Douglas County School District Winter 2012
No Budget Cuts for 2013-2014 School Year Responsible fiscal management and improved revenue forecast place District on good financial footing Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen announced in November that there will be no budget cuts for the next school year. “We have reviewed the state revenue forecast, we have reviewed the Governor’s budget proposal and we have reviewed possible increased costs in the district for next year – like PERA, health insurance premiums, and fuel costs – and we have determined that given the stability and excellent fiscal health of our budget, we will be making no budget reductions for next year,” said Fagen. “This is great news for our students and our employees.” Following a difficult economic climate and five years of pay freezes and budget cuts, DCSD worked diligently last year to balance the budget and plan for the increased costs curve. Last year DCSD faced an $18 M budget deficit. The district constructed a budget package with three goals in mind: to prepare every student to compete on the world stage for any college or career of their choice; improve the quality of life for employees; and continue to improve the fiscal health of the district. “We were committed to ending years of pay freezes, reducing class sizes in our high schools, not cutting our elementary schools at all, holding our middle schools steady, and improving employee benefit packages – a seemingly impossible combination when we began,” continued Fagen. “We chose to scour every District budget line and simultaneously look closely at all contracts for reallocation possibilities.” As a result of budget work, DCSD reduced central budget lines by approximately $12 M, reduced $1.5 M from our high schools, reduced $2 M through contract negotiations and increased funding to middle and elementary schools. The District also provided all employees with a 3% compensation increase as well as increased benefits. “For the coming year, our goal is to continue to add money back to our schools by increasing site-based budget amounts across the board and to continue to give employee raises and one-time stipends (with one-time money) with any additional dollars we receive from the state,” said Fagen.
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Business leaders give DCSD a thumbs-up Castle Rock Economic Development Council supports Pay for Performance program The Castle Rock Economic Development Council (EDC) has endorsed the Douglas County School District Pay for Performance program.
The full text of the Castle Rock EDC resolution is as follows:
“We know excellent schools are one of the top reasons that companies choose to locate in Douglas County,” said Frank Gray, President, Castle Rock EDC. “We applaud DCSD for their ongoing commitment to excellence and we believe Pay for Performance will continue to improve our schools.”
Whereas, the Castle Rock EDC’s Board of Directors understands that the attraction and retention of primary businesses in a community is directly linked to the performance of the community’s school district; and
The DCSD Pay for Performance plan celebrates and rewards employees for outstanding work. “Our goal is to attract and retain the very best teachers and employees for our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen. “One of the reasons we are so confident in the effectiveness of this program is the number of great teachers already educating students in classrooms across our District.” “Douglas County schools are one of the best recruiting tools we have,” continued Gray. “Employers want to locate in a place with great schools and a great workforce. We are fortunate to have some of the best schools in Colorado and the country.”
Whereas, the Castle Rock EDC also understands that an educated workforce is essential to maintaining and growing our existing businesses; and Whereas, the Castle Rock EDC supports the fundamental principle of a compensation system that rewards excellence and encourages innovation; and Whereas, the Castle Rock EDC recognizes that leadership in making fundamental changes to an established system is difficult and often times unpopular; and
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Whereas, the Board of the Directors of the EDC applauds the Douglas County School District (DCSD) for its visionary and innovative efforts to make the DCSD a leader in education; and Whereas, the Castle Rock EDC recognizes that the recruitment and retention of outstanding educators is critical to the DCSD’s mission; Now Therefore, Be It Resolved by its Board of Directors that the Castle Rock Economic Development Council strongly supports the DCSD’s innovative and critically important move to a Pay for Performance model, in the belief that said model will improve the overall education experience for students in the District, as well as improving the prospects for Economic Development within the District.
Douglas County School District Winter 2012 A free publication for parents and residents of Douglas County, ‘Today’ is published in partnership with Colorado Community Media. Douglas County School District staff provides the articles, photos and graphics in an effort to keep the community informed with news about Douglas County Schools. Citizen comments about the publication are welcome. Colorado Community Media provides layout, sells advertisements, prints and distributes the publication at no cost to the school district.
