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A St. Vrain Valley Schools Publication | 2016-2017

Police Officer Mayor

App Developer

Electrical Engineer

Scientific Researcher

Doctor

Teacher

Architect Nurse

THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMUNITY AND COUNTRY

The community of St. Vrain Valley Schools — students, teachers, businesses, staff and families — is proving that public education can be the catalyst to a thriving community and a promising future.

Firefighter

In this issue:

HOMEGROWN BRILLIANCE

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FOUNDATIONS FOR SUCCESS

PAGE 13

TRANSFORMED

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ST. VRAINNOVATION was produced in-house by St. Vrain Valley Schools’ Department of Communications. Funding for printing and distribution supported by:

Table of Contents 1

Reinventing the Toolbox

11

Environments that Inspire

13

Foundations for Success

15

A Month in St. Vrain

Sixth grader shows how St. Vrain Valley Schools’ voter-approved technology investments are paying off for students and teachers alike.

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Investing in Our Future Public education transforms communities.

Damon Brown Executive Director of Communications brown_samuel@svvsd.org

What it takes to maintain a district of 32,000 students across 13 communities.

Theresa Jennings Marketing and Communications Coordinator jennings_theresa@svvsd.org

Kerri McDermid

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Homegrown Brilliance

Communications Manager

These four people are doing amazing things

mcdermid_kerri@svvsd.org

with their lives. And they have one thing in common: they are all products of St. Vrain

Jeffrey Sylvester Communications, Design and Production Technician sylvester_jeffrey@svvsd.org

Matthew Wiggins Director of Communications wiggins_matthew@svvsd.org

Special Contributors: David Port, Writer, Southpaw Communications Rebecca Vincent, Intern, St. Vrain Valley Schools

Valley Schools.

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Class Acts Meet some of the teachers who make St. Vrain shine.


From the Publisher 21

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TransformED

Dear St. Vrain Valley Community, Welcome to ST. VRAINNOVATION, a new publication celebrating the impact of education in our community. Public education has one of the most significant roles in the advancement of our nation. To ensure the success of our children, our economy and our future, it is essential that we prepare students to meet the challenges they will face in a highly complex world.

Parental Leadership Opportunities abound for parents to offer leadership, support and input across our school district.

I appreciate your continued support in advancing the achievement and success of our students, teachers, staff and community. Together, we are building a stronger future for our children and our country.

Sincerely,

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Collaboration Across Our Community

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Special Programs

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Financial Reporting

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School Directory

Don Haddad, Ed.D. Superintendent, St. Vrain Valley Schools @SVVSDSupt


Reinventing the Toolbox Sixth grader shows how St. Vrain Valley Schools’ voter-approved technology investments are paying off for students and teachers alike. by DAVID PORT

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fun” as a result of the tech tools he and kids throughout St. Vrain get to use both inside puter code to program a robot. He has the classroom and out. helped produce a commercial. He has even Among Abel’s favorite sixth-grade projdeveloped his own plan to save the endan- ects was one in which he and a classmate gered giant panda. And he has done it all as developed an imaginary island in social a sixth grader. studies. Then, for the language arts comAbel, a student at Trail Ridge Middle ponent of the project, he used the iMovie School in Longmont, is too young to have app to produce a commercial to promote experienced what school was like before the island. But the one he says he liked best computers and the internet changed every- involved writing computer code to control thing. But he says learning “is way more a miniature rolling robot called Sphero as part of a science, technology, engineering and math Taking Technology Seriously (STEM) project about A look at what makes St. Vrain Valley Schools a endangered species. “It was leader in tech-enabled learning: really cool to see the different ideas kids had to save A 1:1 school district. By August 2016 all middle animals,” Abel says. school and high school students will be assigned an Abel, his classmates and Apple iPad mini. their teachers have access to learning tools like iPad 20,000+ iPad minis and 10,000+ Google minis and Spheros thanks to Chromebooks will be in use in district classrooms by grants and voters across the fall 2016, along with 8,300 Mac desktop and laptop school district who in 2012 computers, plus 2,000 Windows desktop and laptop approved a measure to give computers. St. Vrain the means to invest more in technology. Now, All high school level teachers are issued iPad minis. almost four years later, students and teachers alike are At the elementary level, all teachers will be issued an armed with a whole new iPad mini by the end of the 2016-2017 school year; set of tech tools. From 3-D all elementary classrooms will receive a set of iPad printers to programming minis by 2018. software to, yes, robots, classrooms are seeing clear

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T HAS BEEN A BUSY YEAR FOR ABEL JIMENEZ. He has written com-

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benefits from the district’s Learning Technology Plan. “Incorporating technology into daily lessons has increased student engagement and allowed my students to problem solve and troubleshoot while sharing their learning,” observes Erin Elsen, who teaches sixth grade language arts at Trail Ridge. “And as an educator, it is great, too, because it has reinvigorated me as a teacher, challenging me to discover new ways to teach lessons that build foundational skills, but in a more engaging and meaningful way. Technology also provides access to vocabulary and auditory support within the digital materials. This helps all readers access rigorous curriculum and discuss challenging texts in and out of the classroom.” While tech tools are nice to have, the real impact comes in integrating those tools with the blended learning philosophy that schools across St. Vrain follow. Blended learning combines supervised learning in the classroom with online instruction, allowing students to choose their learning place, pace and path. It relies on a multidis-


By the Numbers DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY

743,132

ASSIGNMENTS TURNED IN DIGITALLY VIA SCHOOLOGY, ST. VRAIN’S LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

542,637

FILES UPLOADED TO SCHOOLOGY, ST. VRAIN’S LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

230,000

MANAGED LICENSES FOR IPAD MINI LEARNING APPS WITH OUR MOBILE DEVICE MANAGER

41,300

TABLETS AND COMPUTERS IN USE ACROSS THE DISTRICT

Abel Jimenez demonstrating available learning technologies at Trail Ridge Middle School. Photo by Kerri McDermid

ciplinary approach, explains Elsen, where students like Abel get to tackle projects that integrate elements of various subjects, from language arts to social studies to science. One reason the tech-empowered blended learning approach used across St. Vrain is resonating at Trail Ridge, she says, is because access to digital and online learning resources gives students greater

freedom to work at their own pace, take their own path of discovery and incorporate their individual learning styles. “Tech-based assessment resources such as iReady, discussion posts and writing projects, enable me to determine students’ strengths and needs. I have created menus of knowledge-level tasks, so students can work independently. Meanwhile, I meet with small groups for

0.50%

LOSS RATE IN IPAD MINIS ASSIGNED TO STUDENTS

focused reading and writing instruction.” With personalized attention like that, augmented by the tech tools he gets at school and his own ingenuity, who knows what cool stuff Abel Jimenez will produce as a seventh grader. How far will it carry him toward his dream of someday becoming a chemical engineer?

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Investing in Our Future Public Education Transforms Communities by KERRI MCDERMID

Of the 55 million K-12 aged children in the United States, approximately 90 percent attend a public school.

