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ViewSHERIDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT 2
Board of Education Recap February 15th, 2018

News from Sheridan School District No. 2

Contact: Mark Stevens

mstevens@ssd2.org

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

News Release

Feb. 14, 2018

Raves and Praise for Early Childhood Center

Board of Education members lauded the learning atmosphere and level of student engagement in the district’s Early Childhood Center following their Learning Walk yesterday morning (Tuesday, Feb. 13). The center serves three- and four-year old children drawing from a variety of district, state and federal funds, including Head Start.

The “stereotype of eating crackers and taking naps” is over, said Board of Education Bernadette Saleh during the board’s evening meeting. “I was thrilled. I saw the same engagement that I see at Fort Logan Northgate. They didn’t look up. They just kept doing what they’re doing.”

She added: “It made me think how important it is to start the learning there. It was really a joy.”

Board member Sally Daigle also joined the Learning Walk, which gives board members a chance to observe classrooms across the district on a rotating basis. “In one of the classrooms I went into they were talking about ‘community.’ What’s in a community? What does ‘community’ mean? That’s huge. I really don’t believe the citizens in our community understand the level of learning that is happening at this preschool. It is phenomenal. It’s not finger painting. These kids are learning. What a gem.”

Daigle added, “They are learning to read and they are learning huge concepts.”

Information about the Early Childhood Center including application guidelines can be found here in English and Spanish. The ECC is located at 4100 S. Hazel Court. Phone number: 720-833-6600.

Clean Financial Audit

Gary Waller of Dixon, Waller & Co., Inc. (Certified Public Accountants based in Trinidad, Colorado) presented its analysis of Sheridan School District’s financial statements. Waller told the board his firm concluded, following its audit, that the district’s financial statements are

fairly presented, have met compliance requirements, and use adequate internal controls. “We found everything to be in proper order,” said Waller.

Translation and Interpretation Services

Language, Cultural and Equity director Linda Chapman presented an overview to the board about the district’s existing efforts to assist with interpretation and translation for Spanish-speakers and other languages as well. Chapman noted the difference between translating (which typically implies written media) and interpretation (which typically implies the spoken word.)

Sheridan has 20 staff members it relies on for both services, said Chapman, including six family liaisons, 10 other district staff members and four non-district employees (such as substitute teachers) who can assist when needed. Chapman praised the six liaisons for serving as the “link” between families and the schools. “I could not imagine that we could have better family liaisons,” she said. “You’d be amazed at what they do.”

Chapman emphasized the need for training and pointed to the many pitfalls that are possible when translating (and interpreting) due to culture, idioms and nuance of languages. She also talked about how other school districts handle interpretation of board meetings—some offer it at every public meeting, others do it by request only.

If the Sheridan Board of Education wants to offer interpretation at its board meeting, Chapman estimated, a minimum budget of $7,500 annually would cover training, equipment, salaries and supplies.

Teacher Recruitment

Superintendent Michael Clough told the board last night that district staff are heading to Michigan and Texas to recruit teachers. One group is heading to Grand Rapids, Michigan and Sheridan High School Principal Shirley Miles is heading to El Paso and Las Cruces. The board will also soon receive a proposal, he said, that will allow the district to expedite contracts for teachers. Too many potential recruits are being lost to other districts, he said, because the contracts are not offered in a timely manner.

BEST Grant

Director of Facilities and Transportation Cyndi Wright said district staff is wrapping up its application for BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant fund to build a new high school. The application is due Friday, Feb. 23. Wright thanked the board for its “tremendous commitment” and support for Sheridan’s school facilities.

The grant application would spell out a plan to build a new school that Wright said could cost $63 million to $65 million. If successful, state dollars (the BEST grant) would provide a portion of that total cost and voters would be asked next November to back a bond to pay for the balance. The same formula was used to build Fort Logan Northgate School.

District Staff Reductions

Central district staff will be smaller by two positions next year as part of the effort to reduce spending, Superintendent Clough told the board. A new ‘Chief Academic Officer’ position will absorb two existing positions, Deputy Superintendent and Executive Director of Social, Emotional and Support Services. A new Director of Student Learning Services will also absorb two other positions. The district leadership organizational chart is being redesigned, said Clough, and job descriptions are in the process of being rewritten.

As reported to the board at a meeting in January, the district is facing the need to reduce spending by $600,000 due to a drop in enrollment of 124 students this year.

Recruitment for the Chief Academic Officer will begin soon, said Superintendent Clough, so the district’s new superintendent, who is scheduled to be selected in April, will be part of that final selection of that individual in May.

Medicaid Application

Last year the district applied to receive reimbursements for services provided to students eligible for Medicaid. Special Education director Jenny Pilger told the board last night that the district received $160,000 and is developing a five-year plan for how the funds will be used. Pilger said there are “very specific” rules for how the funds may be used but in general that it will be used to improve the health of all students.

March Meeting

The board will hold only one meeting in March—on Tuesday, March 13. The second meeting of the month falls during Spring Break and board members may also have plenty of work to do as they read superintendent applications. The board may also schedule an executive session to meet with the superintendent search firm, Ray & Associates.

Alternative Pathways Grant

Superintendent Clough said the district has been awarded a three-year, $470,000 Alternative Pathways Grant for SOAR Academy. Colorado Department of Education officials called with the upbeat news, he said. Sheridan’s application earned extremely high marks, he said, and that was due to the high-quality of the application, which was written by Deputy Superintendent Jackie Webb.

New School Websites

Jolie Baty, a member of the Sheridan School District 2 Tech Team, presented new school websites, which have been updated and refreshed in the last few weeks. She also said the district’s new app (search for Sheridan School District 2 on your mobile phone device) is fully integrated with the district website and will send you daily alerts about upcoming activities and events. Look under the “SCHOOLS” tab at www.ssd2.org.

Board Policies

Polly Plancarte, executive assistant to Superintendent Michael Clough, presented information to the board about the distinction between administrative and board policies. The Colorado Association of School Boards keeps boards of education apprised of new laws being passed by the Colorado State Legislature, she said. Some are policies that only require administrative implementation by Superintendent Clough and district staff, she said, while others require specific board of education approval. Sheridan employs a “policy governance” style of board management that allows the board to make decisions based on policy, empower staff, focus on the big issues, allow staff to carry out goals, and engage the community in the decision-making process (among other features).

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