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Board of Education Recap May 9th, 2018

News from Sheridan School District No. 2

Contact: Mark Stevens mstevens@ssd2.org

303-495-8699 (mobile) • 720-328-5488 (office)

 

News Release

May 9, 2018

Alice Terry Elementary School Principal Joe Hayes Looks Back

 

Alice Terry Elementary School principal Joe Hayes is leaving Sheridan schools this summer to serve as principal at Field Elementary School in Littleton—the same school where his predecessor, Lyn Bajaj, went to work four years ago.  

At the Board of Education meeting this week, Hayes took a few minutes to reflect on progress at Alice Terry, which serves kindergarten through second grade. Hayes lauded the “collaborative effort” of the entire Alice Terry team. “The staff and the community is what makes it move,” he said.  

Hayes noted the school’s improved work with prioritizing social-emotional learning, including a twenty-minute period every morning when teachers hold class meetings and “restorative circles” to deal with student needs and issues. “We recognized that we needed more support for our students around social-emotional learning and self-advocating,” said Hayes. “A lot of students … are coming to school with life circumstances that impact them in ways we can’t ignore.”

Hayes also talked about various improvements to instruction and curriculum in mathematics, reading, social studies, and science as well as upgrades in after-school clubs and programs, and Gifted and Talented education. He also talked about progress as measured by DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literary Skills). Hayes said the staff set rigorous goals for improving the percentage of students demonstrating that they are performing on grade level. DIBELS results has improved from 38 percent on grade level two years ago, to 46 percent last year to 51 percent this year. 

Hayes noted the needed to strengthen policies to boost kindergarten attendance rates. “Students who miss a lot of kindergarten develop early gaps,” he said. He also urged work on developing more after-school options and pointed out that the school will bring back visual arts instruction next year with a half-time teacher. 

Superintendent Clough told Hayes he would be missed and called him “one of our great leaders.” 

 

No Executive Session

Board members voted 3-2 in favor of holding an executive session with attorney Jim Branum to discuss personnel issues and other matters. However, state law requires an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the quorum present to go into executive session and that would require at least four “yes” votes. Board members Daniel Stange and Karla Najera opposed the executive session. In place of the closed-door meeting, attorney Branum answered some general questions for various board members about pending open records requests, liability insurance, and other topics. 

Board members approved a change to board policy that will now require individual board members to secure approval from the board president in order to contact the board’s attorney. That motion was approved on a 3-2 vote, with Bernadette Saleh, Sally Daigle and Juanita Camacho voting in favor.

Wrestler Honored

Superintendent Michael Clough and Sheridan High School principal Shirley Miles recognized high school wrestler Faustin “Tino” Lopez, who won the 195-pound state championship earlier this year, and wrestling coach Gene Maez. In the state tournament, Lopez pinned his first two opponents and won the semifinal match 7-5. In the finals, he defeated a wrestler from Lamar by an 8-2 score. 

Lopez has already represented Sheridan in meets this year in Austria and Las Vegas. Lopez is heading to Northern Michigan University on both an athletic and academic scholarship. “He’s a wonderful student,” said Miles, who added that Lopez was named male athlete of the year for Sheridan High School. “We are so proud of him.”

Sheridan High School Prom

Superintendent Michael Clough lauded the recent Sheridan High School prom and all the students who attended. “We had zero incidents of behavior or trouble,” said Clough. “Everyone was there to have a great time. Prom is one of those events in Sheridan that I will really miss.” 

Later in the meeting, board member Sally Daigle echoed Clough’s comments. “Prom was awesome and so fun,” she said. “There was no craziness, there was no fighting, there was no nothing.”

Graduation Dates

Superintendent Clough reminded board members and the community about the district’s two upcoming graduations.

Sheridan High School will hold graduation on Friday, May 18 at 6 p.m. at the West Bowles Community Church, 12325 W. Bowles Ave. in Littleton.

SOAR Academy will hold its graduation on Wednesday, March 23 at SOAR Academy, also beginning at 6 p.m.

BEST Grant

Next Wednesday (March 16), Sheridan School District will have two minutes to present to the state’s BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) board as one of the steps in its application for a grant to build a new high school. Cyndi Wright, Director of Facilities and Transportation, told the board that the district will be represented by Jenny Pilger, Director of Special Education.  The two minute presentation might be longer if BEST board members ask questions. 

The presentation will be made in the Jefferson County Schools board of education meeting room beginning at 9 a.m.  Wright is a member of the BEST board but will not vote on the Sheridan application. 

The total estimated high school construction project is $59.1 million. The district is requesting a state grant of $37.8 million. If the state board approves, Sheridan voters would be asked to approve the local match of $21.2 million.

When Fort Logan Northgate School was built, the cost was $216 per square foot, said Wright. With the vastly improved local economy, said Wright, the estimated cost for constructing the new high school would be $368 per square foot.

Accreditation Contract 

Superintendent Clough noted that the district has completed work on its accreditation contract with the Colorado Department of Education. As the district learned last fall, Sheridan’s rating is “Accredited with Improvement Plan.” Superintendent Clough thanked all the district leaders, teachers and staff for their work in improving the district’s overall rating. Other Metro Denver districts, Clough noted, remain in lower categories and are very worried about possible pending state intervention.

Board Comments

Board of Education president Bernadette Saleh praised Superintendent Clough for his work on improving the state’s school finance formulas and for being one of many superintendents who signed a letter supporting related legislation.  Board member Karla Najera noted that May 8 was National Teacher Appreciation Day and thanked all Sheridan teachers who “give and give and are here to shape the future … I thank you for everything you do.”

Gifted and Talented Students

Blanche Kapushion, the district’s coordinator for services to gifted and talented students, provided the board with an overview of efforts to improve identification and services to students with strengths in a variety of areas including intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership or with a specific academic field. Kapushion highlighted the various approaches each school uses to identify and serve gifted and talented students and noted that to date Sheridan’s identification process is proportional by race to the district’s student body as a whole. 

Kapushion noted that work remains in overcoming misconceptions about gifted and talented services—including misconceptions held by existing teachers and staff. She also urged that more work be done on identifying female students—to date, two-thirds of Sheridan’s identified gifted and talented students are male. A state audit of Sheridan’s program for gifted and talented students, she said, found the district needs to work on identification processes; advanced learning plans for students; evaluation and accountability; and process for disagreements.

Pupil Count & State Audit

On his second day on the job ten years ago, said Superintendent Clough, he received word from the Colorado Department of Education that Sheridan owed the state $450,000 following an audit of the district’s pupil count. During the most recent audit, said Clough, the state found a small error in transportation calculation and an issue with one student regarding free and reduced-lunch status so the district owes $12,000 that needs to go back to the state. “It is no small feat to count children in this district,” said Clough. “Huge kudos to everyone involved in this process.”

Consent Agenda

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

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Sheridan School District NO.2
4150 South Hazel Court
Englewood, Colorado 80110
email: info@ssd2.org
phone: (720) 833-6991
fax: (720) 833-6650