Lyons Middle/Senior High School is a pillar of the Lyons community. Photo by Kerri McDermid

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“OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL GROWS THE GREATNESS OF A NATION.” These famous words

from Mark Twain’s 1900 “I am a Boxer” speech still carry significant weight 116 years later. It is widely accepted that quality education is important for the future success of our children, but many may not realize the crucial role public schools play in the growth, safety, health and well-being of our society. Of the 55 million K-12 aged children in the United States, approximately 90 percent attend a public school.1 For those living in one of the 13 communities in the St. Vrain Valley, public education accounts for 97 percent of our students whose skills, knowledge and drive will shape the future. High-quality schools provide a return on services

valued in great excess to their funding.2 As a region’s quality and level of education increases, productivity, income, social stability and economic development also rise, while crime rates, health care dependence and public service costs decrease substantially.3,4,5 When calculating the public benefits of education in terms of high school graduation rates, the net economic benefit to the public is $127,000 per high school graduate.6 For the approximately 2,000 students who graduated from a St. Vrain high school in 2016, the lifetime positive economic impact on public funds (higher tax revenues and lower expenditures on health care, crime and welfare) puts an additional $254 million into our communities.

When calculating the public benefits of education in terms of high school graduation rates, the net economic benefit to the public is $127,000 per high school graduate.

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Public Education Drives Economic future pipeline of talent. The availability of age, 9.2 years longer than those without a Development a skilled workforce allows their business to high school diploma. Years of education Research shows that over the past 40 years, grow and prosper within a community or correlate with increased incomes, better the rate of educational achievement strongly region well into the future.” jobs, access to health care resources and predicts economic growth across the United increased awareness of behavioral choices States. The U.S. gross domestic product Education Enhances Public Safety that impact health.9 For example, women (GDP) — a significant marker of economic and Community Health who enroll in college and complete at least performance — would increase by $32 - $76 Increased wages, worker productivity and two years reduce their rate of smoking trillion over the next several decades with business development are not the only ways during pregnancy by 5.8 percent.10 moderate increases in student achievement.4 public education has a direct impact on In addition to decreased health care costs Early investments in learning are very community well-being. and increased well-being, greater education effective and play “ A q u a l i t y attainment also reduces costs of public assisa critical role in local school dis- tance and welfare. High school graduates A five percent increase in high improving the trict is critical to have a lower probability of receiving temschool graduation rates would skill levels of a region’s pos- porary government assistance by 40 percent produce an annual savings of $5 American workitive economic and food stamps by 19 percent. When some 7 e r s . S t u d i e s billion in crime-related expenses. growth because level of college education is factored in, govhave shown that it also addresses ernment assistance decreases by 62 percent investments in other key decision and food stamps by 54 percent. education lead to a diverse and skilled work- drivers for community health and developforce that increase median wages, boost ment,” says Erickson. “Executives are not St. Vrain is Advancing worker productivity and play an essential only making decisions about where it makes Northern Colorado function in continued economic develop- sense to put their business, but where they Public education is not only the bedrock on ment.5 want to live and raise their families.” which our country is built, it also provides In Colorado — a state already experiencIn addition to providing growth oppor- the raw materials to fuel growth right here ing faster than average economic growth tunities for students and businesses, the in Northern Colorado. — small gains in education and student quality of a public school district can have a “The work St. Vrain Valley Schools is achievement could increase the state’s GDP significant impact on public safety. Although doing to prepare students to become future by $832 billion over the next 80 years.4 incarceration rates employees, busi“Colorado’s economy has been grow- are comprised of ness owners High school graduates live, ing for seven years and the Front Range less than 20 perand community on average, 9.2 years longer — in particular, the northern Front Range cent of the U.S. leaders — alongthan those without a — has been growing the fastest,” says Natalie population, over 50 side the national high school diploma. Mullis, Chief Economist, Colorado Legisla- percent of inmates recognition they tive Council. “Much of this growth is due do not have a high have received — 6 to our highly skilled workforce and very school diploma. It helps give our diverse economy with strengths in many is estimated that a five percent increase in community a reputation that it is responsive sectors of manufacturing, energy, financial high school graduation rates would produce to the needs of businesses on every level,” services, technology, tourism and more.” an annual savings of $5 billion in crime-re- said Erickson. “It is a great conversation Jessica Erickson, President/CEO of lated expenses nationally and states with a starter when talking about why businesses the Longmont Economic Development higher proportion of residents with high should invest in the area.” Partnership, echoes the importance of school diplomas have lower than average As the educational hub for the state’s 8 workforce on economic development. violent crime rates. fastest-growing economic region, St. Vrain “Businesses are considering locations that Education also factors into community Valley Schools, is using rigorous academcan show they have the ability to provide a health. High school graduates live, on aver- ics, technology, innovation and focused

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learning opportunities to enhance student achievement, increase graduation rates, ensure workforce diversity and emphasize 21st century skills that support economic growth.

St. Vrain Valley Schools is at the center of Colorado’s region with the fastest economic growth and is growing by an additional 800-1,000 students per year. “Education and workforce is one of the primary areas of focus in the Advance Longmont strategic plan,” says Erickson. “What St. Vrain is doing through their specialized STEM programming, industry partnerships at the Innovation Center, newly launched P-TECH school and their creative pursuit of additional resources for students is absolutely critical to our ability to achieve our community’s goals.”

1

National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Back to School Sta-

tistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372. 2

Bogart, W.T. & Cromwell, B.A. (1997). How much more is a good

school district worth? National Tax Journal, 50:2, 215-232. 3

Greenstone, M., et al. (2012). A Dozen Economic Facts About K-12

Education. The Hamilton Project. 4

Hanushek, E.A., Ruhose, J., & Woessmann, L. (2015). Economic Gains

for U.S. States from Education Reform, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 21770. 5

Berger, N. & Fisher, P. (2013). A Well-Educated Workforce is Key to

State Prosperity. Economic Analysis and Research Network. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/publication/states-education-productivity-growth-foundations. 6

Levin, H.M., et. al. (2007). The costs and benefits of an excellent edu-

cation for all of America’s children. Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education (CBCSE), Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. 7

Justice Policy Institute. (2007). Education and Public Safety. http://

www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/07-08_rep_educationandpublicsafety_ps-ac.pdf. 9

For home buyers, the quality of a local school district can play a significant role in their decision to purchase a home, influencing home values in communities with high-achieving neighborhood schools. A report by the National Association of Realtors on Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends shows that the fourth-most important factor influencing decisions for home buyers was the quality of the local school district. “When looking at home prices, there are many factors that play into value - style, size, age and amenities. It can be very buyer-dependent,” said Chris Johnston, Assistant Director of the Everitt Real Estate Center at Colorado State University (CSU). In the Everitt Real Estate Center’s 2016 Residential and Commercial Real Estate Forecast presented last December, housing prices in Longmont were expected to rise from a median price of $321,000 to $345,000, or an expected increase of almost 7.5 percent. The Everitt Real Estate Center in CSU’s College of Business hosts its Annual Market Forecast before the start of each new year, and delves into both the residential and commercial forecasts for Northern Colorado markets. “One thing that is constant is that the quality of the local school is highly valued,” said Johnston. “I have seen studies that show that houses associated with higher quality schools demand a higher premium price and that premium can be substantially large.” For many, it is clear that the quality of public education in the St. Vrain Valley is having a significant impact on home values and the local real estate market. “The St. Vrain Valley is very fortunate that we have a school district decorated with many awards for administration, teachers and programs. As a result, we have been able to sustain one of the best real estate markets in the country with stable and/or rising real estate prices,” said Commercial Realtor, Keith Kanemoto. “St. Vrain Valley Schools is a foundation to area business and job creation, individual and family growth, and a quality of life that continues to attract new neighbors to the Valley.”

