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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 BOE meeting wrap-up

The El Paso County School District 49 Board of Education held its monthly meeting Jan. 12. All board members were present. Amy Matisek, internal communications manager, started the Fantastic 49 celebration. The following were recognized: ï Meridian Ranch Elementary School PTA parent board members for their support of MRES and hosting fundraising events. ï Family engagement liaisons from four schools: Anita Adams, Evans Elementary; Stephanie Ramirez, Falcon Elementary; Sadie Russell, Remington Elementary; and Trinity Wedde, Odyssey Elementary, for their work in supporting students and families with basic needs such as emergency food, clothing, rent or utilities. ï Paula Fox, registrar at Sand Creek High School, for her role in training a new registrar at Vista Ridge High School, and for helping to implement a new reporting system at SCHS. ï Allyson Love, physical education teacher at Sand Creek Elementary, for organizing a sharecase/yoga glow last semester. ï Nikkole Weir, VRHS cheer team coach, for her positive impact on a studentís academics and taking on the role of coach for the Sand Creek High School cheer team. The VRHS co-ed varsity cheer team was recognized for capturing their first 5A state title.Public forumMost speakers talked about issues surrounding Liberty Tree Academyís board. Just over half expressed dissatisfaction with the current self-perpetuated model and would like to see an elected board. Others would like to see the current model continue. LTA board members Mike Johnson and Tim Geitner spoke in favor of the current board model, requesting the board renew the charter schoolís contract. Johnson admitted problems in the past three months and said changes have been made, including adding a new board member and hiring a new principal. Geitner said he has been in the community for 10 years and sees LTA as a desirable school of choice. ìI welcome the opportunity to speak with parents and hear their thoughts,î he said.Chief executive officersí updatePeter Hilts, CEO, said the Voice of the Workforce visiting tour is complete. Hilts will present a synthesis of themes at the annual planning meeting. Hilts also kicked off a Voice of the Students learning tour. He will meet with every high school and middle school and one elementary per zone. Sand Creek High School students said it matters to students that they are feeling seen and supported. Hilts gave kudos to the facilities teams, especially the grounds team who works with snowy and icy grounds.Student Board of Representativesí updateCaitlin McCrady, Sand Creek High School junior, spoke about the process of serving on the SBOR. She said representatives are voted in by their peers and school staff, and they meet monthly. She said their emphasis this year has been on mental health and awareness. The SBOR drafted a resolution in support of social-emotional learning because they feel teachers should be able to identify mental health symptoms. ìItís more about being educated on the signs and symptoms of mental health and reaching out to your students,î McCrady said. They are trying to assist eighth graders in having more access to the high school.Syndi Ellis, Pikes Peak Early College senior, said there are many senior events planned at PPEC, such as prom and senior sunset. She said students are concerned about finishing classes and getting to the end of the school year. Ellis said the SBOR is proud of the social-emotional learning resolution they prepared. ìWe poured our hearts into this in the meetings and outside the meetings.îBoard updateJohn Graham, president, pointed out the importance of safety and well-being of students in the event of poor weather. Graham said mental health has been an issue among students and a priority in the district since at least 2019. He attended the Special Education Accountability Committee. Graham toured Bennett Ranch to see the progress on construction.Rick Van Wieren, vice president, encouraged Liberty Tree Academy stakeholders to work out their issues with the board of directors. ìKeep in mind you are there for the kids,î he said. He recognized the Fantastic 49 recipients.Ivy Liu, director, said that BOE meeting time should be about resolving issues important to the entire district. She said she is worried about the districtís focus and feels she is not able to ask questions. She said achievement scores had not been talked about since August ìbecause they are busy prosecuting me.