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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 BOE December meeting wrap-up

Prior to the Falcon School District 49 Board of Education December meeting, the BOE held a ìFantastic 49î event. David Watson, safety and security director, recognized Jason Reeser of the Colorado Springs Police Department and a school resource officer at Sand Creek High School, along with Laurie Carson, a security officer at Falcon High School.The BOE also recognized the cheerleaders from Falcon High School and Sand Creek High School for their successful seasons and strong showings at the state competition.Kim McClelland, iConnect Zone leader, was recognized for her efforts and congratulated on her new position as the executive director of Colorado Digital Board of Cooperative Education Services.Amy Dreher, school nurse at Vista Ridge High School and Odyssey Elementary School, was recognized for creating a community-focused flu shot clinic in D 49. The clinic, ìBoo to the Flu,î was held at three high schools over a two-day period in October.Open forumDuring the open forum, five parents spoke out against the standards-based grading system at Falcon High School. Deanna Ronco said the system is in its third year and is still not working. ìIt is our hope tonight that you listen to our concerns and consider reassessing the grading system,î she said.Michelle Freeburger said, ìThere is more weight given to what a student has incorrect than what they have correct.îIn response to the comments made about the system, Peter Hilts, D 49 chief education officer, said the current system is part of the schoolís innovation plan, which is up for review in 2015. To keep the grading system in place, at least 50 percent of the teachers at FHS would need to approve it, he said. ìI can say with pretty high confidence that we wonít get anywhere near 50 percent of the teachersí approval of extending the current plan,î Hilts said.Action itemsThe board unanimously approved the following action items:

  • The addition of an Introduction to Agriculture course in the Falcon Zone
  • Certification of the mill levy for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, totaling 45.796 and comprised of a general funds levy of 35.584 mills and a bond redemption fund levy of 11.212 mills
  • Revisions to board policies regarding board member qualification; school board member financial disclosures; board organizational meetings; rules of order; policy adoption and waiver requests; policy adoption/suspension/repeal; and board member compensation and expenses/insurance/liability
Discussion itemsAmber Whetstine, D 49 executive director of learning services, presented information regarding the districtís unified improvement plan. The plan specifically describes action steps the district will take toward continuous improvements in student achievement and the reduction of growth gaps, she said. Whetstine said the District Accountability Advisory Committee has reviewed the plan and recommends that the board approve it. The plan was moved to an action item for the regular BOE meeting in January.Rachel Duerr, D 49 health and wellness coordinator, provided information on the school health improvement plan drafts from each school. The SHIPs at each school must include the following components: family engagement; community involvement; health education; physical education and physical activity; health services; nutrition environment and services; counseling; psychology and social services; physical environment; social and emotional climate; and health promotion for staff. Duerr briefed the board on different SHIPs activities occurring at each school.Duerr also provided the board with updates to the wellness policy guidelines, in keeping with the School Wellness Policy ADF-R.Watson provided on update on activities within the security sector and said that his team conducted unannounced drills at every district school, including the charter schools.Brett Ridgway, D 49 chief business officer, presented information on the yearly financial audit and the amended budget, which will be largely impacted by the October student count results. The board will need to approve the amended budget prior to Jan. 31, Ridgway said.Ridgway also presented a post-election report and said the big take-away from the report is that El Paso County had a record voter turnout in the November election. He said the board will need to discuss options and action plans for how to proceed, both with the approval of the mill levy increase and the rejection of the bond measure on the November ballot. ìWe need to talk over the next few meetings and have an action plan ready by the February meeting,î he said.The BOE scheduled their annual planning workshop for Jan. 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Falcon Virtual Academy tentatively set as the location.Following the public portion of the meeting, the BOE entered into an executive session to conduct the CEO performance evaluation and to discuss the appeal of an employee grievance. No action was taken at that time.The next regular meeting of the BOE is Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the D 49 Education Services Center.

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