Heckman, J.J. (2000). Policies to foster human capital. Research in

Economics, 54, 3-56. 8

Quality Neighborhood Schools Increase Home Values

Center on Society and Health. (2015). Why Education Matters to

Health: Exploring the Causes. Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved from: http://societyhealth.vcu.edu/work/the-projects/whyeducation-matters-to-health-exploring-the-causes.html. 10

Feinstein, L., et al. (2006). What are the effects of education on

health?, Measuring the Effects of Education on Health and Civic

“St. Vrain Valley Schools is a foundation to area business and job creation, individual and family growth, and a quality of life that continues to attract new neighbors to the Valley.” Keith Kanemoto Longmont Commercial Realtor

Engagement: Proceedings of the Copenhagen Symposium, OECD.

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Homegrown Brilliance These four people are doing amazing things with their lives. And they have one thing in common: they are all products of St. Vrain Valley Schools. by DAVID PORT

2016 Silver Creek High School graduates. Photo by Kerri McDermid

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Y

OU CAN FIND THEM IN JUST ABOUT EVERY TOWN OR SCHOOL DISTRICT: a

celebrity or quasi-celebrity whom people identify with their hometown or a school they once attended — someone they knew, or knew of, before they “made it big.” St. Vrain Valley Schools can name-drop the likes of ESPN sports reporter Ed Werder, a Longmont High alumnus; comedian Kristen Schaal from HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, who attended Skyline High School; Longmont High graduate Kimiko Hirai-Soldati, a former Olympic diver; and Vance Brand, also a Longmont High alumnus who flew four space missions for NASA, to name a few. Then there are the people you may not see on TV or hear about on the news — the many St. Vrain alumni who are using their education as a springboard to do outstanding things with their lives and in their communities. Let us meet a few who warrant celebrating, even if they have not reached celebrity status (yet).

Brian Adolf, Longmont High School Class of 1998 The first thing Brian Adolf makes clear is that his employer, a Google spin-off known simply as X, has a policy that forbids him from discussing “the secret, early-stage projects” on which he is working. The second thing that becomes evident in talking with the engineer Adolf, 36, is how much he loves the work he cannot discuss. “I am having a lot of fun. I am part of a team that is working on ‘moonshots’ — problems that are very, very hard to solve — by thinking about things in a radically different way. The idea is to change a lot of peoples’ lives.” One of the moonshots Adolf recently worked on at X was a self-driving automobile. Before that, the University of California, Berkeley graduate, who lives Brian Adolf in Silicon Valley with his wife and child, applied his multi-disciplinary design engineering skills in such areas as medical device and software development. Adolf points to the experience he gained as a stu-

dent at Longs Peak Middle School and Longmont High, including independent study at St. Vrain’s Career Development Center, for putting him on that path. “The independent work exposed me to so many different areas of technology to see where they might lead. It is probably why I became an engineer… It left me with the impression that if you are ambitious and excelling in a certain area, the teachers and the administration will take the time to develop learning opportunities that allow you to follow your passion. Rather than squelching my ambitions, they supported them.”

Allison Pelzel, Mead High School Class of 2013 Unlike fellow aeronautically inclined St. Vrain alumnus Brand, who manned Space Shuttle and Apollo missions in the 1970s and 1980s, Allison Pelzel, 21, has no designs on actual space travel herself, and instead is content to work to help others get there. “I get motion-sick, so I prefer to stay here on Earth,” says Pelzel, who is concurrently pursuing both an engineering physics undergrad degree and a mechanical engineering Master’s degree at the Colorado School of Mines. Pelzel, whose passion for engineering was stoked in high school by the advanced physics and math classes she took at Mead High School, says she is bent on pursuing a career in aerospace/aeronautics, preferably in Colorado, which is home to some of the leaders in the field, including Ball Aerospace and Lockheed Martin. She is well on her way, having worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder the past two summers doing research Allison Pelzel and building instrumentation. She is also due to help teach a junior-level physics class at Mines this fall, all with the goal of breaking into the aerospace industry as a systems and test engineer once she finishes with her studies. She credits her experience at Mead and St. Vrain Valley Schools for doing “a great job preparing me” for whatever lies ahead — or above. ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

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Joe Laurienti, Lyons Senior High School Class of 2007

Naveen Chopra, Niwot High School Class of 1991

Even during high school, when he rebuilt a 1969 Ford Mustang virtually by himself, “I knew I was going into engineering,” says Laurienti, 26. “I always enjoyed math and engineering and getting my hands dirty.” After stints working at two high-profile private space travel companies, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Laurienti, who holds an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Southern California, is indeed getting his hands dirty as founder and CEO of a Colorado-based startup called Ursa Major. Launched in 2015, the company is developing high-performance rocket engines for use in “nano” or “micro” satellites that are about the size of a toaster oven. Sometime this year, Ursa Major is due to test its first rocket, he says, a hint of mad-scientist-like enthusiasm in his voice. “There is going to be a lot of loud noises and fire — in a good way.” Laurienti, whose father is also in the aerospace industry, credits the math and technology classes and labs at Lyons Senior High with “helping me along the engineering path.” “We had small class sizes, and we worked a lot individually and in small groups, which I think prepared me really well for the work I am doing now.” As for that ’69 Mustang, Laurienti still drives it today, which could bode well for Ursa Major and its rockets.

Twenty-five years removed from his youth in Niwot, having climbed to the top of the high-tech world as CEO of the cloudbased television service provider TiVo, Naveen Chopra says he is still drawing upon the skills he developed as a member of the school’s debate team. “That experience gave me early confidence in my ability to think and speak on my feet, to interact and be present in situations, and to play executive types of roles in the business community,” says Chopra, 42, who lives in Palo Alto, Calif., with his wife and three children. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University, Chopra remained in Silicon Valley, where he has worked for Naveen Chopra startups and large corporations alike. He mulled careers in finance and politics but chose computer science and engineering, fields for which he began to develop a passion as a student at Niwot High. “I had a group of friends there that really enjoyed science, math and technology,” he explains. “There was a healthy competitive culture where we all wanted to succeed and see the others succeed. And that is really what got the train moving for me.” A quarter-century later, Chopra’s train continues to gather steam.

By the Numbers STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

70

HIGH-QUALITY INSTRUCTIONAL FOCUS PROGRAMS

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8,000

POTENTIAL COLLEGE CREDITS EARNED BY ST. VRAIN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN 2015-2016

256

ST. VRAIN GRADUATES WITH A GPA OF 4.0 OR HIGHER IN 2016


WE ALL WANTED TO SUCCEED AND SEE THE OTHERS SUCCEED. AND THAT IS REALLY WHAT GOT THE TRAIN MOVING FOR ME.” Naveen Chopra Niwot High School Class of 1991

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Environments that Inspire St. Vrain designs schools with students, teachers, staff and learning top of mind. by DAVID PORT

Built in 2013, Frederick High School was designed to accommodate the needs of today’s high school students. Photos by Kerri McDermid

S

EVERAL YEARS AGO, SONIA MARTINEZ WENT BACK TO HER OLD STOMPING GROUNDS, Erie

Middle School, curious to see if any of the input she and a handful of other students had offered to the school district on a pending renovation project at the school had actually been used. Martinez, now a freshman at Colorado State University after graduating from Erie High School last spring, admits she was “really surprised” to see that some of students’ ideas indeed had been incorporated into the remodel project. “At the time I did

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not think we [students] would have a real say in what goes on in our school system,” she says. “But I could tell they really took our input into consideration. And I think that is smart, because in the end, it is ultimately for us and generations of students to come.” Chris Jensen, another former Erie Middle School student (now a senior at Niwot High School) who served on the design committee alongside Martinez, says he felt genuinely part of the process. “They listened to what we wanted and actually used the suggestions we gave them, like different locker colors for each grade, and giving each

grade their own section of the school.” That inclusive, input-driven approach to school construction projects sets St. Vrain Valley Schools apart from most of its peers, according to Greg Cromer, an architect at DLR Group who has been involved in dozens of K-12 classroom design projects across the Rocky Mountain region. St. Vrain stands out, says Cromer, for a unique commitment to creating facilities that support and enhance curriculum and opportunities for students. “I think it is one of the best [school districts] in the Front Range, if not the state of Colorado, at doing those things.”


