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"Dad taught me everything I know. Unfortunately, he didn't teach me everything he knows."
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 6 June 2018  

None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar  
None Correction   None FFPD Column   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher  
None Marks Meanderings   None Monkey Business   None News Briefs   None News From D 49  
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Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
  D 49 by the numbers
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Another school year has begun for Falcon School District 49; and, as students head back to class, The New Falcon Herald compiled updated facts about the district from the D 49 website and the Colorado Department of Education’s website to show D 49 “by the numbers.”
   District size
   According to the D 49 website, the district “spans 133 square miles of urban and rural areas in Colorado, covering northeast Colorado Springs and the Falcon area of El Paso County.”
   Student count for 2016-2017
   Number of schools
   Teacher count for 2016-2017
   Administrator count for 2017-2018 (including school, zone and district level positions)
   Average teacher salary for 2016-2017
   Graduation rates by school for 2015-2016
  • Falcon High School – 94.0 percent
  • GOAL Academy – 38.9 percent
  • Patriot Learning Center – 47.2 percent
  • Sand Creek High School – 85.5 percent
  • Vista Ridge High School – 87.0 percent

   Marie LaVere-Wright, D 49 Board of Education president, said that while the graduation rates at GOAL Academy and PLC look bleak, they are non-traditional schools that give students who did not succeed in a traditional high school another chance.
   “Many of the students that attend those schools have dropped out of other districts,” she said. Those students typically do not complete high school within four years of their first day, which the CDE does not consider as a “graduate” in their numbers, LaVere-Wright said. The true district graduation rate is closer to 90 percent, which is higher than the state average, she said.
   “Our goal is to provide a valuable education to all of our students, regardless of whether they’re on the college path or career training path,” LaVere-Wright said. “We have been listening to our community and expanding our career and technical education programs. It is all about helping each kid find the right pathway to the career that is best for them, whether that entails college or not.”
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  July BOE meeting wrap-up

   The Falcon School District 49 Board of Education met in July without Kevin Butcher, treasurer, and John Graham, vice president, who were both absent with prior notice.
   Open forum
   Mark Braunlich spoke on behalf of Paul Lundeen, Colorado State House District 19 representative, and read Lundeen’s written statement in support of the Liberty Tree Academy’s charter application.
   Ronnie Wilson, president of the Liberty Tree Academy, thanked the board for considering the school’s charter application and the many LTA supporters who attended the meeting. The charter school, set to open in August 2018, will be built near the intersection of Eastonville and Judge Orr roads in Falcon.
   Action items
   The board unanimously approved
  • The LTA charter application with certain conditions
  • The rental agreement for the Falcon Homeschool Program to occupy six classrooms and one teacher workroom at the Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy for two school years
  • Review and revise the following board policies: qualifications/responsibilities of chief officers; chief officer’s contracts; primary/preprimary education preparation; preparation for post-secondary and workforce success; field trips; exemption from required instruction; and student interviews and searches
  • A proposal allowing the chief business officer and the community and facility planning manager to identify dedicated parcels of land that can be converted to fee-in-lieu-of land opportunities
  • Revisions to the following district policies: reporting child abuse/child protection; and ensuring all students meet standards
  • The following job descriptions: dean of learning pathways at Vista Ridge High School; technical quality assurance manager; and the updated version of the board certified applied behavior analyst
  • The appointment of Donna Richer, executive assistant to the BOE, as the designated election official
  • The call for nominations for school director candidates
  • A memorandum of understanding between the district and the Colorado Digital Board of Cooperative Educational Services to assign part of the D 49 CBO’s professional time to the CDBOCES in exchange for commensurate compensation and benefits
  • Emergency approval of certain policies due to implications of the Claire Davis School Safety Act, as follows: safe schools; security/access to buildings; liability of school personnel/staff protection; staff training in crisis prevention and management; secret societies/gang activity; use of physical intervention and restraint; and student fees, fines and charges
  • The revised version of the chief operations officer job description
  • Revisions to the students rights and responsibilities handbook

   Discussion items
   Dave Watson, director of safety and security, updated the board on district operations, including the success of unannounced safety drills; and the strength of collaborations with the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Watson also said changes are being made to the radio communications system location to enhance communication among schools.
   C.J. Jilek, co-facilities director, presented information on revisions to the grounds maintenance supervisor’s pay structure from an hourly position to a salaried position.
   The BOE moved this item to an action item at the next regular meeting.
   Sue Holmes, Falcon zone leader, and Brian Smith, executive principal of the Firebird Nation Campus, revealed the six possible names for the new Falcon zone elementary school: Bennett Ranch, Paint Brush Hills, Talon, Antelope Meadows, Pronghorn Trails and Antler Meadows. Smith said the zone’s elementary students will vote on the names, and he will bring that back to the BOE in August, along with the chosen mascot and school colors.
   The board moved this item to an action item at the next regular meeting.
   Peter Hilts, chief education officer, recognized the district’s communications department for their outstanding work over the past 18 months, all culminating in 14 awards for communications excellence from the Colorado School Public Relations Association this year.
   Matt Meister, director of communications, introduced Amy Matisek as the new internal communications manager. Meister said the upcoming year will be an opportunity to use the fresh team members to help the department grow and to better understand the community.
   Melissa Andrews, community and project planning manager, presented information on a proposed boundary change for the Sand Creek innovation zone. New subdivisions scheduled for construction east of Marksheffel Road and south of Barnes Road would be part of the Falcon innovation zone based on the current boundaries, even though they are closer to the Sand Creek zone’s schools, she said. “We want to have this boundary change in place before the homes are built and the kids move in,” Andrews said.
   The change will not impact the nearby elementary schools and would feed more students into Sand Creek High School, which is currently not at capacity, she said.
   The BOE moved this item to an action item at the next regular meeting.
   Brett Ridgway, CBO, discussed a proposal from the Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms. The proposal offers a gift of additional money from the organization if the district agrees to a fee-in-lieu-of arrangement for two sites currently reserved for the district by the developers, he said. If the district agreed to the proposal, the fee-in-lieu-of money and the gifted money would be used to build an updated administration building that would be more appropriately sized and professional-looking, Ridgway said.
   After some discussion, the board agreed to have the communications and business departments work together to get an official proposal from the FCBC, and to determine when to start the public information process.
   The board reviewed and moved several policies to action items: The policies involved performance; accident reports; information technology; staff conduct; instructional staff contracts; evaluation of licensed personnel; evaluation of evaluators; education support staff vacancies; school calendars; health and family life/sex education; instructional materials; student cell phones and other personal technology devices; student use of the Internet and electronic communications; and guest user policy.
   Marie LaVere-Wright, president, presented information about the Colorado Association of School Board’s delegate assembly, and said any new resolutions must be submitted by Aug. 24 for inclusion at the assembly. She said other board members and the chief officers need to bring their ideas to the regular August meeting.
   LaVere-Wright presented the BOE goal on formal employee outreach and structure. Hilts said this is primarily aimed at board-initiated interaction. Ridgway said he would like to get additional input from the zone leaders.
   This item will be a discussion item at the work session in August.
   The next regular meeting of the BOE is Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the D 49 Education Services Center.
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