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El Paso County Colorado District 49

From the CEO

Our offices overflow with chocolates, and soon our houses will fill with relatives; so itís a good time to pause and be grateful for an abundance of gifts.This season, I am especially grateful for the warmth and decency of our district community. In my messages, I tend to highlight bigger events like meals for elders or Santaís Toy Express, but Iíve recently seen the spirit of the season in all sorts of little ways. At one of our elementary schools, there is a poster-sized thank you note from one of our second-grade classes hanging on the wall of a building maintenance office. In another classroom, a small group of students who gather for extra reading instruction have created a social contract that says they will participate, stay on task and talk it out. Elsewhere, a simple sign at eye level reminds everyone, ìItís OK to make mistakes in this room.îThese simple messages let us know that our work, learning and leadership matter. Students notice when we take care of the school. They take responsibility to talk it out, and they know that making mistakes is part of who we are. In every classroom, every day there are small reminders of care and commitment. We sometimes blow it and miss the mark, but all around us there are people willing to give us another chance and help us do better.Iím grateful that even when I get down and donít live up to my best there is someone there to lift me up. Itís no coincidence that in the season when our Northern Hemisphere is darkest we have holidays that remind us of the light. For thousands of years, people have filled the gloom of winterís dark with candles, fireworks and light displays of every kind. Our schools live through the same cycle. Our students and staff push hard into projects and exams at the end of semester, knowing that relief is coming in the form of a long Christmas break.This is the season to look back on work well done; to look around at those we love, and look forward to lengthening days and a fresh new year. We know that many families use January to think about school choice and enrollment options, so we look forward to inviting families to take a look at our schools and district. Every time parents choose to trust us with their children, we are grateful. Every time a student trusts us to prepare them for life after graduation we are grateful. We donít take any of those commitments for granted, and we know it is our job to earn your trust and deserve your enrollment. Thatís why weíre beginning the new year with a fresh resolve to listen well and respond openly.Youíll see us asking questions on community surveys, jumping into conversations on Facebook, and continuing opportunities for community discussions through schools, zones and across the district. This community is a great place to live; and, as 2013 draws to a close, we are eager to spend 2014 pursuing an even better quality of life and quality of community. From all of us in District 49, thank you for being our community and for the many gifts of grace, trust and support you have showered on us. May your new year bring an overflow of unexpected gifts to you and yours.

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