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ViewSHERIDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT 2
Board of Education Recap May 16th, 2019

News from Sheridan School District No. 2

 

Contact: Mark Stevens

mstevens@ssd2.org

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

 

News Release

 

May 16, 2019

 

SOAR Academy Highlights Improved Culture, Engagement

 

SOAR Academy principal Todd Legge took time at this week’s Sheridan Board of Education meeting (Tuesday, May 14) to recognize progress at the alternative high school, while also noting challenges.

 

Legge’s presentation began with a spotlight on Jeremiah Tucson, who will be one of 17 students graduating on Wednesday, May 22.

 

“I have never seen a transformation that was so thorough and so honest and so universally hoped for by every adult who knew him,” said Legge. “This kid is SOAR all the way. (At first) you could see he was battling inside himself. Before we knew it, we’re here and he’s going to graduate next week.”

 

The staff at SOAR Academy, said Legge, need a “certain level of flexibility” to work at SOAR. He also recognized Joe Ladow, the school’s Expelled and At-Risk Student Services coordinator, and building manager Steve Merchant for their “humble, hard-working,” support.

 

“Both of these gentleman,” said Legge, “are two of the best I’ve ever seen.”

 

SOAR Academy focused this year on improving its culture and engagement.  “Engagement is a huge monster in the alternative setting,” said Legge, beginning with attendance rates and commitment to the school.

 

SOAR Academy currently serves 97 students with a daily attendance rate of 86 percent. Legge noted that while some students showed growth in mathematics and reading this year that far too many are more than two years behind grade level.  He called that “unacceptable.” 

 

The school next year will focus on successful implementation of its new systems, improved programming during and outside of schools, monthly college visits for all students, building the connection to post-secondary options for all students, and improving instructional practices.

 

Superintendent Pat Sandos lauded Legge for his “heart and passion.” And board member Sally Daigle said she was pleased the board supported the creation of SOAR Academy in the face of cautions from the Colorado Department of Education that warned an alternative high school would hurt the district’s overall test scores and accreditation rank.

 

“We decided we didn’t care,” said Daigle. “Every child has a right to succeed and it’s our job as a board to make sure that happens.”

 

District Accountability Advisory Committee

Adrian Vigil, the teacher representative on the District Accountability Advisory Committee, reviewed the committee’s work this year on two goals—creating a welcoming environment in all schools and addressing bullies and bullying.  Vigil said he has served on DAAC for 18 years and that this year’s work was the most meaningful to date.

 

DAAC will return early in the 2019-2020 school year to update its goals. Board member Karl Najera said she appreciates the work of DAAC, which includes community members, parents, and district staff. “This is a group whose voice I want to hear more from,” she said.

 

ACCESS Data

Director of Assessment Maegan Daigler and Christine Muldoon, Director of Language, Culture & Equity, presented data from ACCESS, the tests given to English language learners in Kindergarten through 12th grade in Colorado.  

 

Results from the tests are used to ensure students are in the right classes and that teachers have the right instructional supports based on the language needs of English Learners.

 

ACCESS measures students’ capability in English in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. This year, 327 Sheridan students took ACCESS tests. Daigler noted a slight increase in “Level 2” (emerging) students. (The scale runs from 1, “entering,” to 6, “reaching” proficiency).

 

The data also revealed that 43 percent of students in grades 6-8 and 35 percent of students in grades 9-12 are considered “long-term” English language learners, which means they are taking longer than expected to make the transition to full proficiency.

 

Daigler and Muldoon noted a series of district-wide strategies to improve cultural competency among all staff, to improve progress monitoring of students, and to encourage more students to pursue a Seal of Biliteracy on their high school diploma.

 

Supporting students who want to pursue that seal, which sets a high bar for maintaining proficiency in two languages, will require supports beginning in middle and elementary schools, said Muldoon, and that may in turn help improve the district’s overall support for all English language learners.

 

German Echevarria

Superintendent Sandos introduced German Echevarria, who will serve as a co-principal next year at Sheridan High School alongside the current principal, Eileen Doolan.

 

Originally from Puerto Rico, Echevarria has worked in Denver Public Schools for 20 years. “Traditional comprehensive high schools should be a beacon,” said Echevarria, adding that he seeks to create bridges with all students and families in the Sheridan community. 

 

Clean Financial Audit

Superintendent Sandos read a letter from the Colorado Department of Education notifying the district of “no findings” following a recent audit. “That’s a good thing,” said Superintendent Sandos.  The letter thanked the district’s finance office staff for its cooperation in the audit 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