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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 board meeting wrap up

The Falcon School District 49 Board of Education met in February to vote on a host of items. Prior to the regular meeting, the board featured its first ìFantastic 49î event, which recognizes outstanding educators and students within the district prior to each board meeting.For the first ìFantastic 49,î the board recognized Nicole Sinnott, a fifth-grade teacher from Evans International Elementary School. Sinnott earned a National Board Certification in early adolescence science and is among 1 percent of teachers nationwide to achieve the certification.The board also heard a presentation from Jack Janzen, a 12th grade student from Sand Creek High Schoolís Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam. The team is comprised of 22 11th and 12th grade students who earned a $9,900 grant from the Lemelson-MIT program for their work on a bio-sand mechanical filter for water sanitation. The team will travel to Cambridge, Mass., in June to present their prototype during EurekaFest at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.During the regular meeting, the board unanimously approved the contract for the Valiant Academy Charter School, the districtís 23rd school. The school will open at the Hilltop Baptist Church in Colorado Springs for kindergarten through seventh grade for the 2014-2015 school year, with plans to eventually expand through grade 12.The board also approved a resolution to support the Capital Planning Committee campaign in a 3-1 vote, with Chuck Irons, board director, opposed. During the open forum portion of the meeting, several community members spoke out against the Capital Planning Committeeís campaign. Irons also spoke about his concern for the campaign: ìAs a district, we have failed to pass local support for District 49 since 2005 and possibly earlier . . . let us give the power to our voters. We can talk about endorsement in June when weíve gotten more community input.îThe approved resolution mandates that the Capital Planning Committee work with district and community leaders to proceed with a public input phase of the campaign. This phase is meant to refine the plan so the board can submit an optimized ballot question for voter approval for the November election.The board also unanimously approved the following: board policies concerning graduation requirements and weighted grading; a contract with West-Tech Communications for the purchase and installation of a Voice Over IP system for the 2014-2015 school year; revision of the job description of zone leader from innovation leader/assistant superintendent; board policy concerning electronic participation in school board meetings for board directors; and revisions to the District Accountability Advisory Committee bylaws.Ron Goad, Special Education Advisory Committee co-chair, presented information for discussion regarding handwriting and keyboarding concerns throughout the district. ìHandwriting has become a huge issue within the district,î Goad said. ìOur studentsí keyboarding skills are just as bad.îGoad said the issues create extra work for teachers and students, and added that keyboarding is a keystone to being computer literate. Tammy Harold, board president, asked district administration to analyze the cost and strategize to combat these issues, and bring that information back to the board for discussion at a later date.Harold presented a draft of a cultural contract among the board members. ìWe hear a lot that the board isnít always trusted,î he said. ìThis is a contract between us that we will hold ourselves to and you can hold us accountable to.î The board members agreed to look over the draft and come back with input at the February work session.The next regular meeting of the BOE is March 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the districtís education services center.

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