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Board of Education Meeting Recap February 13th, 2020

News from Sheridan School District No. 2

Contact: Mark Stevens


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News Release

Feb. 13, 2020

Sheridan High School Students Celebrated

The Sheridan Board of Education and a packed meeting room of parents and community members celebrated four Sheridan High School students at the board meeting this week—two students who finished at the top of a statewide essay contest and two who are semifinalists for major scholarship opportunities.

Gerardo Avellaneda Santana finished first place in the Colorado Association of Bilingual Education’s essay contest among 112 entries from around Colorado; Sorwath Sherzad finished third. Both Santana and Sherzad read their moving essays aloud. Sherzad wrote that her life “completely changed” after learning a second language. At first, she said, she “sat alone, ate alone” but became a “completely new person” after learning English. “I can communicate with whoever I want,” she said.

Santana, reading in both English and Spanish, discussed his struggles with “language identity” but soon grew to understand that “bilingualism is a blessing and not a curse.” Santana said he is “ready to demonstrate to the nation” that bilingualism is a strength. “You may say I’m a dreamer,” he said, invoking a bit of John Lennon, “but I’m not the only one.”

Sheridan High School principal German Echevarria said the school is “extremely honored” to have students like Sherzad and Santana. Whether they go on to the workplace or college, he added, being bilingual “is a resource no one can ever take away.” Echevarria said the top finishes in the essay contest are “a testament to their hard work, their commitment to their education, to their families, and to the faculty and staff.”

Echevarria and board members also celebrated Amanda Dinh, a semifinalist for the Daniels Fund Scholarship and Gabrielle Marcojos, a semifinalist for the Boettcher Scholarship. Both scholarship programs are highly competitive. Daniels Scholarship recipients are selected for their strength of character, leadership potential, commitment to serving their communities, academic performance or promise, well-rounded personality, and emotional maturity and

stability. Daniels Scholars are supported financially in attending any four-year college in the United States. Boettcher Scholarship recipients are provided with full-ride tuition to any accredited four-year college in the state.

Superintendent Pat Sandos lauded the parents. “They are up here because you are out there supporting them,” he said. “That is an incredible group of young people and to watch them, listen them, and see their leadership makes my day. We are chock full of great leaders.”

Fort Logan Northgate School—In The Spotlight

Fort Logan Northgate School principal Bill Blandón also highlighted high-achieving students as part of his update for the board about progress at the school. Blandón said 60 students across all grade levels (grade three through eight) earned straight A’s and maintained a 4.0 grade average in the first semester.

Students Alivia Ruybalid (third grade), Sophia Martinez Barrientos (fourth grade), Anthony Nguyen (fifth grade), Emario Garcia (sixth grade), Naiomi Tafoya and Joshua Vigil (both seventh grade) and Leo Chamu (eighth grade) were selected to represent those 60 students.

Blandón also saluted the contributions from teachers Kloe Cauble, Chad Moravec, and Ken White for their work on the school’s instructional leadership team and for their work on the mathematics collaboration with the University of Colorado Denver.

Reviewing Fort Logan Northgate School data, Blandón noted a broad increase in students who are on grade level in reading and mathematics along with a reduction of students in the bottom tier. Blandón credited the work of Instructional Support Assistants and the instructional leadership team for its efforts analyzing data and defining the needed professional development of teachers.

Blandón said attendance is up but the school is dealing with an increase in students who are given out-of-school suspensions. Fort Logan Northgate School is going through a “discipline reset,” he said, to improve school climate and to reduce bullying. Out of school suspensions don’t help with achievement. “If our kids are not in the classroom, they are not going to be learning and they are not going to be improving,” said Blandón, who was joined by assistant principals Cori Canty and Margaret Peña Stanley.

Changes at the school include expanded library hours, enrollment of 15 students in the AVID program, Spanish language classes in all grade levels, and shorter passing periods for grades six, seven, and eight. The shorter passing periods means 10 more minutes of instruction every day.

The school, said Stanley, is working on the improved implementation of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support program and improving parent and community communication.

The discipline discussion prompted board member Sally Daigle to press for more details on how to improve school climate. She urged staff to look for “root causes” to the trend.

Superintendent Pat Sandos said the school is “doing the right work” and re-examining all its approaches to improving school safety and climate. “Building culture takes time,” he said.

Additional Notes

Superintendent Sandos also provided a brief recap of the Colorado Association of School Executives conference, which was shortened by a day due to weather, and said the district is monitoring proposals in the Colorado state legislature regarding Early Childhood Education and school funding.

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