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Chronicle Parker Parker 10-18-2013 Douglas County, Colorado • Volume 11, Issue 51 October 18, 2013 A Colorado Community Media Publication School election: Big issues at stake Vouchers, pay protocol among controversial reform efforts By Jane Reuter The Douglas County School District is in the midst of what Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen recently called “the most rigorous transformation plan in American public education.” The arguments surrounding that effort are varied, some distinct to Douglas County and others similar to those surrounding education reform nationwide. That makes the Nov. 5 school board election — which could signal a shift in the school board’s direction — the focus of national attention. The race for four seats on the seven-member board features eight candidates, four favoring the board’s reform efforts and four looking for a change in direction. Controversy has surrounded almost ev- InsIde Turn to pages 10 and 11 for Q&As with the school board candidates and to page 12 for a look at some of the major issues.  ery step of the major educational reforms introduced by DCSD, starting with the voucher program in 2011. The many other reform pieces include a redesign of the teachers’ pay-for-performance system first introduced in 1993, and a market-based pay scale believed to be the first in the nation implemented at the K-12 level. District officials and reform supporters say Douglas County is leading the way, with programs and systems that will serve as a model for other districts across the country as the United States attempts to restore its academic record. The plans also give parents control and choice over their individual child’s education, a role reformers see as logical and appropriate. Some community members who see DCSD as a test case for the nation question the level of research behind and validity of Election continues on Page 30 developer proposes 140 homes Carousel Farms on track for rezoning, annexation By Chris Michlewicz Nathan Sheets, 15, of Parker, recounts the story of how he got severely burned during an ATV accident. Photos by Chris Michlewicz Burn victim takes recovery in stride Teenager from Parker attends healing camps By Chris Michlewicz Young males are known for getting banged up while living on the wild side. Nate Sheets might be their poster boy. Scrapes, bruises and the occasional broken bone are par for the course when coming of age. But three years ago, Sheets endured something most people hope they never have to: severe burns. Then 12 years old, he was riding an ATV when he took off awkwardly from a jump and landed in a heap. Sheets landed upside down with the machine on top of him. Worst of all, his left arm became wedged between the searing-hot oil cap and exhaust pipe. If not for his 14-year-old brother, who saw the accident and hauled the ATV off of him, it might have burned Sheets’ arm down to the bone. He didn’t cry or scream out in pain. There was no pain, in fact, because the metal that left a half-inch-deep brand on his flesh also burned the nerves. “He looked melted. I would say that’s a great way to put it,” says his mother, Brenda Walstrom, who received a texted photo and message asking if she wanted to meet at the emergency room. Despite the turmoil that might have ensued, Sheets took the aftermath in stride, cheerily greeting the doctors charged with cleaning the gravel and dirt-filled wound. But he knew he was lucky. Sheets hit his head, but did not suffer a concussion. He was wearing a helmet, something “everyone and their dog” asked him about following the crash, he says. He was also wearing goggles Nathan Sheets shows off the scar he got after an ATV landed on top of him, pinning his arm and inflicting third-degree burns that required two skin grafts. that caused a cut on his forehead and a black bruise on his eyelid. In typical adolescent fashion, he played up the injuries, telling stories of fending off a bear. Or when girls asked him, Sheets would say he “saved a bunch of kittens and babies from a burning building,” before revealing the real, less-flattering version of events. Sheets, now 15, went through five casts, two skin grafts and countless compression sleeves, and the burns took more than a year to heal. His lengthy recovery was aided by The Children’s Hospital, which not only treated Sheets, but invited him to a camp for young burn victims run by the Cheley organization. It was there that he swapped stories with kids who suffered burns over as much as 90 percent of their bodies. Sheets’ most recent trip was in late September to Washington, D.C., where he visited several national landmarks with 100 child burn victims from the U.S. and Canada. He received a special invitation from South Metro Fire Rescue Firefighter Lee Maulsby to attend the International Burn Camp, run by the International Association of Firefighters. Of course, trouble seems to find Sheets, or vice versa. During a winter camp for burn victims in Steamboat Springs, he tried out the trick park on a snowboard. On the third jump, he broke his wrist on the same arm that was burned. “It was the last day of camp at least,” says Sheets, who also admits to being back on an ATV within five months of the crash. Walstrom calls her son a “glass-halffull kind of guy,” with a penchant for danger — and a high pain tolerance. On a separate occasion, he nearly ripped a finger off his left hand with a homemade can crusher. Sheets laughs when his mom suggests that his left arm might pop off and run away, Addams Family-style. Her son has returned from the skate park with a massive knot on his forehead, and split his lip wide open twice. For all of his run-ins with the ground, Sheets shows no signs of disfigurement, with the exception of the third-degree burn scars on his arm. Walstrom might be slightly mentally scarred, as she is more hesitant to answer her phone these days for fear of what news she might receive. The latest in a series of housing proposals would add 140 homes on the west end of Parker. Parker Town Council approved the rezoning and annexation request for Carousel Farms on first reading at a meeting Oct. 7, and is expected to make a final decision during its 7 p.m. Oct. 21 meeting at town hall. Century Communities is planning to build 140 single-family homes on 40 acres on the north side of Mainstreet, just west of Bradbury Ranch. The three properties that would be developed were owned by separate holding companies. If approved, a portion of the land would be rezoned from agricultural use to residential use. Carousel Farms, with a proposed housing density of 3.5 dwelling units per acre, would connect via trail to Bradbury Ranch, and a 20- to 25-foot buffer would separate the neighborhoods. A representative for the Bradbury Ranch Homeowners’ Association said the organization would reserve comment on the development until after its Oct. 17 meeting. A greenbelt proposed as a neighborhood buffer was eliminated and a handful of lot sizes on the eastern side of Carousel Farms were enlarged because of concerns that the greenbelt might become “unmaintained, collect trash and become a safety issue,” according to an engineer’s report. “Though staff understands the intent of creating an open space buffer between the neighborhoods, we are concerned about the future of this space,” a representative from Peak Civil Consultants said. Small parks and greenbelts totaling eight acres would dot the subdivision, which will have street names like Wooden Horse Street, Galloper Avenue and Flying Horse Way. Vacant horse stables and equestrian riding arenas occupy the site. Because a school site is not located within Carousel Farms, a “school mitigation plan” has been included within the annexation contract, according to the neighborhood’s planned development Homes continues on Page 25 Printed on recycled newsprint. Please recycle this copy.

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