To contact DCSD: Douglas County School District 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, CO 80104 (303) 387-0100 | www.dcsdk12.org
To advertise in ‘Today’ contact: Colorado Community Media | Jennie Herbert 303-566-4092 | email@example.com www.OurColoradoNews.com/advertise
Douglas County School District | (303) 387-0100
100 teachers help to build World-Class Targets CASTLE ROCK – While it’s hard to say what our founding fathers felt like when they were huddled in Independence Hall crafting the Declaration of Independence, it is possible that 100 Douglas County teachers may have gotten a taste last weekend. They gathered on their day off to build a document that heralds a new age in American education. Sure, they didn’t have to battle the stifling midsummer heat like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Hancock, but the work of defining the 12 World-Class Targets was not always comfortable. “In the afternoon it was hot, the sun was coming through those windows—we were sitting in the awful cafeteria chairs and we were sitting shoulder to shoulder,” said DCSD Curriculum Coordinator Jaime Bailey. The teachers debated and wrangled over the definitions of what a target like Teacher Leadership really means. They are setting a new, challenging bar for the best of the best teachers – those that do not stop at being highly effective. “I told them, ‘no one else in the country is doing this.’ That to me is exciting,” explained Bailey. She and other members of the World-Class Education and Choice Programming Department helped to coordinate the daylong summit during which teachers led the way. “We started with blank pieces of paper. We started with the definition; tell us the criteria you would use to measure this for a kindergarten teacher, a music teacher,” Bailey said. The teachers involved, including team lead and Chaparral Physical Education Teacher Tony Persichina, know Bailey’s team could have created the criteria for the 12 World-Class Targets. “I think that would have been the easy way of doing it,” said Persichina. “It definitely is not an easy
process… but it is for the betterment of our students.” It was clear that educators needed to set these expectations for themselves. “Who better to ask than the teachers in the trenches? Teachers felt they were being respected by being asked to be part of the work. They loved that it wasn’t just being done to them,” Bailey said. Persichina says being part of the process has helped him to better understand the large-scale change that the District is going through. “It felt like a closer step to clarity,” he said regarding the weekend workshop. “Being involved in it helps. I want to know the why. Just like a student. I want to know why.” Not only did the opportunity help him to ask those questions, but it provided him with the chance to give concrete feedback to make the targets better. “They want our input. They really want to hear from us.” The goal is to make the World-Class targets clearly defined and easy to understand for all teachers. “If I can see the target, I have a better chance at hitting it,” Bailey explained. Still, the teachers that took part in the process soon realized that it will be challenging for even the most effective teachers in the District to hit every target. In fact, the teachers affectionately began to refer to reaching the goals as a ‘holy cow’ sort of event. “If you are doing this, holy cow—you’re blowing my socks off,” Bailey explained. “There are some of our teachers that have some of these targets in their pocket, but there are other targets that they haven’t even thought of. While I might be the guru of sustainable learning and you might be the superstar of restorative practice, we will be a better World-Class educator when we add these other tools to our belt.”
In the end, the goal of setting the targets is to ensure all Douglas County students receive the best education. Bailey hopes every DCSD teacher will incorporate these twelve practices in their classroom, including backwards design, because they have been proven to improve teaching. This type of change does make some teachers uncomfortable. “I think anytime you implement change there is going to be a push back, because people don’t like change,” explained Persichina. “You have to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable. You know change is going to happen. You tell your students that change is going to happen. Feeling unsure is healthy.” “I know teachers are feeling disequilibrium. But disequilibrium is a good thing,” Bailey said. She says that change is needed in education, even in Douglas County, where test scores have stayed relatively flat. “While there are dynamite teachers in Douglas County, as a whole, the education system is broken,” Bailey said. The teachers are expected to meet again on January 12 to continue their work. Another 80 teachers will join them to begin defining the targets for employees that teach non-core subjects. Bailey acknowledges that the effort is a work in progress, but she is excited about where it will lead DCSD. “We may make missteps. We may have errors, but it’s still forward progress. How cool is that?” Bailey asked. “That is the biggest thing, knowing that my input and knowledge as an educator is valued, not only by your students, but also by your peers and your colleagues,” Persichina said.