In St. Vrain, teachers also get a major voice, not only in discussions of construction projects that impact them, but in how their classrooms are configured and equipped. For Dr. Karen Gregg, the music, fine arts and band teacher at Lyons Middle/ Senior High School, that meant an opportunity to work directly with architects and sound engineers to design a space that, she says, “has become a room where kids really love to come for music, but also during their free time, to practice, to study and be creative. My students say it is the safest room in the school for them, and they are talking about how they feel. This is a room where they can come and just be themselves.” Whether it is already completed projects such as the new music/band room in Lyons and the remodel at Erie Middle School, or future schools, the approach is the same: gather ideas and input from stakeholders — students, teachers, community members, administrators — then enlist learning environment experts such as Cromer and DLR to bring those ideas to life. The common thread to all this is St. Vrain’s commitment to invest in environments that consistently stoke kids’ passion to learn and teachers’ passion to educate.

Dr. Karen Gregg instructs students in her newly designed space. Photo by Jack Greene Photography

Recipe for an Ideal Learning Environment

A glance at some of the design elements that St. Vrain prioritizes for indoor and outdoor spaces:

Ensure that new construction integrates well with existing space.

Focus on lighting and indoor air quality, using natural light and fresh, outdoor air wherever possible.

Offer flexible, configurable spaces and furniture that foster collaboration and engagement, and that can be tailored to teacher and student needs.

Maximize use of sustainable, environmentally friendly materials and approaches.

Offer functional, inviting outdoor spaces to augment and complement indoor environments.

Design unique spaces for special-needs students.

Integrate state-of-the-art computer and audio/video equipment.

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A Spark! Discovery Preschool student demonstrates a Bee-Bot robot, used to teach early programming skills to preschool students. Photo by Matthew Wiggins

Foundations for Success by MATTHEW WIGGINS AS THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR approaches,

roughly four million students across the United States are preparing to enter kindergarten. Although these students are starting their educational careers at the same time, they vary in levels of school readiness. In 2014, less than half of all U.S. children ages three to five attended a preschool program of any kind. This is largely due to limited access, low income households and social behaviors. St. Vrain enrolled 1,354 students in preschool programs during the 2015-2016 school year, 406 of whom were awarded tuition-free preschool through Colorado’s Preschool Program (CPP). CPP offers financial assistance for young children at risk of starting elementary school unprepared. While many

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school districts across Colorado focus solely on shoes are clever scenarios to engage even “Mountain View does a great job of inteon CPP funding, St. Vrain serves all eli- the youngest preschool students. grating STEM curriculum and developing gible preschool-aged children and offers “By facilitating design thinking chal- emotional intelligence in the classroom,” early childhood programs in all communi- lenges, we achieve a higher level of rigor says Lasher. “Marilyn consistently surprises ties within the district. In addition to CPP, within our coursework,” says Spark! Dis- us at home with new terms and phrases she St. Vrain provides several prehas learned. She is more outgoschool scholarships to eligible ing, asks more questions and is three-year olds. In 2015-2016, more independent.” By the Numbers I N V E S T I N G I N E A R LY C H I L D H O O D St. Vrain offered 103 scholarSt. Vrain Valley Schools is ships, translating to roughly committed to shaping today’s $200,000. children to be tomorrow’s “Quality preschool proyoung adults, parents, business grams and positive relationships owners, industry leaders and with caring adults provides a senior citizens. Studies have strong foundation for children shown that children participatIn 2014, the White House Council of and increases their chances of ing in preschool programs are Economic Advisors reported that for being successful,” says Edwina more likely to graduate high every $1 invested in preschool education, Salazar, Executive Director of school, go to college and earn our economy sees a return of $8.60. the OUR Center, a local basic more in their careers. In 2014, needs provider that maintains the White House Council of its own four-star rated child Economic Advisors reported development center. Roughly that for every $1 invested in 60 to 75 percent of families utipreschool education, our econlizing these services are part of omy sees a return of $8.60. This low-income households. is largely based on increased Developing skills at an early earnings as students enter the age is critical to a child’s educaU.S. workforce. tional success. Language skills Chris Barge of the Comat the age of one or two can munity Foundation of Boulder predict literacy skills at age five. County directs the organizaMost research today indicates that children covery teacher, Jess Harbison. “We are tion’s School Readiness Initiative and feels participating in rigorous preschool pro- setting them up to be better problem solv- St. Vrain is performing head and shoulders gramming exhibit more positive health, ers, collaborators and critical thinkers. That above many school districts in the state and social-emotional and cognitive outcomes is what the jobs of tomorrow will call upon.” across the country. than those that do not. Mountain View Elementary’s STEM “As a school district, St. Vrain manages At Spark! Discovery Preschool, a stand- Discovery Preschool is another program its finances very well, especially in a state alone STEM preschool facility within within St. Vrain using these techniques. where resources are scarce,” says Barge. St. Vrain, students regularly engage in By incorporating iPads, makerspaces, pro- “Placing emphasis on early learning and perdesign thinking challenges that build upon totyping resources and guest speakers, forming above expectations is why St. Vrain teamwork, problem solving and social teachers are able to integrate STEM and the Valley Schools continues to succeed.” development. Keeping Humpty Dumpty arts seamlessly. Mountain View parent Liz protected from falling off a wall or devising Lasher says she is impressed by the growth a way to keep the family dog from chewing her daughter, Marilyn, has shown.

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Mail Delivered 29,700 LBS* District Mail

St. Vrain has three mail routes consisting of 70 stops throughout the community. In addition to traditional mail and parcels, these deliveries include 80 to 90 ‘Science to Go’ kits per day.

Water Use 6,200,000 GAL* Water Efficiency

St. Vrain works closely with the Center for ReSource Conservation each year to improve the efficiency of water usage across all district owned properties. This includes landscaping and monitoring of interior water fixtures.

A MON ST. VR

Energy Use 2,423,000 KWH*

What it takes for one of in the St. Vrain Valle students, 5,211 employee

Energy Efficiency

Even with year-round school use, the average energy consumption intensity of St. Vrain buildings is 52 kbtu/sq ft. That is more than 10 percent better than the national average, according to the EPA. In the past four years, energy efficiency upgrades have reduced St. Vrain’s annual utility expenditure by $185,000.

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*All figures are based on a full, regular school year.

Exceptional Bandwidth

In 2014, St. Vrain partnered with the City of Longmont to provide (10x) adequate bandwidth (10 GB/sec) which saves over $100,000 per school year.

Network Traffic 147,686 GB*

Quality Nutrition

Fresh Produce 100,000 LBS*

NTH IN RAIN

f the largest employers ey to support 32,000 es and 13 communities.

St. Vrain purchases roughly 900,000 lbs of fresh, Coloradogrown produce each school year. Meals are provided at a reasonable price and meet national school breakfast and lunch nutritional guidelines.

Bus Mileage 155,775 MI* Transportation

St. Vrain provides safe, efficient transportation that supports the educational environment while complying with governmental regulations and board policy.

Digital Books

St. Vrain utilizes a digital library of more than two million titles from more than 5,000 publishers. This provides the depth of content required to support academic standards while promoting 21st century skills.

Books Checked Out 47,202 UNITS* ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

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“I teach because… young people matter.”

