PRINT ARTICLE

Print    Close This Window
Board of Education Recap December 13th, 2018

News from Sheridan School District No. 2

 

Contact: Mark Stevens mstevens@ssd2.org

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

 

News Release

Dec. 13, 2018

Successful Mill Levy Election Officially Certified; Campaign Volunteers Honored

 

Superintendent Pat Sandos announced at the board meeting this week that the Arapahoe County Elections Division has officially certified that Sheridan voters approved the school district’s mill levy proposal on the November 6 ballot. 

The final vote (1,365 votes in favor and 1,115 opposed) is a winning margin of 55 percent. “I am very, very proud of everyone who helped and supported” the effort, said Superintendent Sandos.

The additional $3 million raised through the mill levy increase will be used to improve safety and security; repair leaking roofs and address other infrastructure needs; improve and upgrade technology infrastructure and operations in schools to support 21st Century learning opportunities; and to make salaries and wages of district personnel competitive with those of other school districts in the metropolitan area. The last successful mill levy for Sheridan schools was approved by voters in 2001.

Sheridan Board of Education president Bernadette Saleh said the board could not possibly thank everyone who worked on the campaign. However, Saleh and Superintendent Sandos recognized five key individuals—three members of district staff (Karen Babcock, Steve Merchant, and Paul Martinez) and two community members (Dallas Hall and Roger Rowland)— for their hard work and leadership.  

SOAR Academy in the Spotlight

SOAR Academy principal Todd Legge honored SOAR Academy student Shyann Guzman and staff members Luisa Flores and Thaina Osorio. Legge said Shyann is a “tremendous mother” who has persevered through personal and life challenges and who also offers honest and respectful feedback to the school. 

Osorio, said Legge, is “the face of our communication … and she does it in a way that is always joyful to the outside and also very honest with me.”  Legge said Flores, the school counselor, is a pillar of the school who shows SOAR students what it will take to be successful after graduation. “The work they do is stellar,” said Legge of both staff members.

Legge and Stacy Shaffer, SOAR’s student engagement coordinator, presented an overview of the schools’ progress and challenges ahead. SOAR Academy serves students from ages 14 through 21 who are seeking a high school diploma outside the traditional high school environment. SOAR Academy offers both a regular day program and a night school to about 60 students.

The school has seen a major increase in its attendance rates; last year’s 55 percent average daily attendance improved to 79 percent during the first quarter this year. Ten times this year, said Legge, attendance has reached 90 percent or better. The upward trend in attendance, said Legge, demonstrates that students are re-engaging with the SOAR Academy community.  

At the same time, he said, the school is working to improve student achievement in reading and writing. Only one SOAR Academy student demonstrated proficiency on a college entrance exam last year.  

“I am really pleased with SOAR Academy’s reestablishment of an academic environment,” said Superintendent Sandos. “This is a group that understands you need to lead with heart but you don’t need to lower your expectations because of that.”

School-Year Calendar Shift

The idea of starting the school year in mid-August will likely be considered by the Board of Education in January. Superintendent Pat Sandos told the board that a decision is needed so planning can begin for the 2018-2019 school year. While no specific start date for the 20192020 school year has been identified, the idea is to begin in the middle of the month. 

Parents are encouraged to fill out an online survey (link Here).  A community meeting in January is being planned to present the idea and gather additional feedback. 

This year, Sheridan started the school year on August 2 while other school districts started on August 13 (Englewood), August 16 (Jeffco), August 17 (Littleton) and August 20 (Denver). Sheridan is the only district of those that includes a five-day fall break and a 10-day spring break in the school-year calendar.

Maegan Daigler, Director of Assessment, Testing, and Homeless Education for Sheridan School District 2, said that shifting the start of the school year holds a number of possible advantages. One issue, she said, is to reduce the number of times that teachers must re-orient students to the routines of the classroom. Parents and teachers who work in Sheridan may also find it easier to manage day care issues and work schedules if Sheridan more closely follows the calendars used by neighboring districts. Daigler added that using a schedule more in line with neighbors may also help with retaining and attracting teachers and staff. 

Daigler added that the District Advisory and Accountability Committee and student councils will also asked for their input. In addition, feedback from the Sheridan Educator Association will be gathered before the idea is forwarded to the board.  

 

Family Leadership Training Institute

The board heard a presentation from Taylor McKinney, site coordinator from the Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI). McKinney was joined by former Sheridan Mayor and FLTI graduate Dallas Hall. The organization seeks to strengthen families and boost civic engagement through a 20-week curriculum, said McKinney, and to “demystify” the civic process.

CASB Conference

Board members shared their thoughts and reactions to this year’s Colorado Association of School Boards conference, held earlier in the month in Colorado Springs. Board president Saleh said she was impressed by the number of workshop offerings this year, particularly those focused on social-emotional issues with students. Board member Daniel Stange said he was impressed with a keynote speech about the need for school districts to build a “common aspiration” and board member Juanita Camacho said she came away concerned that job skills are changing so fast that schools won’t be able to keep up. And board member Sally Daigle said she attended a number of workshops regarding issues related to student mental health. She encouraged the idea of changing the term to “brain health” to remove some of the stigma associated with getting assistance. 

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda was 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

                                                ##