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In Douglas County Nutrition Makes, Breaks by Janelle Jones
A candid interview with DCSD Nutrition Services Director Brent Craig regarding the role his department plays in the lives of Douglas County School District families.
“Food is more than mere sustenance; it fuels great thought and capability; it energizes and it comforts; it is a gift we should never take for granted.”
– Brent Craig, DCSD Nutrition Services Director How does participating in the “Chefs Move to Schools” program impact students? “When the opportunity to hire American Culinary Federation Certified Chef Jason Morse presented, we jumped,” explains Craig. While the national Chefs Move to Schools program holds tremendous promise, execution of such is unchartered territory. Craig has leveraged the services and “celebrity status” persona of DCSD’s Chef Jason to improve school lunch menus through collaborative efforts with Nutrition Services staff, recipe development (great tasting, low fat) and training and motivation for front-line kitchen personnel (Jason’s boot camps are becoming legendary). Additionally, he serves as host at special student contests, food demonstrations and tastings. Name a few ways Nutrition Services is responding to the needs of DCSD students? Harvest Bars: Long before it was fashionable or mandated, DCSD Nutrition Services was pushing the value of eating fresh fruits and veggies. Successful piloting of Harvest Bars in a few elementary and middle schools has led to a District-wide roll-out, with carts being financed by school PTOs. “Students literally flock to the bars at lunch-time…cramming their trays full of fresh produce,” said Craig.
Pine Lane Elementary Principal Danelle Hiatt with Banana Man and DCSD Nutrition Services Director Brent Craig at a recent Fruits & Veggies Challenge Tasting.
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My 5 year-old decided to try school lunch Monday. He’s usually quite reluctant to try new things. Yet, he’s proclaimed school lunch ‘AWESOME’ and wants to eat ‘school food’ every day. He even wants me to volunteer in the lunch area to see how to cook new things. — Parent Kim Chappler to DCSD Nutrition Services
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Nutrition Breaks: The Nutrition Services team believes its next pilot program, Nutrition Breaks, will eventually be as popular as Harvest Bars. No school district is immune to the impacts of our challenged economy. Busy lifestyles have taken a toll on student nutrition. DCSD’s free and reduced population is growing; and our overall student population is showing signs of inadequate nutrition. Elementary school educators lament, “Students seem to fade mid-morning.” A pilot of Nutrition Breaks is now underway in twelve elementary schools providing delicious mid-morning, energy-boosters such as yogurt parfaits, DCSD signature nut-free granola bars and fresh baked banana muffins. Early response to the program is promising. “This program roll-out has the potential to reach all 53 elementary schools and serve approximately 20,000 students daily,” said Craig.
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Douglas County School District (DCSD) Nutrition Services operates as a self-sustaining profitable enterprise to offer nutritious, appealing meals and ala carte food items to DCSD students and personnel while supporting the DCSD community with resources which promote optimum learning and wellness.
Douglas County School District | (303) 387-0100
Excellence in DCSD Technology Teacher of the Year
PE Teacher of the Year
Legend High School Teacher Debbie Tawzer recently received the Technology Teacher of the Year Apex Award from the Colorado Technology Association (CTA).
Castle View teacher and head strength coach Patrick McHenry was named the High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Colorado Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (COAHPERD) during an award ceremony on October 19 in Loveland.
“This award recognizes Debbie Tawzer’s efforts, passion and the enormous impact she has in expanding her students’ knowledge and interest in technology,” said Kristin Pegg, Career and Technical Education Coordinator for Douglas County Schools.
Kyler Dunkle Wins Top Golf Honors Douglas County High School Junior Kyler Dunkle captured the 5A Colorado State High School individual golf championship on October 2.
ThunderRidge football makes 5A semifinal The ThunderRidge football team made it all the way to the 5A State Semifinal game, which turned out to be a match up between two Highlands Ranch titans. The Grizzlies faced Valor Christian, which went on to win the 5A State Championship, after defeating ThunderRidge.
