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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 BOE meeting wrap-up

The El Paso County Colorado School District 49 Board of Education held its monthly meeting Nov. 11. Amy Matisek, internal communications manager, started the Fantastic 49 celebration by honoring staff and students who support and are connected to the military and their families. JROTC cadets from the three D 49 high schools presented the colors.Honorees:

  • Student leaders from the Student 2 Student Program at Rocky Mountain Classical Academy: Aidan Dorsh, Peyton Gehrke, Cole Messmer, Ava Smith and Emma Winzenried; plus, staff, Amber Kettinger and Ashlynn Smith for their work in welcoming new military-connected students and families to the school.
  • Sand Creek High School Air Force JROTC cadets, Gabriel Mejia and Brianna Phillips
  • Falcon High School Space Force JROTC cadets, Gabriela Elder and Sydney White
  • Vista Ridge High School JROTC cadets, Nathaniel Garcia and Kayla Parker (she just earned a four year AFROTC scholarship).
Open forumJim Robertson said, ìIt is the schoolsí obligation to fill children full of knowledge and to not take that challenge lightly because with knowledge comes confidence, assurance, critical thinking and decision making and self-reliance.îìWith a new board coming in, we have nothing but positive things to look forward to and to work together,î said Jeff Hall.Chief Officersí updateAll chiefs and board members individually thanked veterans and their families for their service.Peter Hilts, chief education officer, thanked Kevin Butcher for eight years on the board and two decades, and supporting D 49 as a leader and member of the community. Hilts also thanked Dave Cruson for his ìexemplary leadership.îThey are seeing an uptake of vaccinations with children 5 to 11 years old; it has been more than a month since there has been a COVID-19 outbreak at any of the schools, Hilts said.Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, said he attended D 49ís QPR training (Question, Persuade, Refer), a suicide prevention technique taught to interested staff and D 49 families. He also thanked Cruson and Butcher for their time and efforts with the board.Pete Almeida, chief operations officer, thanked Horizon Middle School for the Veterans Day ceremony in which he participated. He also thanked Cruson and Butcher for their service to the board.Board reportKevin Butcher, vice president, said he is grateful to have served the school district. ìItís been an honor to serve; the biggest privilege has been spending time with some of the student board representatives,î he said.Dave Cruson said, ìAs long as I live in D 49 and my children are a part of the school district and even after that, I will not go gently into that good night; I will see you.îIvy Liu, director, said she attended three different Veterans Day activities at the schools.Rick Van Wieren, secretary, thanked both Cruson and Butcher for their service. He encouraged the community to participate in the board meetings.Graham reminded the community that the members of the board are all unpaid, part-time volunteers. He said they are looking into possibly holding town hall meetings, and the chief officers are going to provide more insight into D 49 activities during board meetings.Action itemsGraham said the action items have already been discussed at a previous work session or at an earlier regular session. The board has already received input from staff and the public, along with recommendations from the chief officers; and they have researched and formed their opinions by the time the item is put on the agenda. He said it is the reason this section usually moves quickly; a vote is only involved unless something else comes up.The BOE unanimously approved the following:
  • The resolution for the use of charter buses to transport district students to and from school events, which complies with the resolution requirement.
  • The new job description for an assistant building manager in the Sand Creek Zone
  • The change from Range 3 to Range 10 for Elevates Job Coaches (they implement transition services to young adults, 18-21, with disabilities through community-based activities), effective Nov. 1.
  • The job description for a performance analyst
  • The revised guest teacher pay schedule and the new roving substitute teacher (a full time employee in the high schools who will fill in when a substitute isnít available)
  • The proposed revisions to policy IHCDA concerning concurrent enrollment (where high school students can take college classes and get dual credit) as recommended by the administration
Discussion items
  • Bruce Brown, facility project manager, and Melissa Andrews, community and facility planning manager, gave an update on the following:
    • The MS23-226 Development Plan ó a 21-acre middle-school site, 130,000 square-feet, three-story building. The anticipated ground breaking is February 2022.
    • Construction at Bennet Ranch Elementary School; a 55,000-square-foot, two-story addition that will accommodate 300 students; the scheduled groundbreaking is February 2022.
  • Sean Dorsey, Sand Creek High School zone leader, gave a performance report.
  • David Nancarrow, director of communications, gave an update on the performance of the communications department.
  • Almeida and David Watson, director of†Safety and Security, updated the board on the activity and outcomes for sustaining and enhancing security.
  • Graham recommended waiting until the two new board members are sworn in to review the set of multi-rater questions (a 360-degree feedback or multi-source feedback) and participant list for the
  • Graham reviewed the post-election schedule; the board will hold†a special meeting prior to the work session on Dec. 1 to swear in newly elected board directors and to†elect board officers.
†Van Weiren moved to enter executive session for discussion of a specific staff member performance.The next regular meeting of the BOE is Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Peakview Hall at the Creekside Success Center in Colorado Springs.

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