Gerald Macon, Skyline High School Teacher

Photo by Kerri McDermid

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Class Acts

Meet some of the teachers who make St. Vrain shine. by DAVID PORT

G

ERALD MACON LANDED in St. Vrain Valley

Schools by way of the high-tech world, following a stint overseas as a professional basketball player. Liz Wolford and Madi Strimbu came to their teaching positions with the district fresh out of college. Bob Roy left teaching only to return to it a decade later after a detour into newspaper advertising. As disparate as their backgrounds and their paths to St. Vrain are, what connects these four educators is an obvious passion for their profession — and for the young people they teach. “I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else other than teaching,” says Wolford, a first-year teacher at Altona Middle School. “It has been an incredibly rewarding experience.” From rookies to career-long educators to career-changers, St. Vrain’s faculty is full of teachers and staff who bring excellence and a zest for learning to the classroom. It is time to meet a few of them. IT IS A GOOD THING MACON HAS LONG LEGS,

because as both a computer science teacher and the varsity girls basketball coach at Skyline High School in Longmont, the six-foot-nine ex-pro hoopster (he played several years in Europe after college) finds himself straddling the two stereotypically polarized worlds of “smart kids” and “jocks.” Macon, 33 and a father of two, says he relishes that position because it gives him a chance to encourage his students and his players to break those molds. “It is a great way for me to connect with kids and let them

know they do not have to accept the stigmas that go with playing sports or working with computers. You can live in both worlds. You do not have to be a nerd to love computers, and you do not have to be a jock to enjoy playing sports.” A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Macon says coaching — he is entering his second year helming Skyline’s girls varsity basketball team and his eighth year as a hoops coach — inspired him to pursue becoming a teacher. “Working in the tech world, in marketing, I really was not happy doing what I was doing,” he explains. “I always wanted to be a teacher. So I went back to school, got a master’s degree [in education], and here I am.” A self-taught computer programmer and coder, Macon landed the computer science post at Skyline following a student-teaching gig at Silver Creek High School. As a first-year teacher in 2015, he says one of his goals was to draw from his business experience to show students that working with computers is about much more than numbers and programming. “I try to instill in my students that in the business world, you also need good communication skills because you will be dealing with clients and co-workers.” Such an approach resonates in both the classroom and the locker room, says Macon. “Teaching or coaching, I want to build relationships and I want kids to build relationships. I have found that kids are most interested in learning from people they like and respect, so my teaching style is more conversational and story-based. We talk about academics, but I also want to help them understand there is more to life than academics.”

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“I teach because…I want to instill a passion for learning and I want to create lifelong learners.” Liz Wolford, Altona Middle School Teacher

Photo by Matthew Wiggins

LONGMONT NATIVE LIZ WOLFORD SPENT MOST OF HER UNDERGRADUATE YEARS WITHOUT A CLUE WHAT SHE WOULD DO AFTER COLLEGE. But

when she took her first education class, “I said to myself, ‘This is it. I want to teach.’” From there, Wolford, 27, was on her way. She earned a coveted spot in Partners in Education (PIE), a collaborative master’s degree program between the University of Colorado Boulder and St. Vrain to develop new teachers, which led her back to the very school district where she spent her youth, and a position as a seventh grade teacher at Altona Middle School. Wolford, who is dually certified to teach language arts and social studies, says the relationships she built with her students were the most rewarding take-away from her first year teaching. “It is great to have kids trust me enough to share things with me that they would not share with anyone else.” In the classroom, she says, laughter has been indispensable in forging that sense of trust. “There has to be humor! Kids are just more engaged when you show you have a funny side. It shows them I am a human being, not just a person of authority.” That sense of humor will serve Wolford well if she is indeed to enjoy a long career in teaching.

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HE IS BOB OR DAD TO HIS WIFE AND TWO SONS.

But to the kids at Alpine Elementary, an International Baccalaureate and STEM school where he teaches Spanish, he is known as “Señor Roy” or “Mr. Señor.” Roy, 51, worked as a bilingual researcher for the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and cut his teeth as an educator in the 1990s teaching English in Costa Rica, his wife Ana’s native country. In 2009, a decade after returning to his hometown of Longmont, where he had been working in advertising at the Times-Call newspaper, he returned to teaching. Today he is happily entrenched at a school in the town in which he lives and was raised. Roy, who had never taught Span-


ish and never taught in America, credits St. Vrain Valley Schools’ alternative licensure program with smoothing the transition and relaunching his teaching career. Now the ebullient Mr. Señor (English translation: Mister Mister, with apologies to the one-hit-wonder rock band of that name) is a revered figure at Alpine, where he will be teaching exclusively in 2016-2017 after splitting time at Black Rock Elementary in Erie. “For kids in the third grade and under, I am kind of right there with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus,” he muses. It is as much due to his approach in the classroom as to his jolly demeanor that Roy

“I teach because…I open up the world to kids through language.” Bob Roy, Alpine Elementary Teacher

Photo by Jack Greene Photography

finds himself in such exclusive company. “I am a very visual teacher,” he explains. “I am a big believer that visual tools instead of rote memorization and translation really help kids learn a second language.” An avid gardener, Roy says he savors helping kids grow in new directions. “With teaching, your fruits are different than the seeds you plant. I have found that I have affected kids in ways I never planned or anticipated. It is amazing.” AS A 22-YEAR-OLD FIRST-YEAR TEACHER AT THUNDER VALLEY K-8 IN FREDERICK, MADI STRIMBU ADMITS HER EARLY DAYS ON THE JOB WERE NERVE-WRACKING . “It is scary walk-

ing in and not knowing your kids or your co-workers,” says Strimbu, who began teaching science, social studies and technology to first through eighth graders within several months of graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2015. Colorado native Strimbu came to St. Vrain via the PIE program, through which she is working toward a master’s degree in literacy. “I was really drawn to St. Vrain because it has an excellent reputation and because of its participation in the PIE program. The mentoring and modeling I received through that program have been really valuable to me.” As daunting as her first days on the job were, Strimbu says she walked away from her first year of teaching feeling fulfilled. “Seeing kids do things they did not think they could do and believe in themselves, that is really rewarding.” But as Strimbu discovered in her first year, the rewards of teaching do not come easy. “I did not realize just how hard teaching would be,” she says. “It seems like there is always something more you can do.”

By the Numbers E D U C A T O R S I N S T. V R A I N

2,067,900

TEACHER/STUDENT CONTACT HOURS IN A SCHOOL YEAR

978

TEACHERS WITH GRADUATE DEGREES

438

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSES OFFERED EACH YEAR

6,136

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CREDITS EARNED IN A YEAR

5,211

TOTAL EMPLOYEES IN ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

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TransformED St. Vrain Valley Schools is leading the nation in rethinking public education. by KERRI MCDERMID

“THERE IS NO GREATER RISK TO PUBLIC EDUCATION THAN STANDING STILL WHEN WE SHOULD BE MOVING FORWARD.” These are words commonly

spoken across St. Vrain Valley Schools — a mantra that drives the district’s deeply ingrained culture to deliver academic rigor, high-quality teaching and transformative educational experiences. It is this commitment to rethink education for the 21st century that is bringing national attention to the district. Educational leaders across the country are looking at St. Vrain to see what it is like to be in a district where innovation is an organizational core value.