Schools make impression at Dance Competition Several teams won their divisions during the Universal Dance Assn.’s Mile High Dance Competition on November 17, including Chaparral, Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon High Schools, as well as Cresthill Middle School.
Ponderosa senior selected as 4A Runner of the Year
Mountain Vista wins 5A Boys Cross Country Championship
Ponderosa High School Senior Eli Hemming was named to the All-Colorado Cross Country Team in November and earned the honor 2012 Class 4A Runner of the Year. Hemming won the 4A State Cross Country Championship on Saturday October 27 in Colorado Springs.
The Mountain Vista High School Golden Eagles soared to victory in the 5A Boys Cross Country finals. This is the first-ever state championship for a boys’ team at Mountain Vista.
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8 Visit www.dcsdk12.org/today to read full stories about the topics in Today 5
Three months in, Douglas County It took years of sweat and a few tears to move the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Outdoor Education Center from concept to this year’s ribbon cutting ceremony. The Douglas County Commissioners purchased the Emily Griffith Opportunity Center outside of Larkspur in 2011, with a vision of entering into a partnership with DCSD to provide students with the opportunity for local outdoor education. The partnership also provides future access to Rampart Range in the Pike National Forest. As donated by our county to DCSD, the property consists of 15 structures on 99 acres in southwestern Douglas County.
Outdoor Education Center
“The land makes for an absolute gem of a campus for any education-based outdoor activity. A stream runs through acres of wetlands, while towering pine trees surround cabins. All of it provides an escape for students so they can engage in a type of learning that a textbook could never provide, within an environment you cannot simulate in the classroom,” said DCSD Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen. The focus of the DCSD Outdoor Education Center is to provide students with opportunities for personal growth by enabling them to “step out of their comfort zones.” The foundational approach of the Center’s “Challenge by Choice” program encourages middle schoolers and adult staff to do something they may initially fear, while understanding they are in a safe and trusting environment. For example, the valuable life-lesson of refusing to give in to peer pressure might be one of the toughest, yet most significant skills a student can learn. Opportunities for this important milestone are often present during the DCSD outdoor education experience. “We knew they were going to be outside, but we didn’t anticipate how profound the experience would be… we’re witnessing how learning outdoors comes alive. Students are taking back so much from this experience,” said Denny Ingram, DCSD
Douglas County School District | (303) 387-0100
We’re witnessing how learning outdoors comes alive. Students are taking back so much from this experience. Denny Ingram DCSD Outdoor Education Center Principal
is Changing Lives
Outdoor Education Center Principal. “From the biosphere to animal tracking, to seeing all the wildlife, going down to the stream, checking the health of the water and finding macro invertebrates… all of it becomes so real. It is not just something they are learning; it is an overall experience and sense of accomplishment.” A teacher whose class recently attended the DCSD Outdoor Education Center program noted, “This is an amazing learning opportunity for the students. The organization is thorough and meaningful. The four C’s (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication) are apparent in all the learning activities from the flag-raising to the campfire. The significance of these events will be long-lasting.” The Center encourages students to try activities they never thought possible, wherein success is realized simply by taking on a new challenge. The life-skill “take-away” for students is to apply their new-found sense of empowerment in their daily life, both inside and outside the classroom. The best example of “Challenge by Choice” might be on the ropes of the zip-line towering over a large part of the Center’s campus. “The most moving moment for me was when we had our first student in a wheelchair. We harnessed him up and zipped him across. The look on his face was sheer panic. But the second time he did it, he had an ear-to-ear grin. It may have been the first opportunity in his life to feel restrictions-free,” Ingram said. Nearly 700 students in eight DCSD schools attended the DCSD Outdoor Education Center this fall. Ingram anticipates an additional 800 students will attend when classes resume in April. Many more schools have booked visits for 2013-14. For more information, contact Principal Denny Ingram at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Students pledge to
‘Be the Change’ and stop bullying
Many of us are familiar with physical bullying on school grounds. One imposing student took a swing at another who ‘didn’t fit in’ with the crowd and couldn’t defend himself. There was the time a student called a kid fat while harassing him throughout the day, even on the bus ride home. The day when a student bothered another classmate incessantly about the way they dressed or even their sexuality. Adults who lived through bullying in their childhood recall bullying typically coming to an end when they got home from school. However, with the increased use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, school
relationships and bullying actions now continue well after the final bell of the day. Bullying is no longer exclusive to school grounds or the bus. It happens during all hours of the day and even within a student’s home, according to DCSD Student Wellness Coordinator Staci McCormack. “Bullying used to be very physical and verbal. It was in our face and we could see it. While we still see bullying like that, it’s becoming relational,” McCormack said. “Whether in person or online, it’s not just kids being kids. It’s not just a rite of passage that we’d talk meanly about other people. It’s a form of bullying.”
