- Carrie Zimmerman
Center of Focus
Focus on the Fabulous
Our New Year is off to a great start! Today we have all of our elementary students back on campus! It’s exciting to see classrooms bustling with activity. Our teachers have really stepped up and are ready to provide our kids with solid instruction in a safe environment, as our purpose is to increase academic achievement for ALL students. We believe that kids learn best when they are here on site, benefitting from direct instruction, ongoing engagement, and additional support. Our staff is living out our core belief of being committed to excellence in ALL we do every day, even when times are challenging! Thank you all for your commitment to our kids!
Thanks to all of our staff that are taking the necessary steps to keep our kids safe!
Gov. Polis proclaimed January as Board Appreciation month. We are fortunate to have such a supportive BOE here in Center. Our board members do an amazing job serving our children and representing our community while facing complex and demanding challenges. This month we honor the critical role they play in educating our children. They volunteer their time each month to meet regularly, discuss issues and make plans that are best for our students and the district. They are always willing to come after hours and support the activities and events that we are holding. They give an immeasurable amount of energy to assure that our schools are providing the best education possible for the children of our community. This is the perfect time to acknowledge their service to our students and our community, especially during one of the most complicated school years in US history.
We hit the ground running in 2021. Our District Leadership Team (DLT) met on Monday of last week. The DLT’s work is aligned to our student achievement core belief as it focuses on the continuous improvement of student achievement for every district student through the planning and implementation of the District Action Plan (UIP). Our team meets monthly and includes teacher representatives from each building, and administration at both the building and district level. Together, we review the District Action Plan and the work that is being done in each building. This year we have five improvement strategies that are driving our efforts: Improvement Strategy (IS) #1- Curriculum and Instruction, IS #2- Post Secondary and Workforce Readiness, IS #3- Multi Tiered System of Supports, IS #4- Recruitment and Retention, and IS #5- Team Commitment. We have IS teams that are targeting the specific initiatives and goals for each of the improvement strategies. These areas of focus were identified through annual needs assessments, identification of root causes and district trends, and the development of intentional plans of action. This is part of our shared leadership approach for our district. DLT members share out with each building’s leadership team, and that establishes the work to be done on Professional Learning Community (PLC) days.
We are currently in the process of conducting midyear evaluations on all staff members. This process is meant to support our efforts at ongoing improvement. We believe that every child deserves an excellent teacher in every classroom and excellent building and district administrators that lead effectively. Classroom teaching and school leadership are the strongest school based factors impacting student achievement. This process is designed to highlight areas of strength and identify areas that we can further develop. Through meaningful conversations, the goal is to ultimately support all members of our team, to develop their skills and abilities to the fullest potential and this, in turn, will have a positive impact on student learning.
I want to recognize Dianna Valenzuela, Rich Brandt, our food services team, and our facilities team. Last week, Dianna put together a training for her team and Rich’s team, to ensure that we had a backup plan in place to feed our kids in case we had a positive outbreak in the cafeteria. Rich graciously offered his team to step up and help with food preparation and delivery if we were in a bind with having to quarantine members of the cafeteria staff. This is teamwork at its best. I appreciate the willingness and flexibility of our support staff in making sure our kids are fed and well taken care of! Thank you all for living out our core beliefs!
I also want to thank the special education team. Natasha had a new opportunity available to her, so she left us at the end of the calendar year. Andy McKim, Tara Phillips and Jackie Meyer have all willingly jumped in to help carry the load. Thanks to our Adams State partnership, we are utilizing a couple of our exceptional student teachers to help us meet the needs of all our students. Another example of team members living up to our commitment to excellence!
Over at the district office, we are busy with the annual financial audit. There is a lot involved in this process and Betty, JJ and Alondra are working hard to make sure our systems are solid and our information is accurate. The audit will be presented at a special board meeting at the end of the month.
We had a professional development day on Friday, January 15th. Thanks to Stephanie and Katrina for getting that coordinated. The PEBC sessions with Nancy were impactful and staff shared insightful reflections on how this learning will affect their instruction. Staff also participated in PBL training through the Buck Institute.
We will have a Recruitment and Retention meeting on Tuesday afternoon. If there’s anything you’d like to share with the team, please let one of the members know.
A Special BOE meeting will be held on January 27th @ 6:00 pm. This meeting will be to approve the final budget for this fiscal year and also to review the financial audit with Wall, Smith and Bateman.
Parent Teacher Conferences will be held next week, January 27th and 28th.