The new falcon herald logo.
El Paso County Colorado District 49

BOE August meeting wrap-up

The El Paso County School District 49 Board of Education held its monthly meeting Aug. 11. Amy Matisek, internal communications manager, recognized the following Fantastic 49 recipients:

  • Jared Welch, athletic director at Sand Creek High School, for being named 2022 Athletic Director of the Year by the Colorado Society of Health and Physical Education
  • Debra Lagle, third-grade teacher and lead interventionist, Stetson Elementary School, for exceptional relationship-building with parents and students
  • Jeanne Hornberger, Roxanne Horton and Stacy Shaffer, nutrition services staff, for outstanding problem-solving efforts during labor shortages and supply chain challenges
  • Whitney Apodaca, Leslie Garza, Courtney Hutchinson, Jackie Ornelas, Lori Maher and James Sweeney, Renaissance leaders at Horizon Middle School, for their impact on school culture, leading to the school being named a Jostens Renaissance School of Distinction for the second time
  • Liz Dalzell, assistant principal at Horizon Middle School, for earning the National Jostens Renaissance Educator of the Year awardChief executive officerís updatePeter Hilts, chief executive officer, said that Ron Springs, director of finance, and Paul Anderson, executive director of people and culture, wrote a proposal to increase paraprofessional pay that was approved. Hilts said the district has already gained new hires, and some individuals in different roles within the district have applied for paraprofessional positions. ìRaises incentivize people to reevaluate and recalibrate,î Hilts said. He gave kudos to the safety and security staff for their work ensuring buildings are safe and ready for students. Communications staff is now part of the operations function. Hilts said the team exceeded expectations for the start of the school year. Hilts gave a shout out to the registration team for enrolling new students in July and August.Student Board of Representativesí updateMoses Thomas, student at Sand Creek High School, thanked those in attendance for expressing their opinions. He said the district should put more attention on mental health, noting the focus is mainly on academics. ìIím a firm believer that everything should be balanced,î Thomas said, adding that mental health resources should be increased and promoted so that students can be heard.Jamie Bell, student at Falcon High School, said there is not enough information available and encouragement for students to attend AP courses. She said some classes have been canceled because of a lack of registration. Bell said she would also like to see more after-school clubs available.Board updateJohn Graham, president, said board members post their report of activities each month on the D 49 website. The reports are located on the BOE web page under the meeting date agenda. Graham said he visited many schools and met hundreds of teachers who were positive and enthusiastic. He encouraged the community to volunteer in classrooms and accountability committees. ìIf you want to make a difference, volunteer and be a positive influence and role model to students and help our teachers and our support staff in classrooms,î Graham said. He said the BOE is reviewing policies as part of their role in policy governance and continuing to work on collaborating, communicating and cooperating with one another.Rick Van Wieren, vice president, complimented Hilts on his work in the district and Horizon Middle School for being named a Jostens Renaissance School. He said Falcon High School has begun the process of becoming a Renaissance School.Ivy Liu said she attended a Flippin leadership course with leaders from the Power Zone. Liu said, ìThe biggest walkaway is you learn how others perceive you, which creates opportunities for introspection for personal growth and improvement.îLori Thompson, secretary, attended the Special Education Advisory Council. Thompson said there is a resource fair taking place Sept. 17 at Skyview Middle School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in collaboration with School District 20 and District 11. Volunteers are needed for various activities, including face-painting and setup and teardown of craft tables. Thompson said the SEAC is working to recruit new members.Jamilynn DíAvola thanked Hilts for working with the board on key performance indicators that include metrics. ìIt is awesome to see measurable goals,î she said. ìWe are here for academics and making sure that kids are learning, including accelerated students and gifted and talented.îAction itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the following:
    • Mandarin Chinese course description for grades 9-12
    • Banning Lewis Ranch Academy armed security policy waiver request, allowing the school to hire a third-party service for armed security
    • Graham appointed as board representative to be a voting member of the Colorado Association of School Boards delegate assembly
    • Graham appointed as sole board designee to Education reEnvisioned Board of Cooperative Education Services board of directors
    The board passed the community engagement manager job position approved for hiring as of Sept. 1Discussion itemsRebecca Thompson, director of academic affairs at the Academy for Literacy, Learning & Innovation Excellence provided an overview of the school that is serving 130 students with dyslexia and dyslexic tendencies. Their mission is to create dyslexia awareness, increase educational opportunities for children with dyslexia and dyslexic tendencies and support their families. Thompson said the organization needs to grow and expand to meet future needs. She said it is estimated that 15 to 20% of the population has dyslexia or dyslexic tendencies. The ALLIES Foundation is working with possible donors on a building addition. Thompson said, ìThe Foundation appreciates the financial commitment made on the part of the district and hope that we can enhance and provide a level of additional funding to further support this effort and ensure that no student with dyslexia is exempt from a program that they need and deserve.îMonica Deines-Henderson, director of nutrition services, provided an update of the nutrition program. She said that school nutrition services are the highest regulated entity of the United States Department of Agriculture. The district received support from the general fund during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other revenue sources are a la carte meals, adult meals and commodity programs designed to bring U.S. agriculture products into communities. During the 2021-2022 school year, they served about 275,000 breakfasts and just over 1,367,000 lunches. Deines-Henderson said that one out of four students in the district are from homes with food insecurities. The department has 106 staff members and 31 open positions. Deines-Henderson said the challenges they are facing are workforce shortages, the return of priced meals after two years of government-paid meals during the COVID pandemic, aging infrastructure, supply chain shortages and increasing food, supplies and labor costs.David Watson, director of safety and security, provided an update on monitoring activity during the 2021-2022 school year. There were 15 million internet activities analyzed, 5,572 total alerts, 1,680 severe alerts and 13 critical alerts prompting emergency calls to district security. Two-thirds of the activities and reports revolve around mental health, the majority for depression and self-harm/suicide. Safe2Tell reports have trended upward throughout the year with 465 total tips. Watson said he is encouraged by an increasing number of reports and decreasing number of suicides, indicating a positive impact from community involvement. Watson said there will be increased training this year and increased presence of armed security in elementary schools.Jason White, coordinator of community care, reported that youth suicides in El Paso County have decreased in the past year. He said that last year there were 441 suicide risk assessments conducted in the district. He said that QPR Institute suicide prevention training is being provided throughout the D 49 workforce with a goal of 100% of employees completing the 90-minute training. White said training is also available for parents. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by dialing 988. ìEveryone can be an agent of change and save a life,î White said.White provided a strategic objective review of de-escalation mitigation and response at the classroom level. He said a three-step approach is used: prevention, intervention and post intervention. White said, ìThe need far outweighs capacity at this time.î He said the district is in the pilot year of the new program, which has been placed in five schools. He said the district utilizes a cross-functional behavior support team consisting of a district behavior analyst, behavior support technician and three community engagement advocates who are licensed social workers who use restorative practices, suicide risk assessments and violence risk assessments. White anticipates the program will roll out to 70% of the district next year and 100% in the following year.Graham presented the BOE resolutions for the Colorado Association of School Boardsfall delegate assembly. The board will support full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Act and a proposal to use bus video to capture/penalize traffic violators of ìStopî arms on buses.The next regular meeting of the BOE is Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Peakview Hall at the Creekside Success Center in Colorado Springs.

    StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers