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Board of Education Recap May 24th, 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 24, 2018

No New High School This Time; BEST Grant Application Turned Down

 

Sheridan School District’s application for grant money to build a new high school with the help of the state’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program has been turned down.

Cyndi Wright, Director of Facilities and Transportation for Sheridan School District 2, told the board of education and its meeting this week (May 22) that the district’s application was lauded for its clarity and readability. She added that she expected to receive a detailed explanation for the rejection.

The total estimated high school construction project for Sheridan’s proposal was $59.1 million. The district was requesting a state grant of $37.8 million. If the state board had approved, Sheridan voters would have been asked to approve the local match of $21.2 million.

The district could potentially proceed with requesting voter support for the concept this coming November, to demonstrate the community’s commitment to shoulder its share of the cost, but Superintendent Michael Clough said after the meeting he did not think such a bond campaign would be advisable.

In a related conversation incoming superintendent Pat Sandos told the board during the work session that he would be working with the board to develop a possible mill levy proposal that could go to voters this fall to boost operating revenue.

Great Outdoors Colorado Grant

The City of Sheridan’s application for a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) grant was approved and part of the grant will benefit Sheridan School District 2, Wright told the board. The approval will yield a brand new nature play-space and outdoor experience at Alice Terry Elementary School, at a cost of $93,000, and an improved outdoor learning area at Fort Logan Northgate School, at a cost of $153,000.  Wright told the board that the existing Alice Terry playground equipment is geared mostly for older students while the school only serves kindergarten through second grade. Work on both projects will begin soon, she said, with installation planned for summer of 2019.

Early Childhood Center

Aimee Chapman, principal of the Early Childhood Center, gave an overview of progress and issues for her school, which serves three- and four-year-old children. The school has been working on social-emotional issues with early learners, she said, and on helping students build a sense of community.

Eighty-one percent of four-year olds heading to kindergarten at Alice Terry Elementary School, she said, met the school’s expectations for forming relationships with adults.  The school employs a “transdisciplinary approach” to instruction of young learners in reading, writing, math and science.

The school will reduce in size from 10 classrooms to nine for the 2018-2019 school year, she said, and is in the middle of an intensive marketing campaign to build awareness of the program. Chapman also told the board that ECC is working to provide before- and after-school care for children as an additional service to the needs of working parents.

District Advisory and Accountability Committee

In its annual presentation to the board of education, the District Advisory and Accountability Committee (DAAC) urged the board to invest in quality before- and after-school programs. The committee said the lack of these services should be the district’s top priority.  DAAC represents a cross-section of parents, district staff, and the community and its function is outlined in state law. It serves only in an advisory capacity.

Adrian Vigil, an Alice Terry Elementary School teacher and chair of DAAC, underscored that the before- and after-school programs should be high quality. DAAC also offered a list of suggestions for activities, clubs and classes to be offered during before- and after-school programming including computer keyboarding, athletics for elementary school students, study hall and tutoring opportunities, science clubs, training for public speaking, summer programs, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4H, Boys and Girls clubs and opportunities along those lines.

“We are really hoping the board will take the recommendations of this group and move forward,” said Vigil.

 

2018-2019 School Year Budget

Chief Operations Officer Kristen Colonell provided the board with an overview of the 2018-2019 school year budget. The district is anticipating to spend $12.6 million next year, she said.  Revenue is up by a total of $530,000—much of that ($303,000) due largely to the state’s reduction of the so-called ‘negative factor.’

The budget anticipates a reduction of 30 students next year; for declining-enrollment districts the state allows for the use of a five-year rolling average. The budget allowed the district to improve teacher compensation—the tentative master agreement (which has yet to go before the board for its consideration) will improve the district’s starting teacher salary by about $3,500, to $38,529.

The budget will also allow the district to buy a new school bus for its fleet and expand the sidewalk on the south side of Alice Terry Elementary School, where walking space is tight.

Colonell also pointed out that the food costs are down approximately $100,000 since the district shifted to its new approach and no longer purchases food through Littleton Public Schools.

Graduations

Several board members and Superintendent Clough lauded the graduation and continuation ceremonies at Sheridan High School and Fort Logan Northgate School, particularly the quality of the music. The SHS graduation included several pieces from the choir and Fort Logan Northgate’s ceremony included a student violin performance. “These have been so beautifully put together,” said board member Sally Daigle.  Added board member Karla Najera, “I am so thankful for all the teachers who continue to push our kids to greatness.”

 

Special Education Compliance

Special education director Jenny Pilger reviewed district’s compliance under the state’s accountability system. The services for special education students is measured in a variety of ways including academic achievement, academic growth, suspension and expulsion rates, graduation rates, dropout rates, and overall paperwork as well.  Pilger noted the district’s excellent participation rates in the state test, CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success).  She also noted good scores on English Language Arts and “very low performing” results in mathematics. Sheridan is second in the state for academic growth for English Language Arts.

However, she noted, graduation rates are too low and dropout rates are too high.  Pilger said the district will focus on mathematics instruction, improving intervention programs, and develop better programs to support postsecondary success.

 

Achievement #3

As part of a series reviewing major accomplishments in Sheridan, Superintendent Clough showed a few slides regarding the construction of Fort Logan Northgate School—in particular the design, the athletic field, the development of the mascot and logo, and the building’s overall “wow” factor in the community.

Work Session

Incoming superintendent Pat Sandos reviewed a series of ideas he has for adjusting the organization of district administration, for adding Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSA’s) to support instructional leadership, and helping teachers use technology in the classroom. Sandos and the board also discussed holding a one-day retreat in June to work on teamwork and plans going forward.

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