “Donkeys” in two instances in the August magazine [“The 5280 Football Preview”]. This term is offensive to football lovers born and raised as Broncos fans. Coming from a magazine that is supposed to represent Denver, I thought the choice of nickname for our team was in poor taste. To us die-hard Broncos fans, that term is something that other teams call us to put us down. I think the editor should have caught this and removed it. Once I saw it, I put the magazine down and wanted to read no more.
Lia Salazar

Candid Support

Patrick Doyle’s excellent piece on Andrew Romanoff [“The Spoiler,” August] confirmed my belief that Romanoff is our man. Although I will vote for Michael Bennet if he wins the primary, I support Romanoff because he is committed to fighting the good fight for the right reasons.

Our state and country need people who can work both sides of the aisle and have a record of doing so successfully over many years. Although there is a push for nonpoliticians to go to Washington, they are all too often ineffective when they get there because things get done very differently than they do in the profit-driven business world. It takes years to learn how to navigate that system, and honestly, we haven’t the time. A politician and an underdog? There’s no better combination for shaking things up in the hallowed halls of Washington, D.C.
Cynthia Kemper

Reproductive Decisions

I was reading an older issue of 5280 and read Lindsey B. Koehler’s article [“A Baby Story,” June] about being childfree. It’s like something I would’ve written! I too decided to be childfree when I was 18, but at the time I thought it was just one of those teenagers-don’t-know-any-better phases. Well, I’m 39 now and married to a childfree-by-choice husband and sometimes I still wonder why I haven’t heard that biological clock ticking. However, what tempers the occasional doubts is the way I visualize the future on a subconscious level—there’s no child in the picture; a lot of exotic trips; fabulous outfits; fantastic food; loving husband, family, friends; and growing old gracefully. I may regret it someday, but I would rather regret not having children than have them and regret that. For now, I’m happy to be childfree.
Lillianne Sy Santos

I read with interest your story about whether or not you should have children. Is it really your biological clock that you’re worried about? Or the judgments from society? From the moment a girl is born, she is told that her goal in life should be to get married and have lots of babies. If for some reason she decides to do something else with her life, she is told she will be cold, miserable, and alone. But you and I both know this is not true. I strongly encourage you to follow your heart. You say that choosing not to have a child is selfish. But what are the reasons for having children? Having someone that loves you unconditionally and that will take care of you when you’re old? Aren’t those selfish reasons as well? I think you have the courage to say publicly what a lot of women feel privately: There are other options for women besides being married and having kids. I have no problem with women who choose that life. But that is not what all women want and those of us who choose to not have children should not be looked down upon.
Julie Patton

Humans must begin to recognize the disconnect between their reproductive habits and the damage to the natural world. Some women must start choosing reason over instinct. All the superb things 5280 highlights about Colorado every month are slowly dwindling away due to development. Yes, children are wonderful, but we no longer have the luxury of rampant reproduction.
Name Withheld

I feel strongly that not everyone wants or needs children. I am 52 and more than 20 years ago when my husband and I got married we decided on “no kids,” and we have never looked back or regretted our decision. It is only selfish to have children (because others think you should) and not really want them. Parenting is such an important job to do right, and it takes everything you’ve got. If you are at all unsure, don’t do it. Thank goodness in this day and age we have the right to choose the way we want to lead our lives.
Barbara Villiotti
via e-mail

Life After Graduation

>I want to thank you for “The Full Catastrophe” [May]. It spoke directly to me. I graduated with a four-year degree in ’06. Since then, I’ve been employed with four companies, all for the same reason: the allure of money. It hasn’t come, and neither has happiness. Five minutes before picking up your article, I was telling a friend that I’m six months into another job that doesn’t feel right, and maybe I’ll find a job mowing lawns for the summer to reflect on what I truly want to be. Entertaining that thought, I read your article. It made me laugh and flipped my perspective around. My new thought is this: I’m going to stick it out and embrace the chaos. If this doesn’t work, I’ll find an aspen, make sure I hate it, and quit.
Drew De Vries
via e-mail


In the September issue, our dining critic reviewed Satchel’s Market, a Park Hill–based eatery. Unfortunately, 5280 was informed after the issue went to press that the restaurant would be closing at the end of September. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our readers.