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El Paso County Colorado District 49

FROM THE DISTRICT

School districts are a representation of and an integral part of a community.As I come up on six months on the job serving you as District 49 director of communications, Iíd like to share what I have observed with a fresh set of eyes and an unbiased perspective.In my former life as a broadcast meteorologist, I visited many schools across southern Colorado. As a guest speaker and presenter, I made stops to more than a few of our District 49 elementary schools and one of our middle schools. My experiences with D 49 were short and pleasant but pale in comparison to the reality I have experienced. This is a great district because of students excited to come to school each day and work extremely hard. After running hard and giggling freely on playgrounds, they still have the focus to concentrate intensely in the classroom.This is a great district because of highly qualified, dedicated and talented staff. The passion to serve and educate your children is obvious, regardless of the campus or department I visit and work with.This is a great district because of a community made up of good, resilient individuals, families and businesses. This has been highlighted too frequently over the last three summers of fires and floods. Business leaders from Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms recently contributed more than $600,000 for the new artificial turf the soccer and football teams have been playing on at Falcon High School. FCBC has now contributed more than $5 million to District 49.Together, as community, students and staff, we are ready to no longer be the best-kept educational secret in Colorado. It is time to lead other communities across our great state as an example of how a school district should reflect, represent and honor the community it belongs to.Strong, stable leadership is the result of the non-traditional management model that began five years ago. Having three chief officers at the head of a district, as opposed to a sole superintendent, promotes continuity and maintains the long-term vision of the district.In late August, a community representative from a school district in Wisconsin contacted the communications department. They have heard about District 49 and want to use our management model to improve their district. Our non-traditional funding model continues to push dollars and decisions about how funding is spent down to the individual school level. While different from almost every other school district in the state and country, our budget system is working. District 49 earned the highest rating in the state for return on investment by the Center for American Progress, and Ediswatching.org also highlighted our school district for squeezing the highest level of academic achievement out of each dollar invested.New competency-based graduation guidelines have been set for Colorado. While most of the state will fully implement by 2021, District 49 is already implementing pieces and will begin full implementation next year. We wonít be checking boxes for completed seat time anymore in high school.Students will demonstrate mastery of core subjects while walking their own individualized path of practical, vocational training and advanced academic study, including the opportunity to earn free college credits while in high school. We will prepare students for college and career like never before because itís what community values and needs.When given the gift of time to look back, we will see this season as a pivotal point in the history of District 49. With community woven into the fabric of District 49, making history is going to be good.Together, we are building our community schools into the best district to learn, work and lead.

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