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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 enhances partnership with community

Falcon School District 49 has developed the Peak Partners Strategic Initiative as a way to effectively engage with local businesses and community leaders.The keystone to the initiative is the Peak Partners Leadership Academy, said Matt Meister, director of communications for D 49. ìThe Peak Partners Leadership Academy is an opportunity for business leaders and other community leaders to have a long-term relationship with D 49 and sit down and tell us what they need their school district to do for them,î Meister said.Matt Barrett, Peak Partners Leader for D 49, said he is working closely with Meister and Peter Hilts, D 49 chief education officer, to develop the schedule for the academy and bring together the individuals who will participate.ìWe are going to put together a group of about 25 individuals to meet for seven evening sessions, starting in January and going through March,î Barrett said. During that time, the group will discuss a variety of topics, all aimed at creating a lasting partnership between the district and the community, he said.ìThis will help create an environment where businesses have a greater chance for success and employees have a better chance to find jobs,î Barrett said. The employers will be able to express what they are looking for in employees, which can then be translated into educational opportunities for the students in D 49. Graduates will better understand the desirable skills that make them attractive to employers, he said.Additionally, the Peak Partners Leadership Academy would like to educate the community that isnít directly connected to the district about how the district operates as a whole, Meister said. ìWe will talk about finances and how D 49ís budget process works and how it is different from other districtsí,î he said. ìWe will discuss how mill levies work and how bond measures work. We will talk about our zones and why those are important and how they help reduce administrative overhead. We will talk about how the zones put more budget and curriculum decision-making closer to the seats where the students are.îBarrett said participants will be chosen through an application process. The program will repeat at least once per year, so there will be multiple opportunities for community members to get involved.For more information, visit the districtís website at http://d49.org.

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