Jenny Brundin

Jenny Brundin is the education reporter for Colorado Public Radio. She joined CPR in 2011 after spending 16 years at KUER in Salt Lake City. Before her career in radio, Jenny worked as a literacy teacher at a refugee center in Alberta, Canada.

Education:
Bachelor’s degree in political science, McGill University; Master’s degree in journalism, University of California, Berkeley. Jenny also holds a graduate diploma in adult education from the University of Alberta, Canada.

Professional background:
Jenny joined Colorado Public Radio as education reporter in July 2011 after spending 16 years at KUER, Salt Lake City, as senior reporter and news director. While at KUER, Jenny provided far-reaching coverage on a number of topics, including education, politics, immigration, health care and business. As news director, she also developed projects and series focused on issue-specific forums, citizen-based projects, commentaries and youth-produced stories.

Before her career in radio, Jenny worked as a literacy teacher at a refugee center in Alberta, Canada, where she developed curriculum and participated in the country’s first program designed to help refugee children and teens adapt to life in Canada.

Awards:
Jenny has won numerous national awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, regional Murrow awards for news seriesand was named Best Radio Reporter six times by the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. In 2013 and 2015, Jenny won first prize nationally for education beat reporting in the Education Writer’s Association contest and third prize for her report on violence in Denver schools.Jenny won second prize in the nation in beat reporting in EWA’s 2014 contest.Jenny also served as senior fellow in NPR’s Economic Training Project in 2009.

Q & A

Why I became a journalist:
I lived near a library and spent lots of time in the periodicals room reading newspapers from around the world. I loved how newspapers connected me to different perspectives, ideas and issues. I wound up in journalism because I enjoy learning from people all the time and having the privilege of being let into their lives to tell their stories.

Why I got into radio:
Radio is a magical medium to me. My love for it began on cold winter nights in Montreal, sitting in the dark, watching the radio lights flicker from CBC’s “Brave New Waves,” an underground music show. Later, someone gave me a shortwave radio. I was entranced by the pops, crackles and headlines from around the world – Cuba, the Netherlands, India. As an intern at KQED in San Francisco, I did my very first radio piece on the city’s amazing mural art. I loved the challenge of describing a visual art form on radio. Many years of long nights in the “radio zone” followed, working with tape and a razor blade trying to make stories come alive. Twenty years later, I’m still excited by radio’s possibilities.

How I ended up at CPR:
I met CPR’s News Director Kelley Griffin years ago at a conference and was impressed by her dedication to long-form story telling and willingness to try new approaches. The education beat is very rich and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. My family loves hiking, camping and skiing. So, we packed our bags and headed to the other side of the Rockies from Utah.

  • As part of our series “Following Trevista” we take a final year-end peek into a pre-school through 8th grade Denver school that’s undergoing a turbulent process called a “turnaround.”  That’s because too many of the students aren’t reading and writing well enough. And that means most of the teachers aren’t coming back.
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  • When a school is facing failure, district officials can shake things up by launching a process called “Turnaround.” We’ve been talking about what that means for one school – Trevista – in Denver as part of a series following the school’s progress.
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  • Trevista ECE-8th grade in northwest Denver has struggled for years. It has tried to remake itself, even making some gains. But not fast enough according to state and district officials, so now the school is facing the most radical restructuring in the education arsenal.
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  • Colorado Public Radio is airing a year-long series on a school called Trevista in Northwest Denver. It’s a place where a few years ago, fights brought cops every week, students didn’t follow rules, learning suffered. Some recent improvements just haven’t been enough.
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  • This year Colorado Public Radio is following a school in Northwest Denver that is undergoing big changes. Trevista is part of a federal experiment called “Turnaround,” where failing schools get new principals who have the ability to make sweeping changes, including hiring and firing teachers.
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  • State officials have launched an investigation into possible cheating on standardized tests at two Denver elementary schools.
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  • From time to time, Colorado Matters will check in with our reporters about the big ideas brewing on their beats.
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  • President Barack Obama rallied thousands of students at CU Boulder last night. He spoke about the high cost of college and made a pitch to Congress to keep interest rates on a popular student loan from doubling. Colorado Public Radio’s education reporter Jenny Brundin was there.
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  • Colorado ranks third in the nation for the number of students defaulting on student loans. That’ll be on the minds of many CU Boulder students who will be in the audience when President Obama speaks on their campus Tuesday evening.
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  • State school board members have signed off on the last piece of Colorado’s controversial law that requires teachers to undergo yearly evaluations.  Colorado Public Radio’s Education Reporter Jenny Brundin explains that it sets out how teachers can appeal bad reviews.
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  • When it comes to how to improve public schools, people tend to fall into one of two camps. One says schools don’t have enough money to do the job well. The other more money shouldn’t be dumped into failing schools. They say reform must come first.
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  • Denver school officials launched an ambitious experiment five years ago. They went into neighborhoods with chronically low-performing schools and created new ones, and in some cases, they overhauled bad ones.  A new report shows that the majority of the new schools are still struggling, but there are some bright spots.
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  • A bill that makes it easier for schools to hold back struggling third graders passed its first floor vote in the Colorado House Tuesday. The measure is meant to ensure all young students actually learn to read.  CPR’s education reporter Jenny Brundin covered the two hours of passionate debate over the bill.
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  • Contract talks between public school districts and unions would be open to the public, under a bill that passed its final committee in the state House Thursday.
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  • More than 500 Colorado teachers, principals and administrators came together Monday to start figuring out how to comply with the state’s new teacher effectiveness law. The event was a rare meeting of the minds among groups that are often on opposite sides of school policy issues.
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  • Next Monday state lawmakers consider the question of whether third graders should be held back if they fail their reading tests. A proposed bill would push schools harder to start earlier with kids to get them reading by third grade. But if they can’t read well enough, they could be held back.
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