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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 September BOE meeting

The Falcon School District 49 Board of Education met Sept. 12 for its regular monthly meeting. The board received a video depicting the BOE-approved strategic plan for the district.Peter Hilts, D 49 chief education officer, starred in the video and highlighted the districtís five strategic initiatives as follows: to build trust with stakeholders; to engage the community; to create and become the best district possible in which to work and learn; to develop a portfolio of outstanding schools; and to individualize education to allow for success in every student. The video can be viewed on an action item, the board addressed the approval of a memorandum of understanding with the American Red Cross. The MOU allows schools and facilities to be used for emergency shelters, starting in 2013 and continuing until further notice, said Marie LaVere-Wright, board treasurer. The board unanimously approved the MOU.The board also unanimously approved the following action items: board meeting dates for 2014; a resolution declaring Sept. 17 as Constitution Day; a motion to approve community members to serve on the District Accountability Advisory Committee; a process of review for chief officers; and revisions to policies pertaining to student conduct to align district policies with new state laws.Brett Ridgway, chief business officer, updated the board on district bonds refinanced after receiving BOE approval in August. Refinancing those bonds saved the district more than $170,000, without extending the repayment terms of those bonds, he said.Ridgway also provided an update on the districtís enrollment numbers. He said the district showed an increase of 300 students over last yearís enrollment numbers. He said the numbers indicate that D 49 is growing more than all the other districts in Colorado Springs.The board heard updated information from Ridgway on the Colorado Digital Board of Cooperative Services, which has formed a partnership with Colorado Springs District 11. The partnership will allow for collaboration between the districts, he said. The digital board is adding a science, technology, engineering and math component to help push district and state STEM education movements, Ridgway said.STEM coordinator Dianne Kingsland said other partners in the endeavor include the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy.The board heard information regarding the upcoming Educating Children of Color Summit scheduled for Jan. 11, 2014, at Colorado College. The summit addresses the challenges of children of color, as well as children in poverty, through education.Amber Whetstine, school improvement coordinator, updated the board about a change to the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program. She said the current school year is the final year the TCAP test will be held; the Colorado Measures of Academic Success test will take its place for the 2014-2015 school year.Diane Cassidy, coordinator of curriculum, instruction and assessment, shared a few successes from the TCAP tests, namely that third and fourth grade students posted the highest proficient and advanced scores in math and reading in the past six years. She also said the data showed that Falcon High School posted TCAP scores above the state average in every content area.As a discussion item, the board considered revisions to policies related to extracurricular activity eligibility and revisions to guest users on the districtís wireless network. The board will discuss these as action items at the Oct. 10 meeting.The next regular meeting of the BOE is Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the D 49 education services center.

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