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In the past five years, St. Vrain has won 88 state, national and international awards for efforts to advance student achievement. In June, 2016, 125 teachers, superintendents, industry experts, policy makers, corporations and nonprofits visited the district for a behind-the-scenes look at the magic happening in St. Vrain classrooms. Student tour guides took groups through classrooms where elementary students were exploring solutions to community issues with mentors from IBM and the University of Colorado. Skyline High School’s STEM Academy students showcased recent projects, and Innovation Center students

highlighted both the technologies they bring into classrooms to support student learning and the products they have developed and are implementing in research studies or bringing to market. A common theme across the day was that to successfully transform education for your community, you must be ready to embrace change, commit to infrastructure, be comfortable with the unknown and always put the interests of students first. Infrastructure Creates Momentum St. Vrain’s journey to national recognition began nine years ago when the STEM Acad-


Innovation Center students testing their underwater robot,Thelma. Photos by Jeffrey Sylvester

emy was launched at Skyline High School. The academy was to serve as a “School of Choice” to better engage students, especially those at a moderate risk, to remain in school and pursue postsecondary education and careers in STEM. The success of the STEM Academy provided the foundation to seek federal funding to further support innovation and STEM integration across the district. In 2010, St. Vrain Valley Schools was awarded a $3.6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant and in 2012, a $16.6 million Race to the Top grant. The most visible result of these efforts

was the launch of the Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools in 2012 — a program designed to provide transformative experiences that empower students to apply knowledge to professional opportunities that mirror the pace of innovation. Addressing district leadership in 2015, Skyline High School alumna, Lauren Jury spoke of the success she had as a STEM Academy student and member of the Innovation Center tech team. She has been nationally recognized for her interests and work in information technology and is an emerging leader and mentor to other young women who are interested in computer science and IT.

Concluding her speech, Jury said, “I am just an ordinary girl who was given an extraordinary opportunity.” The weight of those words rang heavily in the room as the direct impact of St. Vrain’s efforts could be felt. “Extraordinary opportunities” is the fire behind the Innovation Center’s success and drive to make a difference in the lives of their students. One recent example of an “extraordinary opportunity” is the work a team of students at the Innovation Center are undertaking to save an endangered frog in Peru. Partnering with the Denver Zoo, nine students from

ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

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Skyline High School, Olde Columbine High School and Niwot High School are working to develop an underwater robot that will aid in a study that examines the declining populations of the Lake Titicaca frog in Bolivia and Peru. Thelma, their underwater device, can swim to twice the depth of a recreational SCUBA diver and is equipped with cameras to record lake conditions. This will provide valuable feedback as researchers work to understand environmental factors impacting the frog’s population. Extending learning beyond traditional methods through connections with industry partners, entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology is preparing students across the district to be the change-makers of the future. Empowered Teachers and Engaged Students On any typical day, the STEM classroom at Longmont Estates Elementary School is a hive of activity. From the outside, the scene may appear chaotic — cardboard rolls and pipe cleaners scattered across a table Students at Longmont Estates Elementary amongst Spheros, Cubelets and explore robotics with Cubelets. Photo by Matthew Wiggins iPads. But as you look closer, the synergy of creative learning is magnetic as students use design thinking principles to prototype solutions that will create a better world — the conversations echoing from corner to corner serving as a soundtrack for modern transformative learning. Recognizing the opportunity to better prepare their students for secondary and postsecondary success, Longmont Estates implemented their STEM focus and design thinking integration in fall 2015. The school was tasked with finding ways to successfully innovate daily learning to improve student achievement. “When someone comes in and says you need to be

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innovative, it can be scary,” says Jessicca Shaffer, STEM Coordinator at Longmont Estates. “But in reality, teachers innovate every day. We may not call it that or think of it that way, but every time we do something and it does not work out right, we change it and make it better — that is innovation.” For Longmont Estates, success comes in the form of teacher leadership. As part of the districtwide STEM and design thinking integration efforts, teachers across the district are collaborating and sharing ideas on how to continually engage students and advance the rigor of the standards-based curriculum. “We work together as a team to make things better in all of our schools. This is teacher empowerment — teachers can make decisions for their classrooms and their schools,” says Shaffer. “We have been successful because it is not forced. This is something that educators across the district have really embraced because they have a voice and can take ownership in transforming learning in their classrooms.” In its first year, Longmont Estates has already seen tremendous success and growth in their students’ aca-

St. Vrain Valley Schools has earned numerous, significant and nationally competitive grants that have impacted thousands of students across our district. demic skills and critical thinking. Instead of a science fair, the school hosted a widely attended innovation fair. Students are also taking their design thinking concepts home and using their personal time to create and build their own prototypes and projects. All of this translates to more engaged and more confident students. “I tell my students that when we talk about innovation in the school, your goal is to make something that makes the world a better place or makes something easier for someone else,” explains Shaffer. “If you want to be innovative or creative, the whole purpose of that is to make things better. This really resonates with how they see their daily learning connecting to the real world.”


Focus on the Future So what is next for St. Vrain Valley Schools? 2016 promises to be another banner year for advancing student excellence at schools throughout the district. This fall, the district’s first Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) class will meet at Skyline High School. The program, announced in December, 2015 is a first for the state of Colorado. P-TECH is a new type of school that brings together the best elements of high school, college and the professional world. The program allows students to earn a high school diploma, as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems at no cost to students. The program will include significant internship and mentorship opportunities with IBM, giving students a head start on their career after completing the program. Students begin the program in ninth grade, completing the program in four to six years. This year will also be the second year of the Design Thinking Challenge — a competition designed to ignite innovation, create breakthrough ideas and celebrate the enterprising ecosystem of St. Vrain. The challenge provides each team an opportunity to solve an authentic system challenge within their school environment. Each year, school faculty teams are invited to address a challenge that confronts their capacity to achieve St. Vrain’s mission of academic excellence by design. Whether it is through teacher empowerment, additional infrastructure or new opportunities for students, St. Vrain is always looking to the future. Public education has possibly the greatest impact on our society. To ensure the success of our economy, our children and their future, St. Vrain Valley Schools is transforming how we prepare students to meet the challenges of the road ahead.

design thinking /dih-zahyn thing-king/ 1. a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for clients.

By the Numbers I N N O V A T I O N I N S T. V R A I N

$20,500,000

Total resources in grants won by St. Vrain Valley Schools in the past five years to support classroom innovation

21,070

Total number of students impacted by the Innovation Center or the district STEM program in 2015-2016

1,500

Estimated number of ‘design thinking’ projects completed across district classrooms in the past year

20

Number of presentations made at state, regional and national conferences, or events highlighting the success of the innovative work going on in St. Vrain during the past three years

An Innovation Center student working with Spheros in the SparkFun Lab. Photo by Matthew Wiggins

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Parental Leadership Opportunities abound for parents to offer leadership, support and input across our school district. by DAVID PORT

T

HE YEAR WAS 2008, and parents in the St.

Vrain Valley community, tired of watching their schools lose students and high-performing teachers to neighboring districts, mobilized for a grassroots campaign whose impact still resonates throughout the community today. For that campaign not only led

Carolyn Storz goes over homework with her children, Natalia (9th grader at Niwot High School) and Zander (5th grader at Hygiene Elementary). Photo by Matthew Wiggins

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voters to approve much-needed funding increases and improvements that ultimately put St. Vrain Valley Schools back on the right track, it also opened new doors for parents in the district to get involved in shaping the direction of the school district and the education of their children.


