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"If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."
– George Washington  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 5 May 2019  

None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar  
None Community Photos   None Did You Know?   None FFPD Column   None FFPD News  
None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness   None Letters to the Editor   None Marks Meanderings  
None Monkey Business   None News From D 49   None People on the Plains   None Pet Care  
None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Rumors  
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
  Celebrating 100 years in 2020

   The Falcon School opened in 1920 on what is now the Falcon Legacy Campus in School District 49. We are looking for pictures, artifacts — memories of the district covering the last 100 years for a celebration event in June 2020. Join our planning committee! If you have information or items to share, contact Karen S. at, 719-244-3232 or 719-683-6243, or Karen H.   
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  December BOE meeting wrap up
  By Lindsey Harrison

   All members of the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education were present at the regular board meeting in December. Natalie Danford, 11th grader from Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, and Sam Nguyen, 11th grader from Vista Ridge High School, were present as part of the student board of representatives.
   Before the regular meeting, the BOE held a “Fantastic 49” event and honored Ft. Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base for their collaborative support of the district.
   Board update
   Kevin Butcher, treasurer, attended the Colorado Association of School Boards’ conference in Colorado Springs.
   Dave Cruson, secretary, said he also attended the conference and learned how important plants and physical activity are to the developing brain.
   He also thanked the Patriot High School culinary students for hosting a Thanksgiving meal for the Falcon Senior Services members.
   Chief officers’ update
   Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, provided data from November’s election on each voting precinct within the district to show the voter breakdown.
   Pedro Almeida, chief operations officer, described the process his department uses to determine when to call off school because of inclement weather. He also said Dave Watson, safety and security director, presented at the CASB conference to further the conversation on how to improve safety and security throughout the state.
   Open forum
   One parent voiced concern about the “poor communication” between the district and the community regarding the snow day called for Dec. 13. She said the district needs to consider calling snow days based on conditions in individual zones instead of district-wide.
   Action items
   The BOE unanimously approved the following:
  • Revisions to the following policies and procedures: board officers; notification of board meetings; agenda; compliance with the Affordable Care Act; facilities development/goals/priority objectives; professional research and publishing; literacy and reading comprehension assessments; school-related student publications; student organizations; student organizations –- open forum; and relations with state agencies
  • The charter contract between D 49 and the Automotive Institute of Science and Technology
  • A course proposal for algebra II at Sand Creek High School
  • Certification of the district’s property tax mill levy for the 2018 year
  • New job descriptions: Child Find early childhood specialist and Child Find coordinator
  • Adoption of a policy regarding equivalence of services (Title I)

   The board approved the new job description of career technical education program manager in a 4-1 vote, with Cruson opposed.
   Discussion items
   Chris Dempsey, president of the board for Imagine Classical Academy, and Andy Franko, iConnect zone leader, presented information on the charter renewal for ICA. Franko said the school’s board intends to separate from the original educational services provider, Imagine Inc., and move forward as the new Grand Peak Academy. The school’s facility at the northeast corner of the intersection of Cowpoke Road and Canary Circle in Colorado Springs is currently under construction.
   The BOE discussed concerns with renewing the charter contract, including the ability of the school to meet student enrollment numbers. John Graham, vice president, said he wanted to approach the renewal of this contract as they would any other charter school contract renewal, which would be a five-year contract.
   The board unanimously agreed to move this item forward for action at the January meeting.
   Almeida provided an update on the 2016 3B mill levy override projects and said all are on track and going well. The principals at each school have a target date in February to submit their requests for priority 2 projects they would like to have completed, he said.
   Erika Siemieniec, business teacher at SCHS, presented a proposal for a new Future Business Leaders of America Leadership I and FBLA Leadership II course at her school. The board moved this item for action in January.
   Dave Kranz, social studies teacher at FHS, presented proposals for three new courses at his school: large animal vet science, veterinary pet care and agriculture economics and marketing. He said the courses will include partnering with local businesses like Big R, Bartlett Hay and Tender Care Veterinary Center. Kranz said he plans to bring his own large animals to the school for educational purposes. Graham asked Kranz to research whether the district would need to increase its insurance for the proposals. The board moved all three course proposals for action in January.
   Bruce Grose, principal at VRHS, presented a proposal for a SAT/PSAT math prep course at his school. The board moved the proposal for action in January.
   Eric Canuel, fine arts teacher at FHS, presented a proposal for a digital art course at his school. The board moved the proposal for action in January.
   Grose presented proposals for name changes to certain courses at his school: chamber choir to show choir; critical thinking to global studies; and business math to personal finance. The board moved all proposals for action in January.
   David Rex, district accountability advisory committee chairman, presented the DAAC annual report and said he wanted to suggest a bylaws change to stagger board member terms to preserve continuity. The board forwarded this suggestion for action in January.
   Nancy Lemmond, executive director of individualized education, presented a proposal for the new job description of individualized education compliance assistant, which she said would compile tasks already being done and help avoid overtime work. The board forwarded the proposal for action in January.
   Ron Sprinz, director of finance, presented the most recent amended budget.
   Amber Whetstine, executive director of learning services, provided an update on the progress in school accreditation designations.
   She also presented a request for changes to the 2019-2020 school calendar. The board moved the proposal for action in January.
   The next regular meeting of the BOE is Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the D 49 Education Services Center.
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  Military partnerships saluted during Fantastic 49
  Submitted by D 49

   Thanks to partnerships with local military installations, El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education students with parents who serve in the armed forces have programs available just for them.
   During Fantastic 49 festivities Dec. 13, before the monthly board of education meeting; Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base were honored for their collaborative support of District 49.
   D 49 has received more than $3.5 million in grants for military students over the past three years with the support of military partners, said Lou Fletcher, Ph.D, director of culture and services.
   IGNITE, made possible by a Department of Defense Education Activity Grant, has a strong focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum for elementary and middle school students. Another grant initiative, BRIGHT, promotes the social-emotional needs of students and fosters restorative relationships.
   Senior Cambria Carpenter from Vista Ridge High School kicked off the recognition ceremony with a cappella performance of the national anthem. Sand Creek High School ROTC cadets presented the colors and introduced the special military guests. D John Graham, board vice president, presented plaques and commemorative coins as a token of appreciation to each honoree.
   Stephanie Gillotte, school liaison officer from Fort Carson, was presented with a plaque for the military installation’s partnership with the district. Representatives from Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB were next on the agenda to receive accolades.
   “The average military child changes schools six times from kindergarten through 12th grade,” said Col. Sam Johnson from Peterson AFB. “We appreciate you all welcoming families into the community.”
   Col. Jacob Middleton from Schriever AFB echoed Col. Johnson’s sentiments. “Thank you for the support you provide,” Middleton said. “It’s the best I’ve seen in 26 years in the military.”
Sand Creek High School ROTC cadets stand ready to present the colors for the special military appreciation presentation during Fantastic 49 festivities on Dec. 13. Photos submitted
Lou Fletcher, Ph.D., director of culture and services, shares the Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award with representatives from Peterson Air Force Base during the special military-themed Fantastic 49 celebration.
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  MVEA scholarships

   This year, Mountain View Electric Association is awarding $25,000 in college scholarships. The program includes scholarships to accredited colleges, universities, junior or community colleges; as well as a vocational/technical scholarship. NEW IN 2018: A Power Lineman Scholarship is available for students pursuing a career through a lineman training program, as well as a Power Engineer Scholarship for current college students pursuing a power engineering career. Visit to learn more. Scholarship applications are due by Jan. 16, 2019.
   For questions, contact: Erica Meyer at 719-494-2654;
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