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With that framework, DCSD’s Student Wellness team created a variety of different initiatives and programs, including “Be the Change,” a seminar built for freshmen at every high school. Over 90 minutes, the seminar guides students through conversations in which they define bullying and discuss ways in which they have seen bullying happen as bystanders. “It’s a humbling experience,” said Legend High School freshman Charli Dickman, who acknowledged the seminar opened her eyes to the times when she, perhaps, was the bully herself. “Legend is like a family, and we want to act like a family and be nice to each other. If I could treat other students like they were my brothers and sisters, then it would be easier to treat them with more respect,” Dickman said. When the seminar concludes, students share messages of hope and encouragement upon post-it notes, which they place on a poster in their high school’s main hallway. The poster reminds students of their pledges to be the change, whether it is ending their bullying ways or standing up for someone who would not otherwise have a voice as a victim. “When I sit with those freshmen and talk to them about their own heartache, they are ready for change. We need to tap into them to make the change happen for all of us,” McCormack said. “I’m extremely hopeful when I see those kids step up.” For a list of resources assisting families and students with information about bullying, please visit the DCSD Student Wellness page. https://ucmprod.dcsdk12.org/ dcsd/studentwellness/studentwellnesstopic/index.htm
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With the passage of Colorado House Bill 11-1254, schools were required to adopt a framework crafted with the intent of reducing the frequency of bullying in schools and within school relationships. While much of that framework was already in place within the DCSD, the legislation gives all Colorado schools a guideline to follow to create a safer environment for all students, no matter which district or school they attend.
If you see any threatening behavior or suspect a friend may be contemplating suicide, you can report it anonymously on the Colorado Safe2Tell website. http:// safe2tell.org/ For teacher resources about stopping bullying, visit the Stop Bullying website. http://www.stopbullying.gov/
Douglas County School District | (303) 387-0100
Visit the DCSD newsroom at www.dcsdk12.org/ communityrelations/newsroom.
Early Childhood Council works to make Douglas County the place to raise young children
Newsline features stories and important announcements about students, staff, and great events. www.dcsdk12.org/communityrelations/newsline.
A child’s early learning experiences help shape the way they grow and thrive as they move through early childhood, elementary school, and into their adolescent and adult years. The Douglas County Early Childhood Council (DCECC) is dedicated to working with local agencies, businesses and individuals to help make Douglas County the best county to raise young children.
Traditions (Front Page Videos)
As an early childhood council, DCECC’s role is to:
Let’s Talk Education Radio Show
• Build and support partnerships with community agencies and organizations that serve families with young children, prenatal to age 8.
DCSD Mobile App
The DCSD app provides news, sports scores, lunch menus, calendar information and much, much more. Find it in the iTunes and Droid stores.
On the front page of the website, visit the collection of videos highlighting DCSD’s best stories representing Excellence, Innovation, Efficiency or Safety. Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen hosts a weekly radio show that focuses on the achievements and work of the Douglas County School District every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on CastleRockRadio.com.
Channel 54: DougTV
Comcast Channel 54 , also known as DougTV. DougTV exclusively features DCSD programming, including video versions of Let’s Talk Education, sports events, and more.
• Provide helpful resource information to families to connect them to the services and support they need. • Promote and support high quality learning opportunities for adults who work with young children.