Eight years later, St. Vrain parents like happening here at Lyons Elementary Blake Curton and Carolyn Storz are relish- and around the district with issues ing those opportunities for involvement. like class size and standardized testing For Storz, whose children attend Hygiene that are a direct result of parents’ conElementary School, Westview Middle cerns and feedback being heard,” says School and Niwot High School (a fourth Curton. “There is a definite sense of recently left the district for college), that empowerment in being asked to share involvement began with volunteer work in your concerns and to know the district her kids’ classrooms and later broadened to is listening. It feeds my passion to stay include participation in districtwide parent involved and to effect more change.” groups such as LeadHaving seen ership St. Vrain. the district “There really are recently embrace By the Numbers PA R E N T I N V O LV E M E N T ample opportunirecommendaties for parents to tions from a get involved at lots group of parents of different levels,” of special needs NUMBER OF PARENT says the Longmont students, and VOLUNTEER HOURS resident, Storz. “I watched the St. IN 2015-2016 am so grateful and Vrain Board of appreciative that Education gather the school district is community input earnest in its desire to help inform its to engage, commurecent decision NUMBER OF LEADERSHIP nicate with and seek about whether the partnership of ST. VRAIN GRADUATES SINCE to pursue a 2016 PROGRAM INCEPTION IN 2009 parents. I think it is bond initiative to a real strength of our fund additional district, and it has districtwide been a very valuable experience for me to improvements, Storz says parents have gain perspective on public school education clearly become a valuable resource for and all its moving parts.” district decision-makers. “As a parent, Curton, a Lyons resident who has two you are encouraged to offer feedback and children at Lyons Elementary, is headed you actually see your ideas in action.” into his third year as a Leadership St. Vrain member. Launched in 2009, that group provides a vehicle for interested parents to learn more about district operations, and to exchange ideas with district officials and school staff. NOW ACCEPTING APPLICABoth Curton and Storz say they are TIONS FOR THE 2016-2017 inspired to get involved because they see LEADERSHIP ST. VRAIN clear evidence that parents’ input and ideas COHORT. APPLY ONLINE AT: are being heard — and acted upon — by the SVVSD.ORG/LSV school district. “I have seen positive things

2,450 264

How to get involved

As a parent, you have an opportunity to be a child’s first — and best — teacher. But the opportunities to have a say in a child’s educational experience extend well beyond what you do at home. Here is a look at some of the ways to get involved, not only in shaping your child’s learning environment, but in helping St. Vrain Valley Schools deliver the high-quality educational experience that every child deserves. Volunteer in the classroom. Use communication tools (Schoology, Infinite Campus, etc.) to track a student’s progress and communicate with teachers and staff. Join a school committee. Every school needs parents who are willing to lend their time to specific committees. Ask the leadership at your child’s school about committee opportunities. Join a district committee. From long-term facilities planning to student nutrition, districtwide committees are seeking parent members to tackle a wide range of issues. Join Leadership St. Vrain, a parent group that engages key issues at the district level. For more information, visit svvsd.org/lsv. Attend a St. Vrain Board of Education meeting, a great way to be heard on an issue that matters to you.

ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

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Erie High School teachers tour DigitalGlobe facilities. Photo courtesy of the Daily Camera

Collaboration Across Our Community St. Vrain’s partners are elevating the quality of our children’s education. by KERRI MCDERMID

W

HEN LOOKING AT THE ATTRIBUTES THAT DISTINGUISH QUALITY pub-

lic schools, the ancient proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” certainly applies. In education, a connected and supportive society provides a strong foundation for learning and continued achievement. Families, teachers and staff, coaches, elected officials and every citizen in the community have a role to play in the success of our children. Perhaps one of the most important transformational supporters of public education is the involvement of businesses, nonprofits and public organizations in elevating student learning. Industry expertise provides an outlet to extend learning beyond classroom walls and gives students the experiences, resources and capacity to understand how their education translates into real-world change.

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DigitalGlobe Eyes the Future Six years ago, Dave Cummings, Senior Project Manager at DigitalGlobe, asked a question, the answers to which have transformed student learning at Erie High School. “Excitement can only be built to a certain point when reading from a textbook, so how do we get students more engaged about the post-high school world and encourage them to think more about their future?” The school district answered Dave’s question with action, creating the Erie High School Engineering and Aerospace Academy in fall 2015. Students in the academy have toured industry facilities, held a panel discussion with aerospace experts and hosted a showcase event that featured the area’s leading space and technology companies along with conference-style student poster presentations. As the program continues to grow and evolve, business partnerships will play a critical role in continuing to develop new opportunities that will have a lasting impact

to shape esential workforce pathways and student interest in engineering and technology fields. “It is really important for businesses to start participating more in the public education system to be able to get more interaction with the students,” says Cummings. “We can show them what life is like outside of school and that what they are studying can apply to real-world problems. There really is a use for what they are learning.” Creating Opportunities In St. Vrain, partnerships are not just about asking for resources, they are about collaborating to create opportunities for students. “Business leaders enjoy being able to pay it forward and see our youth in action, knowing they had a hand in their success,” says Carrie Adams, Program Coordinator for the Silver Creek Leadership Academy (SCLA). “Without the support of the business community, SCLA could not give our students the hands-on experiences that set

Committed to the Success of Every Student Valuable partnerships and external support of St. Vrain students and classrooms also come from nonprofit and public-sector organizations. The Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley (EFSVV) is one example of an organization that is having a significant impact on the quality of public education in our community. In the past three years, the EFSVV has invested $1.6 million into our students, teachers and classrooms, including over $885,000 in school supplies distributed to students in need through the Crayons to Calculators program. They fund classroom grants, professional development for teachers, scholarships and more. “The work of the Education Foundation is made much easier by supporting a district that is commit-

them apart.” Working with local businesses has been an integral part of building the SCLA program since its inception. Students have the opportunity to network and learn from people in the community where they can see how classroom skills are applicable in real life and learn necessary communication and leadership skills. “Businesses have a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and having an educational outlet where they can be assured their support is time and money well spent means everything to a business,” says Lee Berg, Executive Director of the Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley. “It is this type of support that drives the quality of public education, as well as the vibrancy of our community and local economy.”

Students from Mead volunteer to stuff backpacks for the EFSVV Crayons to Calculators program. Photo by Matthew Wiggins

ted to every individual child, not just overall academic performance,” says Berg. “When the outcome of public education is such a quality product, the community, businesses and individuals want to support it.” ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

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Special Programs A Look at unique opportunities that distinguish St. Vrain Valley Schools from the crowd.

from IBM’s “Smarter Planet” initiative in the areas of transportation systems, water, buildings and food. Intermediate students study energy, cities, commerce, media and communications.

Career Development Center (CDC)

STEM.SVVSD.ORG/INNOVATION-ACADEMY

The CDC provides students with both academic preparation and practical knowledge. Programs provide students with job skills and require students to maintain specific, rigorous academic standards. Career-related training in language, math and science, along with experiential educational opportunities, provide students with necessary entry-level skills for employment or postsecondary options. CDC programs expose

Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley Schools The Innovation Center provides transformative experiences that empower students to apply knowledge to professional opportunities that mirror the pace of innovation. The program matches highly-skilled students with business, provides research and development opportunities, fosters analytical and problem-solving skills, encourages entrepreneurial ambitions and creates mentorships with experts in STEM fields. By providing paid, hands-on experiences, the Innovation Center drives a culture of creativity, collaboration and innovation. INNOVATION.SVVSD.ORG

Leadership St. Vrain

students to the latest in technology, theory and hands-on experiences in laboratory and realworld environments. CDC.SVVSD.ORG

Innovation Academy for a Smarter Planet The Innovation Academy is a summer program designed in partnership with IBM that is taught collaboratively by St. Vrain teachers and IBM employees. Primary elementary students entering the first, second and third grades, as well as intermediate students entering the fourth, fifth and sixth grades, work in highly interactive and collaborative learning environments on various community-related issues. Primary students inquire into sustainable and innovative solutions

