Board Comments – January 28, 2009

Each board meeting, board members take turns reporting on things they’ve done the past two weeks. Typical there is more to report than one wants to take the time to report.

I prepare talking points for myself before each meeting – as do other board members. I am going to try to make it a habit to post my talking points before the board meetings. I will make note of those things I say at the meeting and those, in the interest of time, I did not mention.

Lunch with Silver Creek Teachers

Last Wednesday I was able to have lunch with Silver Creek teachers. It was a great day of learning for me. I want to thank Kent Willmann for making arrangements. I also want to thank Sherri Schumann for making time for me that day.

Teachers indicated that they are very supportive of the district’s strategic initiatives. Specifically, to…

– Align curriculum and create common assessments

– Create focus schools

– Address the achievement gap and at-risk students and schools

The group did raise important questions for the board and management to keep in mind as we move forward. I know that management is thinking about these questions and we’ll have the opportunity to discuss them more at our retreat on February 13. The types of questions I took away from the discussion:

– How do we need to sequence the initiatives so that we ensure there is adequate time to implement these initiatives thoughtfully and with rigor?

– What type of communication material do we need on the website and in other places that people can refer back to so people can be clear on why we’re undertaking each initiative, the timelines, progress, etc.?

– How can we make use of resources and thinking that already exists – in particular on the standards and common assessments?

– A bit of a tangent… in an electronic world, how do we need to rethink the “textbook” adoption process? Is “textbook” even the right mindset to be in at this point?

There are other questions that came up but that’s enough for this forum.

John Irwin School of Excellence Award

I had the opportunity to attend an award ceremony for St. Vrain Valley schools that received the John Irwin School of Excellence award [there’s not a great website for this].

I am sure that the first and most important thing to point out about this award is that John Irwin was a Jayhawk.

In seriousness, the John Irwin Award goes to schools in the to 8% in the state based on the state accountability report card.

The event was hosted at Xilinx by Flagstaff Charter Academy one of the five St. Vrain schools that received the award. The other schools were:

– Niwot Elementary

– Altona Middle School

– Lyons Junior/Senior High School

– Niwot High School

Some of these schools have received the award on multiple occasions.

Congratulations to all the schools and thank you to Flagstaff for hosting the event.

DID NOT MENTION AT BOARD MEETING

Tuition Equity Bill

The board has been approached to support the

Tuition Equity Bill

expected to be introduced in the Colorado state legislature later this week. The bill would allow undocumented students who graduate from Colorado high schools to attend Colorado colleges and unvisited at in-state tuition rates.

My inclination is to support this bill though I certainly would need to learn more about it. While I believe there needs to be immigration reform, I am a pragmatist on this issue. Undocumented children are living and working in our communities. We should maximize the education possibilities of those students who are ready, willing and able to pursue college. We all benefit when those who share our communities are able to maximize their education.

I disagree with the logic of Colorado State Sen. Dave Schultheis who said:

“Many citizens have been productive members of society and have made considerable income with only a K-12 education. While some students become successes because of their college education, the notion that a college education is a requirement for a successful life is a myth that for years has been fostered by the higher education institutions.”

This type of logic suggests that since Bill Gates dropped out of college we should all drop out of college. It’s nonsensical.

I understand that illegal immigration is a sensitive issue and that there is a need to address it. I don’t think that penalizing children is the best approach.

Skyline Baseball Silent Auction

I was invited to attend a silent auction fund raiser for the Skyline High School baseball team at Scooter Hinge in Mead on February 7. Do to other commitments I will not be able to attend.

Mead High School Boundaries

Not a single person has contacted me directly regarding the Mead High School boundaries.

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2 Responses to “Board Comments – January 28, 2009”

  1. Brad Jolly Says:

    John, you refer to “penalizing” children. When did it become a penalty to not get something you were never entitled to in the first place?

  2. Brad Jolly Says:

    John, traditional textbook mindset is NOT the right place to be today. Superior possibilities have been in place for at least 15 years.

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