Jeffco Board of Education briefs

Andrew Fraieli
afraieli@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/9/22

Jeffco Thriving 2025, Update on Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools

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Jeffco Board of Education briefs

Posted

Jeffco Thriving 2025

During the Sept. 7 meeting, the Jefferson County Board of Education heard an update on the Jeffco Thriving 2025 project, which aims to update how the district defines a “thriving” student and school.

The priorities presented by Deputy Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza covered high quality instructional materials and practices, students reading on grade level by third grade, each student being proficient at math by fifth and eight grade, on track credit-wise as a ninth grader, and every student having the “knowledge and skills for a post-secondary life” when they graduate.

The specific grade levels were called “foundational” for those subjects. LeBlanc-Esparza elaborated that being on the correct reading grade level by third grade set students on the right path further along, with math proficiencies at fifth and eighth having similar long-term effects on their future capabilities.

She elaborated on how the District intends on fulfilling these priorities, such as expanding universal pre-k and using high dosage tutoring to help with grade level reading, and “high-quality instructional materials for mathematics” along with training for teachers to use these materials to help with math proficiency.

For other, not purely academic standards, LeBlanc-Esparza explained that “digital citizenship” and “digital equity” would be a large part of fulfilling an “extraordinary student experience,” as well as ensuring “all students have access to effective intervention supports and systems.​”

Board member Paula Reed questioned how best to determine actual competency of students and not just stress the importance of credits for students and teachers alike. LeBlanc-Esparz responded that further data like test scores will be used, and she highlighted another point of Reed’s that students must also have input to be able to “own” their goals and data and further motivate them.

“Being data-driven as an organization does not mean that it all falls on individual teachers,” pointed out Superintendent Tracy Dorland. “The hope with being data-driven is that the District accepts responsibility building systems and structures that support schools, as they leverage those systems and structures to support students.”

Update on Regional Opportunities for Thriving Schools

Lisa Relou, chief of strategy and communications for the District, presented updated information to the Board of Directors about school consolidations.

The original recommendation from the District on Aug. 25 to the Board was to close 16 elementary schools — including K-2, K-5 and K-6 schools — mainly due to under-enrollment and an excess of capacity. On Sept. 7, Relou reiterated that each school will have a community meeting about the consolidations — one in September, one in October — as well as a one-hour public hearing, all before the Board votes on Nov. 10.

“We just wanted to assure people that we still will have space in our elementary schools for additional students, should they come,” elaborated Relou. She also highlighted a concern about “bubbles” of students and said, “we’ll certainly have enough room.”

Matt Hanks, the GIS manager for the planning and property department of Jeffco Public schools, spoke on the projected amount of children that may come from housing developments the District is aware of in the Jeffco public school area. He highlighted each area impacted by the consolidations, expecting about 192 future students from Bear Creek, 752 out of Green Mountain, 122 from Jefferson, 169 in Lakewood, and 84 projected to come from Wheat Ridge.

Relou also highlighted that class sizes were expected to stay within the agreement made with Jefferson County Education Association — which represents educators in the district — at 18 to 24 students for kindergarten to third grade, and 22 to 30 for fourth to sixth grade.

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