îLori Thompson, secretary, attended the special education advisory council meeting and gave kudos to the team for changes they have implemented to reach a higher level of support for the team. She said there are two charter schools that have their own special education program and other charters will be adding theirs next year. She said there will be a SEAC focus group conducted March 8 at Peak View Hall. Thompson said LTA is valuable to the district.Jamilynn DíAvola, treasurer, visited several schools in January, one of which was ALLIES, where they operate a program for students with reading disabilities and dyslexia. She said she was impressed with the leadership at Pikes Peak School of Expeditionary Learning and noted how the unique programs at the Springs Studio and Pikes Peak Early College offer students a school schedule to help them accomplish goals.Action itemsThe BOE unanimously approved the revisions to the Stakeholder Grievance Policy.Discussion itemsRon Sprinz, director of finance, said they have received an extension on the financial audit to Feb. 28 because of challenges with staff turnover and new financial software. Sprinz said they are close to completion.Sprinz presented an amended budget. Although the budget had been approved, it changed slightly because of student head counts and allocations, unspent carryover funds from last year and mill levy override funds allocated and adjusted.Zone performance reportsAll five zone leaders presented their respective performance reports.Sean Dorsey, Sand Creek Zone, reported that schools are meeting performance benchmarks overall in literacy and math. Satisfaction measures are good with the VoW (Voice of the Workforce) indicating a 7.9 out of 10 in job satisfaction for staff. A culture and climate survey conducted with parents and teachers indicate a parent rating of 8.3 and a student rating of 6.6. Dorsey said they will be working to improve student satisfaction. The zone is focusing on writing.Theresa Ritz, Power Zone, reported that schools are meeting performance benchmarks overall in literacy and math, with five of six schools exceeding in growth. The employee VoW satisfaction score is 7.5 out of 10. The culture and climate survey indicate a parent score of 7.4 and a student score of 6.5. The zone has initiatives in place for literacy improvement and personalized learning in math at some schools.Brian Smith, interim Falcon Zone leader, reported that schools are meeting performance benchmarks overall in literacy and math and exceeding benchmarks in growth in both areas. The employee VoW satisfaction score is 7.3 out of 10. The culture and climate survey indicated a parent score of 7.4 and a student score of 6.5. Smith said they recognize they have more work to do in literacy and math. They are focusing on personalized learning to close the gaps.The Falcon Zone is hosting the annual Modern Teacher conference in early February. D 49 is the first district in the country that has achieved level 7 of the Modern Teacher framework. Level 7 indicates the district is ìdigitally converged,î meaning the right processes are in place from a leadership standpoint, curriculum, instructional model, digital ecosystem (tools), professional learning and community involvement.Andy Franko, iConnect Zone, reported that schools are meeting performance benchmarks overall in literacy and math. This report excludes data for the charter schools, Patriot High School, Pikes Peak Early College and Springs Studio for Academic Excellence. The employee VoW satisfaction score is 8.7 out of 10. The culture and climate survey indicates a parent score of 9.2 and a student score of 8.2. The satisfaction data includes the home school program. Franko said the zone is not seeing the level they would like in math even though growth has been good.Director district reviewD 49 board directors are elected based on districts. Statutes require that districts must be compact, congruent and as close to equivalent in population as possible. The population is determined by the U.S. census and the current configuration, based on the 2010 census, is now at a 40% variance based on the 2020 census. The school district is out of compliance with the statute. There has been about 25% growth in the school districtís population. Hilts provided four proposals for remapping to meet statutory requirements. Hilts recommended the plan that had the least variance of 5%. The BOE is required to issue a resolution by Jan. 31 with a new compliant director district map. Hilts said if the BOE has not adopted a resolution to be sent to the county clerk and recorder by Jan. 31, any citizen can file a petition that requires adoption by the end of February. The timeline is set by the county to allow for candidates to file appropriate documents and prepare ballots for election. The BOE was in consensus to move this forward to the regular February meeting to allow time for public comment.Update on Liberty Tree AcademyIn a special session on Jan. 25, the BOE voted to renew the LTA charter school contract for one year rather than a full five years. It will be a probationary contract with conditions. Franko said the school has already begun implementing D 49 administrationís recent recommendations. He said the district cannot require or recommend a board governance model; however, any model used must reflect parent choice.†The next regular meeting of the BOE is Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Peakview Hall at the Creekside Success Center in Colorado Springs.

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