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ViewSHERIDAN SCHOOL DISTRICT 2
Board of Education Recap December 11th, 2019
News from Sheridan School District No. 2

 

Contact: Mark Stevens

mstevens@ssd2.org

303-495-8699 (mobile)

 

News Release

 

Dec. 11, 2019

 

Colorado State Board of Education Lifts Sheridan School District’s Performance Rating to “Improvement;” Upgrade Stops Accountability Clock

 

The Colorado Board of Education this week upgraded Sheridan School District 2’s district performance framework to “improvement,” based on additional data provided by the district. 

 

That decision came today (Dec. 11) as part of the state board’s process of finalizing school and district performance frameworks, following a window of time that allowed for appeals. The state board had received a recommendation from its own staff to approve Sheridan’s request.

 

At the board meeting this week, Superintendent Pat Sandos relayed news that the state department’s staff would make the recommendation, but it wasn’t yet known what the state board would do. Eighteen school districts requested changes to their ratings; all but one was approved.

 

At the Tuesday night meeting, Sheridan Board of Education president Bernadette Saleh said she had read the letter from CDE to district staff about the recommendation and noted that the state was “very complimentary” to the district and its efforts to persevere on making its case to upgrade the rating.

 

Superintendent Pat Sandos thanked Daigler for her efforts. “You looked at every piece of data possible and that really paid off,” he said.

 

The upgrade stops the state’s so-called “accountability clock,” part of state law that requires a series of state interventions and sanctions for districts that fail to climb out of low performance categories over time.

 

“This is excellent news,” said Superintendent Sandos. “Now we continue to improve performance across the district and avoid any risk of slipping back. Our whole focus is on moving up. With the terrific staff and teamwork in the district today, I have no doubt that’s the direction we are heading.”

 

SOAR Academy in Spotlight

Also at the board meeting this week, SOAR Academy principal Todd Legge shined a spotlight on three students and three staff members. He also provided an overview of progress at the alternative school.

 

The three students—Destiny Braun, Arsenio Sequiera-Martinez, and Elida Griego—were

all credited by Legge for navigating difficult personal challenges and continuing to pursue a high school degree.  Staff members Adam Chavez, Madeline Gebhard, and Michelle Sepulveda were praised for their contributions to the “family” atmosphere at SOAR Academy and for bringing their unique insights to the faculty.

 

Principal Legge talked about the school’s efforts to engage students in learning. “When we’re engaged in a project and when we’re engaged in the moment, it says a lot,” said Legge.

 

The school is working to boost attendance rates, improve family involvement, and expand the number of pathways to post-secondary education and the workplace. “We want to create more and we want to maintain the one’s we’ve got,” said Legge.

 

Superintendent Sandos praised Legge for hiring a “magnificent staff” and for placing an emphasis on making a connection with students. It “warms my heart,” said Superintendent Sandos, to see the entire SOAR Academy staff attend the board meeting to support the presentation. “That excites me beyond belief,” he said.

 

And board president Saleh reminded everyone that the board fought hard to create SOAR Academy in order to reach as many students as possible and give them options on a path toward a high school diploma. “It’s heart-warming to see its success,” she said, “and you are all proof that it is successful.”

 

Co-Teaching Teams

Director of Student Achievement Blanche Kapushion praised teachers and staff who are co-teaching at both SOAR Academy and Sheridan High School. “It has been hard work on their end and their commitment to it has been phenomenal,” she said. The teachers have worked together, trained together, and receiving coaching as a group as well, she added.

 

At SOAR Academy, the teachers are Adam Chavez (Learning Specialist and GED Coordinator), Madeline Gebhard (Social Worker); and Michelle Sepulveda (Social Studies). At Sheridan High School, the Exceptional Student Services co-teaching model includes Anne Towey (Special Education); Sam Anzer (English) and Sarah Klieforth-Williams (English Language Development).

 

Kapushion and Director of Student Services Jenny Pilger also provided an overview to the board about several collaborative efforts that bring special education and gifted education students together. Family nights this fall, including a “Creativity Night,” have involved both groups of students.  

 

Kapushion also provided an update to the board on the district’s “Virtual Academy,” which allows students to take courses online. Most are students in eleventh and twelfth grades, she said, and feature such courses as French, Web Design, and Computer Programming that the high school doesn’t include in its regular offerings. It was a “great first semester,” said Kapushion, although it has become clear that more students need training on how to engage in the online learning model.

 

Mill Levy

As part of the consent agenda, the board approved the mill levy rate to be used for 2020 tax collections, raising over $10 million in revenue for the school district including voter-approved overrides.

 

Annual Financial Report

Randy Watkins, a partner at CPA firm ACM, presented the annual financial report, which captured the district’s overall strong financial health in all funds. Watkins thanked the district for its full cooperation through the auditing process.

 

CASB Conference

Superintendent Sandos thanked board members for their engaging in the Colorado Association of School Boards conference earlier in the month. 

 

Capstone

Christine Muldoon, Director of Culture, Equity, and Language, discussed the district’s efforts to meet new state graduation requirements, which include different ways for students to demonstrate their readiness for post-secondary education or the workplace. 

 

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