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El Paso County Colorado District 49

FROM THE CEO – A new year of opportunity

With every new year, we have fresh energy to make resolutions and recommit to the future. It holds true that 2014 is a critical opportunity for our district to consolidate the gains of 2013. For the first time in years, we have leaders in permanent positions all over the district. Our schools, zones, departments and offices all feature stable leadership. Every board member, principal, innovation leader, director, coordinator and chief officer is someone with a long-term commitment to the district.That doesnít mean our leadership is fixed or stagnant ñ itís not. We recognize that retirements, reassignments and other opportunities will reshape our leadership team, but we are enjoying the sense of confidence and purpose that comes with stable leadership. In addition, our Board of Education and administration have unified around our district strategic plan, our capital growth plans and increasing adoption of working norms, or social contracts, for leadership and learning teams across the district. In 2014, our district will pick up momentum as plans and visions translate to action and accomplishment.In January, we made our†biggest investment ever in becoming the best district to learn for students from diverse backgrounds. Students, teachers and leaders from District 49 attended†the annual Educating Children of Color Summit at Colorado College. In addition to learning strategies supporting achievement by students from a widening range of cultures, the Summit gave†our students and staff a chance to validate the great work we are already doing. In the years to come, not only will our participation increase, but our support and leadership for the Summit will grow as well.Meanwhile, we hosted our first-ever†Customized Education Exposition to feature all the ways District 49 aims to launch every student to success. Under the leadership and support of the Special Education Advisory Committee, we gathered†at Vista Ridge High School to coordinate and promote learning opportunities aimed at including all kinds of learners and their families. The exposition†was an†opportunity to celebrate what we are already doing well, while sparking our imagination for what can be even better.I know that some may look at the titles of these two events and conclude, ìthat program is not relevant to me.î Please let me encourage you to reconsider.†With a lot of colorful people in my immediate and extended family, I know the strategies that help us educate children of color will help us educate children. And the strategies that work for English Language Learners, work for learners. When we learn to show grace and support for a child with a disability, we are gaining valuable practice at extending grace and support to each other. These events may focus on specific populations ñ to help address some institutional obstacles ñ but the lessons we learn will translate to other students as well.2014 is shaping up to be a great year. We are faced with challenges of growth, performance and unity, but great challenges will bring out our best. Whether you are passionate about quality education for all or a customized plan for your own child, we aim to exceed your expectations. To all who live in our community, and to those who learn, work and lead in District 49; I resolve to you that 2014 will be a year to remember!

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