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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 BOE April meeting wrap-up

All members of the Falcon School District 49 Board of Education were present at the April 14 regular meeting. Evan Mahon from Vista Ridge High School was present as a non-voting member of the D 49 Student Board of Representatives.Before the meeting, the BOE held a ìFantastic 49î event and recognized the Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms organization and Connie Michaels-Lipp, Academy of Health Sciences program coordinator at Falcon High School.The FCBC has given more than $5 million in monetary donations to D 49 since 2008 and has supported the district by funding construction and other projects, including scoreboards and artificial turf for athletic fields.Michaels-Lipp was chosen as the Colorado Health Occupations Students of America advisor of the year.The Stetson Elementary School choir, called ìRaiders of the Fine Arts,î performed two songs for the BOE; one called ìDo I Dare?î about anti-substance abuse, and ìKyrie Eleison,î which featured numerous arrangements.Chief updatesPeter Hilts, chief education officer, said the Colorado State Board of Education approved the districtís application to operate the Pikes Peak Early College in April, by a 7-0 vote. The PPEC will be the stateís first online blended early college, and will open in the fall of the 2016-2017 school year.Student representative updateMahon said the Student Board of Representatives met April 7 to discuss the proposed ìJaxís Policy,î which addresses the administration of therapeutic cannabinoid on district property. The proposed policy was discussed at the BOE work session March 30. The student board had mixed reactions to the proposed policy, he said.Mahon said the board also discussed having three students from each high school become members of the student board. ìIt has been very successful, and I think it can only be more successful,î he said.Open forumNine parents from the district spoke in favor of ìJaxís Policy,î including Jennie Stormes whose son, Jackson Stormes, inspired the policy. (See the following article by Lindsey Harrison, “D 49 proposes therapeutic marijuana policy.”)Michael Worner, a D 49 parent with two students at Falcon Middle School, said he was speaking in opposition of ìJaxís Policyî because of his concern regarding the financial implications of hiring additional special education paraprofessionals. ìI sincerely feel for all the parents who need this for their kids, and I recognize it is the districtís responsibility to meet every studentsí needs,î he said. ìI recommend working with the neighboring districts to implement this type of policy all at once.îTammy Harold, BOE secretary, said she looks forward to the next phase of conversation about ìJaxís Policy,î which will be up for a final vote at the May 12 regular board meeting.Action itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the following:

  • Adoption of a resolution on restorative practices as the primary methodology for conduct and discipline in the district, which focuses on building relationships, fostering accountability and addressing harmful issues
  • Conversion of the supply list to a fee at Title I schools, which will save parents money, negate the need to visit multiple stores to purchase the proper supplies and give principals the authority to reduce or waive the fees for free and reduced lunch students
  • The 2015-2016 supplemental budget
  • Food service agreements for Banning Lewis Ranch Academy, Imagine Indigo Ranch and Pikes Peak School of Expeditionary Learning
  • A resolution recognizing May 2-6 as National Teacher Appreciation Week
  • District and school unified improvement plans, which must be annually approved by the BOE and submitted to the CDE as part of the accreditation process
  • The executive principal job description for the Pikes Peak Early College
  • The CEOís performance evaluation metrics
  • Review of the following district policies: safe schools; board communications with staff; administrative organization; policy implementation; administration in absence of policy; insurance program risk management; workersí compensation; job sharing in professional staff positions; and custodial and noncustodial parental rights and responsibilities
Discussion itemsBrett Ridgway, D 49 chief business officer, provided an update about the key foundations for the next fiscal yearís budget, including the per-pupil revenue of $7,086 provided by the state, along with the student head count of 23,615, which includes online, blended, charter and public schools.Ridgway also presented information on proposed changes to various schools following positive election results from the upcoming November election.Nikki Lester, career and technical education director, provided an update on the CTE (career and technical education) program and how to advance the districtís current CTE classes. She said 96 percent of all ninth through 12th grade students are accessing one or more CTE programs, and more than 900 D 49 CTE students are earning college credit before they graduate.Sean Dorsey, Sand Creek zone leader, said the data on the math assessments indicates that the Sand Creek zone needs to implement programs to improve studentsí math abilities. He said they already have two programs in the works that will take effect next school year.Dorsey also debuted his zoneís new logo.Jim Bonavita, iConnect solutions coordinator, discussed the districtís summer school credit recovery program. He said this year, D 49 awarded almost 600 one-half credits for students to recover credits from failing classes. He said there will be no price increase for the credit recovery program this summer.Matt Meister, director of communications, presented a communications department performance report. ìWe are working to determine the best tools to engage the community,î Meister said. The department has decided to improve customer service in the district, and is using a mixture of earned media stories and communication department-authored stories to maintain the ìShow, Not Tellî method to highlight student successes.Amber Whetstine, executive director of learning services, presented a new job description for the coordinator of literacy performance, which aligns with the primary literacy initiative. With an increased effort to improve literacy scores and the implementation of various literacy programs, the district wants to hire someone to support the program. Initially, the position will be funded through mill levy override funds, but part of the job description includes applying for grants to help pay for the position, Whetstine said.Whetstine also presented information on re-titling the current coordinator of curriculum, instruction and assessment position to the coordinator of academic performance, which better aligns the job description with the districtís performance excellence focus, she said.Both job description items were moved forward as action items for the May 12 regular meeting.The next regular meeting of the BOE is May 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom of the D 49 Education Services Center.

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