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Board of Education Work Session and Regular Meeting Recap- May 30th, 2019

News from Sheridan School District No. 2


Contact: Mark Stevens

[email protected]

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


News Release


May 30, 2019


Starting Teacher Salary in Sheridan Jumps to $45,885


The Sheridan Board of Education this week ratified a new contract with the Sheridan Educator Association that lifts starting salaries for teachers from $38,500 to $45,885. That rate of compensation outpaces neighboring districts in Littleton, Englewood, and Denver.


“I can’t wait to put that salary out on the market and encourage teachers to come here,” said Superintendent Pat Sandos, who thanked staff and teachers for their hard work on the contract.


The increase was possible after Sheridan voters last fall approved a $3 million mill levy override and due to an improving state budget. The mill levy resources are also being used to

improve safety and security; repair leaking roofs; address other infrastructure needs; and upgrade technology infrastructure and operations in schools to support 21st Century learning opportunities.


Classified staff will receive a minimum $1.50 per hour salary increase and related adjustments based on a survey of the market. Administrators will receive no step increases for additional years of service this year but some salaries are also being adjusted based on the market.


Chief Financial Officer Kristen Colonell noted the salary increases as she introduced the proposed 2019-2020 school year budget.


The proposed program funding for the next school year is $13.1 million and that’s the first time, she noted, that Sheridan has surpassed the $13 million mark. While funding from the state increased by $491.94 per student, the budget also anticipates that the district’s enrollment will decline by 24 students. 


“Having extra money is a wonderful problem to have,” said Colonell. She said administrators ran more than 50 scenarios with the salary schedules before settling on a final version that eliminated the “BA” (Bachelor of Arts) column and the first three rows of “step” increases.


Additional budget highlights:


  • The district will remain with Kaiser as the health insurance provider. The insurance rates increased 6.3 percent and the district will absorb 5 percent of that additional expense.
  • The district will track all Mill Levy expenses using a special code.
  •  Property insurance increased 116 percent. Staff is exploring a change in deductibles and exploring other carriers to bring the premiums down.
  • The district’s nutrition services program remains self-sustaining with no help from the general fund.
  • Federal support for nutrition services is increasing.
  •  The district is planning on a slight decrease in the number of paid meals and is also anticipating next year’s move by the state of Colorado to cover the cost of reduced-price lunches for students in grades K-12, an expansion from the current K-8 approach.


As required by state law, the budget awaits a second reading and final approval by the Sheridan Board of Education.


State Grant for ECC/SOAR Academy Roof
A district grant application for a new roof for the building that houses both the Early Childhood Center and SOAR Academy is one step closer to receiving a green light from the state. Cyndi Wright, Chief Operations Officer, said the proposal was placed on the “recommended to be funded list” by the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) board. The recommendation now goes to the full State Board of Education for approval over the summer. 


The total project cost is $1,477,582 with the state providing $930,877 and the district providing $546,705 from the proceeds of last November’s $3 million mill levy override election. Under the plan, the roof will be replaced in most sections and repaired in others.


Instructional Support Assistants

During the work session, Director of Student Achievement Blanche Kapushion presented an update of the district’s Instructional Support Assistants program.  The ISAs, as they are known, work alongside teachers in kindergarten through third grade. 


Kapushion said firm data demonstrating the return on investment won’t be known until test results become available later this summer and fall. She cited a series of qualitative comments from teachers, students and ISAs themselves, however, that indicate the additional educator in the classrooms is making a difference.


Of the 15 ISAs hired this year, 11 will be returning next school year. Three ISAs resigned and one was hired as a classroom teacher in a neighboring district.  Returning ISAs will continue to work with the same teachers, said Kapushion, and all ISAs will receive professional development and participate in meetings that analyze student progress. “We want continuity,” she said. “The collaborative model is important.”


Board member Sally Daigle said she wished support for students was available at all grade levels, including those in high school who are getting ready to graduate.  She also questioned how fourth-grade teachers will fare when they don’t have the same support that third-grade teachers enjoyed and when they are dealing with students are used to having two instructional leaders in their classrooms.


Superintendent Sandos said the ISA concept is to deliver more students to fourth grade who are on grade level and to break the cycle of students who lag on grade-level work for the rest of their school careers. 


“We want a year’s growth in a year’s time and not always playing catch up,” he said. The goal is to prepare students as “active participants” in the learning process, he said, and the presence of ISAs allows for more direct teacher contact. “I’m very optimistic about where we are heading,” said Superintendent Sandos.


Gifted & Talented Report

Blanche Kapushion also delivered a recap of efforts during the 2018-2019 school year to identify and serve Gifted & Talented students.


 Kapushion noted a number of areas for improvement that were discovered during a recent state review of Sheridan’s procedures, including the district’s identification procedures and criteria for determining exceptional ability. Kapushion said this work has been “partially completed” by implementing more consistent procedures for identification in all domains of giftedness. 


The district has completed work to clarify district policies and procedures to align with state identification guidelines and partially completed an effort to evaluate root causes to address disparities in the current demographic representation for gender and English Language Learners. 


Kapushion said work is continuing to develop and communicate a schedule for periodic feedback and review of all aspects of the program, including an opportunity for stakeholder feedback on the impact of gifted programming on student achievement and progress.


The program served 78 students this past school year—43 males and 35 females in all grades from Kindergarten through high school. 


Kapushion thanked all the school staff and teachers who support the Gifted & Talented Program.


Student and Parent Surveys

Director Assessment Maegan Daigler reviewed data from parent and student surveys. The surveys captured responses from 327 parents (206 in English; 121 in Spanish) and 887 students in grades two through 12. 


Parents at Alice Terry Elementary (Kindergarten through second grade) noted the positive support from teachers to help students be successful (scored a 4.5 on a five-point scale, with five considered “excellent.”) Parents also indicated they would like to see more after-school activities at Alice Terry (3.2 on the same five-point scale).


The Fort Logan Northgate School (grades three through eight) parent and student surveys showed concerns about safety. At the middle school level, students gave a score of 2.02 to the statement, “I have not been bullied or harassed at school or on my way to school.” A score of “2” indicates “disagree” on the students’ four-point scale. These same students had an average score of 2.32 to the statement “Cyber-bullying happens rarely.”


Students and parents at Sheridan High School and SOAR Academy would like to see improved maintenance of the school building.


Superintendent Sandos said Daigler will meet with school leaders to share the data and develop ways to address the issues that were raised. “They will have some pretty good conversations about what to do,” said Sandos. “You can’t deal with it if you don’t embrace it and take it on.”


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: [email protected]
phone: (720) 833-6991
fax: (720) 833-6650