The new falcon herald logo.
El Paso County Colorado District 49

FROM THE CEO – Climbing to peak performance in D 49

The strength of District 49 is our diverse portfolio of zones and schools, supported by a smaller central office, with most resources and authority closer to the students. While our decentralization is a strength ó promoting flexibility and autonomy ó it can also be a limitation, fostering fragmentation and inconsistent practices. Recently, we began a series of third-year reviews of school innovation plans. Through those reviews, we observed many of our procedures and processes are effective ó they get the job done ó but not all our work is efficient. Since we ask our students to meet high standards of excellence, it makes sense that we hold ourselves to the same expectation. Youíll hear more and more about this multi-year commitment as we set our sights on higher levels of adult performance to support higher levels of student performance. We know that students can achieve amazing results if we have the facilities, procedures, and skilled staff in place to support them.Thatís why District 49 is committed to refine the policies and processes that support our students. In our elementary schools, we will continue to focus on primary literacy as our most important commitment. We are moving closer each year to being the district where students read by third grade. Our principals and teachers have demonstrated the power of focus by aligning materials, schedules, and even teaching loads to make primary literacy job No. 1. With programs like all-school reading initiatives, the LEx Program at Odyssey Elementary, and the fall/spring/summer literacy camps.In our secondary schools, our strategic focus will remain the development of 49 Pathways ó our plan to launch every student to success. With a mix of concurrent enrollment and college preparation, career-technical education, and personal life skill development, we are preparing students for their future learning and service. We know that some students will keep learning at a university and others will pursue technical college. Some will join our nationís military or civil service, and others will serve in family, workplace, ministry, and entrepreneurial settings. Our commitment through 49 Pathways is to guide our students through personalized experiences that set them up for success.These two primary initiatives are unchanged from previous years. We donít value the educational practice of ìLast Yearís/This Yearís/Next Yearís New Thingî so we are going to stay committed to primary literacy and 49 Pathways until those initiatives are reliable sources of excellence across our community. The way we are going to ensure that these initiatives deliver on their potential is by holding our district to national standards of performance excellence. The mindset of performance excellence is to improve outcomes by improving our processes. By benchmarking our practices against high-performing enterprises in education and other industries, we can see more clearly where we are already excellent and where we have the most need to improve.As a community, we have a distinctive landmark that is visible from every district school. Pikes Peak is both an inspiration and an icon of the journey to peak performance. All around our community there are hikers who have made it up Barr Trail. We meet runners and power walkers who completed the Pikes Peak ascent or marathon. Others race cars or motorcycles up the hill; and many of us have driven the highway or enjoyed a ride on the Cog Railroad. Pikes Peak is the summit that draws us together. Itís Americaís mountain, but itís in our backyard.The lessons of Pikes Peak apply perfectly well to our organizational commitment to performance excellence. Nobody starts up the mountain hoping to make it part way. The goal is to reach the peak, and thatís our goal in District 49. Itís also a bad idea to wake up one morning and try and scale the heights. That didnít work for Zebulon Pike, and it wonít work for us. It will take determined preparation and sustained effort to take our district and community to the summit. And the people who make it up Pikes Peak together are dedicated, talented leaders who inspire us all.This spring and summer, principals and other leaders have hired a stellar cohort of new teachers, administrators and staff. I encourage you to visit our back-to-school events and meet the new members of our team. We want to take our district to peak performance, and it takes excellent people to make that happen.I particularly want to highlight four new leaders who began serving our district during the summer ìbreak.î In the iConnect Zone, which unifies our charter, blended learning, alternative and home school programs; Andy Franko is returning to the district fold as the Zone Leader. Mr. Franko has great standing in our community as a former teacher, coach, administrator and head of school. His personal record of excellence will strengthen our district commitment to higher performance.In the POWER Zone, at Odyssey Elementary, host of the innovative LEx Program, new principal Sarah McAfee is already building on the excellent first year of programming and training to support students who match a dyslexia profile. Along with a host of returning teachers and other instructional leaders, the administrative team at Odyssey is pioneering a new national standard for targeted service. Ms. McAfee brings insights honed in years in the classroom and the principalís office, but she is also a mom and member of our community who will add strength for the climb to performance excellence.The Falcon Zone has already welcomed two new leaders. Dr. Kathy Pickering is joining the zone and district as principal at Woodmen Hills Elementary. As a former educational coach in our district and a veteran administrator in Academy District 20, Dr. Pickering will add expertise and energy to the Woodmen Hills community. And finally, Dr. Julia Roark has joined our team as the Leader of the Falcon Zone. In her distinguished career, Dr. Roark has been a principal in multiple settings, has completed her doctoral learning with a focus on elementary literacy, and served as assistant superintendent to support high performance in Aspen, Colorado. We are eager to see how Dr. Roarkís expertise and leadership presence will energize performance across the Falcon Zone and District 49.From the leaders Iíve mentioned to dozens of other assistant administrators, central office leaders, teacher or team leads, and classroom educators; we have hired a strong cohort of dedicated professionals. Several times this spring and summer, hiring administrators made the tough decision to pause or restart the process and find a better candidate. Without exception, that decision to hold out for the best has paid off. The quality of new hires this year is unmatched in our districtís memory, so we are getting ready to climb with confidence.High-performing professionals are part of the equation, but a community with high expectations and students with high potential are the rest. Our commitment to you ó our students, parents, community and colleagues ó is to help District 49 deliver on the promise of performance excellence. We are here to reach the peak, so letís get moving!

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Search Businesses

Search Businesses