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Leadership St. Vrain was launched in the 20092010 school year after a group of highly engaged parents ran a successful campaign for a mill levy override and school improvement bond. Since then, parents have participated in an annual program designed to deepen their knowledge of district operations and exchange ideas. The program is especially appropriate for parents who want to obtain a foundation in district operations and governance and become more effective participants in school district affairs. SVVSD.ORG/LSV

Learning Technology Plan The use of technology in support of student learning can be powerful. By providing increased access to tablets and other digital resources, teachers and students have opportunities to participate in rich learning experiences

that can expand beyond the classroom walls. In addition, by providing secondary students with take-home devices, learning can be extended to the home and can include the entire family. Through the Learning Technology Plan, students and teachers have the tools they need to investigate, communicate, collaborate, create, model and explore concepts and content in authentic contexts. LTP.SVVSD.ORG

Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) P-TECH is a new model of education connecting high school, college and the world of work through college and industry partnerships. Offered at Skyline High, it is a model that allows students to earn a high school diploma as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Front Range Community College at no cost to the student. Included with this program are significant internship and mentorship opportunities with IBM and other industry partners, giving students a head start on the other side of completing the program. Students begin the program in ninth grade and complete it in four to six years. SHS.SVVSD.ORG/PTECH


Financial Reporting

Financial Accolades

Fiscal Responsibility

• S&P bond rating of AA, and a Moody’s bond rating of Aa2 enhanced • Enrollment has grown by 4,398 since October 2010 • Fortune 500-level corporate sponsors and community partnerships • National award for financial reporting annually, 12 years running

St. Vrain Valley Schools outperformed the 2008 bond by more than $22 million. These funds were reinvested in school buildings throughout the district. Since 2010, the district has refinanced bonds to lower interest rates, saving taxpayers more than $32 million over the life of the bonds. Bond spending is overseen by an accountability committee of community members and district officials.

General Fund Sources and Use

S T. V R A I N V A L L E Y S C H O O L S

25.96%

Property Taxes

2.67%

Central Support and Admin

Funding Sources

13.38%

How Funds are Used

Mill Levy Override

4.01%

49.61%

State Equalization

18.97%

1.00% Federal Sources

3.11%

2.93%

Specific Ownership Tax

Other State Revenue

Other Local Revenue

School Building and Classroom Support

78.36%

Direct Classroom Instruction

ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

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School Directory

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1

Alpine Elementary

20 Hygiene Elementary

8 Olde Columbine High School

IB World School, STEM

OCHS.SVVSD.ORG

AES.SVVSD.ORG 2 Altona Middle School Leadership AMS.SVVSD.ORG 3 Aspen Ridge Preparatory School

Rigorous Academics Enhanced Through the Arts

37 Prairie Ridge Elementary

HES.SVVSD.ORG

PRES.SVVSD.ORG

21 Imagine PK-8 Core Knowledge IMAGINEFIRESTONE.ORG 22 Indian Peaks Elementary

38 Red Hawk Elementary

STEM

STEM

IPES.SVVSD.ORG

RMES.SVVSD.ORG

BRES.SVVSD.ORG 5 Blue Mountain Elementary

23 Legacy Elementary LEGACYES.SVVSD.ORG 24 Longmont Estates Elementary

40 Sanborn Elementary

Science, Technology and Inquiry

STEM

Leadership

6 7 8 9 10 11

BMES.SVVSD.ORG

LEES.SVVSD.ORG

SCHS.SVVSD.ORG

Burlington Elementary

25 Longmont High School

42 Skyline High School

BES.SVVSD.ORG

Carbon Valley Academy

CARBONVALLEYACADEMY.ORG

LHS.SVVSD.ORG

Career Development Center

26 Longs Peak Middle School

43 Spark! Discovery Preschool STEM

CDC.SVVSD.ORG

SDPK.SVVSD.ORG

Centennial Elementary

LPMS.SVVSD.ORG

Core Knowledge

ASPENRIDGEPREPSCHOOL.ORG 4 Black Rock Elementary

A Gifted and Talented, World Language School

CENTENNIALES.SVVSD.ORG

Central Elementary IB Primary Years Programme CENTRALES.SVVSD.ORG

Coal Ridge Middle School

Medical and BioScience, Advanced Placement, High School of Business

Pre-Advanced Placement

27 Lyons Elementary LYONSES.SVVSD.ORG

28 Lyons Middle/Senior High School

CSU Online Program

Core Knowledge

RHES.SVVSD.ORG

39 Rocky Mountain Elementary

SANBORNES.SVVSD.ORG

41 Silver Creek High School

STEM, Visual and Performing Arts, P-TECH

SHS.SVVSD.ORG

44 St. Vrain Community Montessori School SVCMONTESSORI.ORG 8 St. Vrain Online Global Academy SVOGA.SVVSD.ORG

45 Sunset Middle School

CRMS.SVVSD.ORG

LMSHS.SVVSD.ORG

SMS.SVVSD.ORG

12 Columbine Elementary STEM

29 Main Street School

46 Thunder Valley K-8

MAINSTREET.SVVSD.ORG

TVK8.SVVSD.ORG

30 Mead Elementary

47 Timberline PK-8

COLUMBINEES.SVVSD.ORG

13 Eagle Crest Elementary

MES.SVVSD.ORG

STEM

Leadership

31 Mead High School

TPK8.SVVSD.ORG

ECES.SVVSD.ORG

14 Erie Elementary

MHS.SVVSD.ORG

STEM

STEM

32 Mead Middle School

TRMS.SVVSD.ORG

EES.SVVSD.ORG

15 Erie High School

MMS.SVVSD.ORG

Engineering and Aerospace, AP Capstone

Energy, CU Succeed, AP Capstone

Extra—Curricular Engagement and Learning

33 Mountain View Elementary

16 Erie Middle School

MVES.SVVSD.ORG

EHS.SVVSD.ORG

Pre-Advanced Placement

EMS.SVVSD.ORG

17 Fall River Elementary

Rigorous Academics Enhanced Through the Arts, STEM

FRES.SVVSD.ORG

35 Niwot High School

CU Succeed, Biomedical Sciences

FHS.SVVSD.ORG

STEM WMS.SVVSD.ORG

School of Differentiated Instruction

NIWOTES.SVVSD.ORG

49 Twin Peaks Academy TWINPEAKSCHARTER.ORG 50 Westview Middle School

34 Niwot Elementary

STEM

18 Flagstaff Academy FLAGSTAFFACADEMY.ORG 19 Frederick High School

48 Trail Ridge Middle School

International Baccalaureate

NHS.SVVSD.ORG

36 Northridge Elementary STEM NORTHRIDGEES.SVVSD.ORG

ST. VRAIN VALLEY SCHOOLS

32


St. Vrain Valley Public Schools RE-1J 395 S. Pratt Parkway Longmont, CO 80501

CONNECT WITH US

32,000

PK-12 students and growing at a rate of approximately 800-1,000 students per year

svvsd.org

88

stvra.in/linkedin

State, national and international awards in the past five years

@svvsd

100

Percent of our schools are fully accredited, with 78 percent accredited with Distinction or Performance

Erie High School students celebrate their 2016 graduation. Photo by John David Photography

ST. VRAINNOVATION was produced in-house by the district communications team and funded by:

ST. VRAINNOVATION – Fall 2016  

Welcome to ST. VRAINNOVATION, a new publication celebrating the impact of education in our community. Public education has one of the most s...