• Support the overall health and emotional wellbeing of young children. DCECC’s community projects include: the Journey to Kindergarten, Healthy Beginnings mental health consultation project, Touchpoints training, and Expanding Quality for Infant and Toddlers (EQIT) training. DCECC’s annual “Early Childhood Adventure,” to be held at The Wildlife Experience on March 2, 2013, will offer families with young children a chance to get out of the cold and enjoy some fun play activities including a puppet show and art projects. A resource fair helps parents learn about services and programs available in Douglas County. DCECC has many local community members who are interested in improving early childhood services in Douglas County. For more information or to join DCECC, please go to: www.dcearlychildhood.org or contact Sandy Gregory at (720) 560-7300.
Week In Review
Week in Review highlights the most interesting and fun DCSD events. On Facebook and You Tube, you can also find previous episodes on the DCSD website: www.dcsdk12.org/communityrelations/weekinreview.
DCSD on You Tube
View the growing collection of DCSD videos on www. youtube.com/user/DougCoSchools/featured.
Han W. Lee 2 Times Olympian 2000 US Olympic Coach
Join DCSD leaders for regular Telephone Townhall events: www.dcsdk12.org/communityrelations/ telephonetownhall.
Board Briefings provide a recap of Board meetings, a summary of action items, recognitions, and audio: www.dcsdk12.org/boardofeducation/boardbriefing.
Facebook Follow DCSD on www.facebook.com/dcsdk12.
Follow DCSD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dcsdk12.
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Journey to Kindergarten paves way to life-long success Starting kindergarten is one of the biggest milestones in a young child’s life. The Journey to Kindergarten (J2K) is a quick and easy reference that will provide important information about the skills and experiences that are necessary to prepare a young child for school success. It also gives parents and caregivers the peace of mind to know that they are doing just the right things to promote their child’s learning in a fun and interactive way.
2) Each child is unique and learns at his/her own pace.
A community partnership was envisioned and formed by the Douglas County Early Childhood Council, the Douglas County Libraries, and the Douglas County School District with grant monies generously donated by the Temple Buell Foundation. Kerry Goudy, early childhood consultant and president of The Toudalou Company, was appointed to serve as project director for J2K. She assembled a project team of early childhood experts from Douglas County including the early childhood council, DCSD (pre-school teachers, kindergarten teachers, elementary school principal), library, health department, mental health network, and community members.
5) The parent is the child’s first teacher and the child’s home is where learning begins.
The main beliefs behind the development of J2K are: 1) It is a priority to prepare every young child for school success.
3) The use of a “common language” regarding kindergarten readiness promotes community alignment and consistency in preparing young children for school success. 4) “Play” stimulates a child’s curiosity, creativity and intellect and provides important learning opportunities.
After conducting extensive research, a framework emerged for J2K that uses five important domain areas in school readiness: • Language and Literacy (express ideas, listen, read and write) • Math and Science (learn about numbers, patterns and space) • Social Skills and Relationships (build selfconfidence, self-control and get along with others) • Approaches to Learning (build interest, enthusiasm, curiosity and creativity) • Health and Wellness (develop a healthy mind and body for a lifetime).
It is time to join the DCSD family Open Enrollment Though January 7
January 22-26 Early Childhood Center North
Opportunity to enroll in a school outside of your boundary school
8200 Park Meadows Drive Suite 204, Lone Tree
Preschool January 15-26
Kindergarten Enrollment January 7-11
For kids three to five years old
Eligible children must be five years of age by October 1, 2013
January 15-19 Early Childhood Center South 3950 Trail Boss Lane, Castle Rock
More information is available at DCSDK12.org
Important skills for each domain were summarized into an easy-to-read format with associated fun and interactive activity suggestions for children. J2K is not a readiness checklist or assessment but rather a guide for the journey of learning that begins when a baby is born and continues thoughout one’s lifetime. Parents, grandparents, early care providers and librarians are encouraged to learn more about The Journey to Kindergarten. Parents can visit dcearlychildhood.org and can select “Journey to Kindergarten” from the menu bar to try some of the fun and interactive activities with your young children.
