News from Sheridan School District No. 2
Contact: Mark Stevens
303-495-8699 (mobile) • 720-328-5488 (office)
April 12, 2017
Board of Education Accepts Resignation of Board Member Melissa Silvia
The Sheridan Board of Education Tuesday accepted the resignation of Melissa Silvia, who is moving from the city of Sheridan. The resignation from the District D seat takes effect immediately and leaves two open seats on the board. The District B has also been vacant since 2007.
Superintendent Michael Clough said the board will announce the application process at its next meeting (April 25) for anyone interested in filling the balance of Silvia’s term. Silvia ran unopposed in 2016 for a four-year term.
In February of 2016, the board mailed letters to the approximately 800 residents of District B encouraging applications, but no candidates emerged.
Superintendent Clough and Board President Ron Carter thanked Silvia for her service to the Sheridan board.
Superintendent Clough introduced a local software business executive, Sampath Kannan, who is organizing fellow businessmen to assist Sheridan School District 2 with financial support and more. Kannan told the board he was inspired to act when he heard a recent news story on Colorado Public Radio about school funding challenges in Colorado and how that has impacted Sheridan’s budget.
At the meeting last night, Kannan introduced colleagues, many from the Indian community, who have already stepped forward to offer support. The group is considering such ideas as buying Chromebooks for young students or boosting mathematics mentoring over the summer. The group is planning a food festival in May to raise money.
Kannan is CEO of Tejas Software, Inc. His partners include Krishna Vaidyanathan, Project Manager, Davita; Prabhakaran (Ram) Ramadoss, Vice President, Privacy, Information Security and EHR Oversight, Catholic Health Initiatives; George Dinakar; Kiran Chivukula; and Divya Narayanan, microarray testing coordinator at Colorado Genetics Laboratory.
“I couldn’t believe when I heard the story that something as challenging is happening close to me,” said Kannan. “They (the students) are our future.”
Superintendent Clough announced that Sheridan High School’s 2017 graduation will be held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. The high school staff recently determined that the auditorium at Colorado Heights University has fallen into disrepair. The university announced last November that it would be closing its doors after this school year.
The graduation at Colorado School of Mines will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 25.
SOAR Academy, Sheridan’s alternative high school, will hold its graduation at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24 at SOAR Academy.
Facility Master Plan
Cyndi Wright, Director of Facilities and Transportation, reviewed the recent history with Sheridan’s facility improvements and encouraged participation in the ongoing Facility Master Plan Committee, which meets tonight (at Sheridan High School at 5:30 p.m. in the community room).
Wright reviewed what was accomplished with the 2006 bond and the 2009 Facility Master Plan, too. The meetings are critical, she said, as the committee works to “develop a vision of where we want to go and what we want to be.”
Superintendent Clough said the state’s budget for the 2017-2018 school year will “barely keep up” with the district’s increased expenses, including health insurance rate hikes. The state legislature meets through mid-May.
Cherry Creek & Head Start
The Cherry Creek School District has opted out of the collaboration with Sheridan, Englewood and Littleton school districts’ collaboration with the Head Start grant. New Head Start requirements would have led to a different schedule in Cherry Creek for only a handful of students, said Superintendent Clough, and preferred not to make those changes. Cherry Creek’s departure means that Sheridan will work with only Littleton and Englewood schools on the grant.
Superintendent Clough announced that the Colorado Department of Education has named Sheridan School District’s Dr. Erica Garcia as the 2017 Distinguished Administrator in Support of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners. Board members and Superintendent Clough thanked Dr. Garcia for her work and dedication. “This is an incredible accomplishment,” said the letter from Morgan Cox, director of the state’s Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. “There were many exceptional educators that were nominated and submitted in this year’s pool of candidates.”
SOAR Academy principal Christian Ramaker presented an overview of plans and progress at the district’s alternative high school. The school serves 92 students from age 14 to 21.
The SOAR Academy mission is, “SOAR Academy provides alternative pathways that teach and empower students to actively engage in their own learning, growth, and possibility, with innovative academic and social programs, in a safe, supportive community.”
Ramaker said 95 percent of the students served at SOAR Academy are behind in their credits. As long as they agree to follow school rules, he said, there are no hurdles to being enrolled. “We don’t put barriers in front of kids,” he said. “I take every single person through these doors.”
Ramaker said SOAR Academy emphasizes direct Instruction with smaller class sizes; implementation of a social-emotional learning curriculum; individualized credit recovery and graduation plans; 1-to-1 tutoring support through extended day and Saturday programs; skills-based intervention courses; post-secondary advisement; family engagement; and individual and group mental health therapy.
Ramaker told the board about a new curriculum and course that seeks to engage students in the school before they start classroom work. He also talked about new courses being introduced over the next two years and the overall effort to boost rigor in the school. New courses for next year include Accounting, Math for Health Care, Children's Literature, Digital Literacy/Journalism, Current Events, Criminal Justice, Sociology, Physical Science, Anatomy and Physiology and Food Science
The SOAR Academy attendance rate has increased from 67 percent in 2015-2016 school year to 76 percent this year, said Ramaker, and the rate of students earning passing grades has climbed from 36 percent to 66 percent over the same time period.
All consent agenda items were approved.
About Sheridan School District 2
Located southwest of Denver, Sheridan School District 2 seeks high-level post-secondary options for all students through continuous improvement of quality instruction. More: www.ssd2.org