News from Sheridan School
District No. 2
Contact: Mark Stevens
303-495-8699 (mobile) • 720-328-5488 (office)
March 15, 2017
Shirley Miles Appointed Principal of Sheridan High School
The Sheridan Board of Education Tuesday appointed veteran educator and administrator Shirley A. Miles as principal of Sheridan High School.
Miles is a former principal of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver and has also worked as a superintendent in Arizona and for the U.S. Department of Defense. She is currently chair of the College of Education at Argosy University, an accredited principal licensure program, in Denver.
Miles told the board that her favorite job in her career was her time as principal at Thomas Jefferson High School and that she would be bringing everything she has learned as a trainer of principals to Sheridan High School. “It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and see if I can do it again,” she said. “I’m passionate about students and I’m passionate about the work in K-12 education.”
A meeting is planned this afternoon (Wednesday, March 15) for the high school staff to meet Miles, who officially begins work in her new post on Thursday, March 30. A community reception is also planned for Tuesday, April 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the commons area at Sheridan High School. (This is prior to the Gifted and Talented Program’s “Celebration of Learning,” beginning at 5:15 p.m.)
Interim principal Eileen Doolan will remain on hand for another two or three weeks to ensure a smooth hand-off, said Superintendent Michael Clough.
“It’s certainly going to be a new day and I look forward to working with you, Dr. Miles,” said Superintendent Clough.
Clough also thanked Doolan and assistant principal Jessica Slattery for their work and professionalism during the transition.
Shirley A. Miles has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado (Colorado Springs). She worked as principal of Thomas Jefferson High School from 1994 to 1998 and served as Director of Human Resources for Academy School District 20 in Colorado Springs from 1998 to 2004.
Miles’ first superintendent position was with Tempe Union High School District in Tempe, Arizona from 2004 to 2007 and then she was hired as director (superintendent) of the Department of Defense Education Activity, a worldwide school system serving needs of 85,000 students in 192 schools across Europe, the Pacific region, and the United States. She worked there from 2007 to 2011. More recently, she has worked as an educational consultant for Focal Point, LLC and on the State Review Panel for the Colorado Department of Education, providing critical evaluations of school improvement plans around the state.
Later in the board meeting during public comment, Sheridan High School teacher Colby Albarkat asked the board about its decision to appoint a principal rather than go through any hiring process that would have including posting the job and allowing teachers and other staff to provide opinions on potential candidates. Board member Sally Daigle told Albarkat that the timing of former principal Michele Kelley’s resignation meant that the board didn’t think it could afford to take time for a full hiring process, given graduation and the need to plan for the next school year. “Had we gone through a huge process,” she said, “it could have been weeks or months.”
Prior to the board meeting, board members toured the Early Childhood Center and SOAR Academy to review the facility and infrastructure needs. Both ECC and SOAR share the same building, with separate entrances and separate facilities. Board president Ron Carter praised the overall cleanliness of the building.
Cyndi Wright, Director of Facilities and Transportation, told the board last night that Fort Logan Northgate School was awarded gold certification status under the LEED program, started by the U.S. Green Building Program. “Gold” is the second-highest certification level. The program gauges new construction projects on a variety of factors including sustainability, water usage, energy efficiency, material and resources used, indoor environmental quality, innovation, and other factors.
Communities That Care
Communities That Care coordinator Peter Crosier-Cajina told the board of education that his organization is assembling leaders to serve as board members and work on the project in Sheridan, which is tackling issues involving substance abuse.
Superintendent Clough said a miscommunication with Colorado Heights University led to a mix-up with the date for Sheridan High School’s graduation. The date is officially Thursday, May 25. Clough apologized for the delay getting the word out about the change.
The state budget picture for public schools is not bright, said Superintendent Clough, since lawmakers are “boxed in with policy.” With a potential increase in rates from the district’s health care provider and no increase in state revenue, added Clough, “another round of cuts” is possible. “There is certainly not going to be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow,” he said. “I’m very worried about making ends meet.” State budgets won’t be confirmed until early May.
Deputy Superintendent Jackie Webb said collaboration talks are “going really well.” She said teams representing the teachers and the district have been problem-solving around improving social-emotional supports in classrooms and adjusting the teacher evaluation process.
Facility Master Plan Committee
The district’s revived Facility Master Plan Committee met on Monday (March 13) and facilities director Wright said the group focused on what was learned from the last facility review process, launched in 2010, and began to discuss next steps. The committee will continue work next month. The last Facility Master Plan Committee process led to the construction of Fort Logan Northgate School, relocation the Early Childhood Center and a host of other changes around the district.
Deputy Superintendent Webb told the board that the district is applying for a grant to support the addition of counseling staff at Fort Logan Northgate and Sheridan High School.
Bullying Prevention Grant
Fort Logan Northgate School assistant principal Beth Joswick provided the board with an overview of a bullying prevention grant awarded by the Colorado Department of Education. Forty-seven percent of middle school students (in a statewide survey) report being bullied, she said, with intimidation by social media a major concern.
Fort Logan Northgate School is in the first year of a three-year grant that will lead to the implementation of an effective bullying prevention program. Joswick told the board that eh work will incorporate family and community members in the strategies. Sheridan is one of 14 districts and Fort Logan Northgate School is one of 73 schools that were awarded grants for this purpose. Planning continues this year with implementation beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, she said. The big question, she added, “is how can we really implement this bullying prevention program with fidelity to really make a difference?”
The school is planning a “parent awareness night” about the grant on Thursday, May 11.
Student Perception Survey
Pat Sandos, Executive Director of School Services and Student Behavioral and Emotional Supports, presented initial “baseline” data from a student perception survey that was administered earlier this year. The data, he said, gives the district a place to begin work on improving school climate and culture, including relationships between students and staff and the rigor and relevance of academic work.
Responding to the statement, “staff members care about kids,” nine out of ten students agreed or strongly agreed. The same was true for students responding to the statement, “my teachers encourage me to do my best.”
Eighty percent of students agreed with the statement, “I will graduate” and that percentage was over 90 percent at Sheridan High School and SOAR, the district’s alternative school.
Eighty percent of Fort Logan Northgate School students agreed or strongly agreed that they are “challenged by the work at my school.” That percentage dipped to 70 percent at the high school and at SOAR. Sandos said those results should prompt teachers and district leaders to ask if they are challenging students enough in the classroom.
In the “concerns” area, Sandos noted the number of students who say they have been bullied at school or on the way to and from school. Thirty-percent of students at Fort Logan Northgate concurred with that statement; 27 percent at the high school and 25 percent at SOAR. “When it’s down around the zeroes,” said Sandos, “I’ll be thrilled.”
On the other hand, most students said they feel safe at school—80 percent to 90 percent at all four school campuses. (The survey was not given at the Early Childhood Center and only to second-grade students at Alice Terry Elementary; the survey was customized for each grade level).
All consent agenda items were approved. The consent agenda included school calendars for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
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