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Douglas County School District | (303) 387-0100
Authorization clears the way for K-12 IB experience It is something that was planned even before construction began on Mesa Middle School. Now there is a giant sign on the school announcing that the staff and students have achieved their goal—Mesa is Douglas County’s first International Baccalaureate middle school.
IB coordinator. We spent a lot of [in-service] days in vertical articulation and ensuring that there is a logical scope and sequence as kids travel throughout the program.”
In July, Mesa and its partner, Douglas County High School (DCHS), learned that they had received authorization to offer the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) to the schools’ seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth-graders.
The two schools worked closely to fill out the voluminous amounts of paper work required and then to prepare teachers at both locations for the change.
“We’ve spent a lot of time, both at the administrative level and at the teacher level, building relationships [between the schools], added Jordi Owens, Mesa’s
“What we love about the MYP program is that it mimics all of the initiatives that the District is using right now in our change efforts, to bring our District into 21st-century learning. We have it all in one package deal,” Holland said. “For our teachers it has been a really powerful experience, because they’ve become World-Class teachers through this process and through this learning,” Owens added. “IB requires that they backwards design their units and that they use an inquiry approach. So we are approaching the classroom as facilitators of learning and we’re developing real world authentic assessments for our kids. Our teachers have shifted to really caring about application in our students, so it’s no longer about the knowledge, it’s about what our students can do with their knowledge.”
It was a natural partnership since it was an extension of what DCHS has been offering for more than a decade. The school has offered IB’s Diploma Program (DP), which is only for high school juniors and seniors, since 1998.
“Really it’s been a five-year journey,” explained DCHS Assistant Principal and MYP Coordinator Carla Holland.
like backwards design.
The transition also ties perfectly to the DCSD’s Strategic Plan. IB, like DCSD, focuses on providing students a World-Class education, while ensuring that teachers prepare for their lessons through practices
The best part about Mesa’s addition to the IB network is Douglas County students can now choose to be in the IB program from elementary school until the day they graduate. In fact, Rock Ridge and South Ridge Elementary Schools, and especially Douglas County High School, have worked closely with Mesa to ensure that students’ experiences in the program are seamless from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
On the horizon... These are just a few of the projects we are working on for upcoming editions of your award-winning Douglas County newspapers. For more information on advertising your business in one of these upcoming special sections, contact Barb Stolte: Phone: 303-566-4113 Email: bstolte@OurColoradoNews.com
Douglas County Guide New Year New You
Salute! Valentine’s Day
Camp Guide Douglas County Schools ‘Today’ Easter Worship Senior Living St. Patrick’s Day
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Turbine to help capture the
power of the wind As one of the oldest schools in Douglas County, Cherry Valley Elementary has seen a lot of change in its more than 100 years. The school, where kids once rode to class on horseback, recently received a new piece of cutting-edge technology that will help the school save money and teach students about renewable energy.
Prior to the installation of the turbine, students from Colorado State University studied the area’s potential for wind energy production by planting anemometers. Only a few schools in the District have enough wind to make a wind turbine feasible, including Ponderosa High School, where a turbine was built a couple of years ago.
Last month, a $20,000 wind turbine was erected at the school, thanks to a grant from Wind for Schools and Southwest Wind Power. The turbine is expected to produce up to 12 percent of the school’s energy, helping to reduce the District’s electricity bill.
The new turbine fits nicely with the work already being done by Cherry Valley students. As part of the District’s energy sustainability efforts, kids have been keeping an eye on student and staff habits, encouraging them to turn off computers, appliances and everything else when they’re not in use. “We’re all about saving our electricity,” Harrell said.
“If we can lessen our burden on the school district, we’re always looking for ways to do that,” said Cherry Valley Principal Mark Harrell.
DCSD Sustainability Coordinator Chantel Astler says the turbine also opens more opportunities for learning about our energy options.
Gusty winds at the school made it an ideal choice.
“It starts from the basic understanding for kids that moving air has energy. We can capture it, change it into electrical energy, then use it to power our schools,” Astler explained. “By having a turbine on site, it helps students understand the abstract idea of how wind energy works.”
“It sometimes blows like crazy,” Harrell said.
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