DCSD In the News – January 2015

School district reschedules summit — 1/29/15 (Douglas County News-Press)
A three-day event — designed to showcase and share with others the Douglas County School District’s efforts to change education — is planned from Feb. 18-20 with sessions at Lone Tree’s Denver Marriott South hotel and in various schools. The Innovation Summit originally was scheduled for June 2014.

Letter to the Editor: Let others decide — 1/27/15
Food for thought for School Board President Kevin Larsen: If you have to tell people that you’re honorable and genuine, there’s a good chance your actions have not been.

Letter to the Editor: Setting record straight on Douglas County school ratings — 1/27/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
We would like to take a moment to apologize to the students, teachers and staff of our Douglas County School District alternative education campuses for the misleading and derogatory comments quoted in a recent article written by Colorado Community Media reporter Jane Reuter.

Architects show design for new Parker elementary school — 1/26/15 (Douglas County News-Press)
Architects unveiled plans to the Douglas County School Board Jan. 20 for a future Parker elementary school designed to mirror changes in educational philosophy.

Board member sees value in school mosque visit — 1/26/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
A Highlands Ranch middle school trip to a mosque, a long-standing feature of its seventh-grade social studies class, made national headlines after a parent expressed concerns about it on a Denver radio talk show.

Innovative school honored by Apple — 1/25/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
Highlands Ranch’s Redstone Elementary recently added another honor to its growing list of accolades when the Apple computer company named it an Apple Distinguished School.

School board wants waiver from state test — 1/23/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
Though questions still surround the state’s ability to allow it, the Douglas County School Board voted Jan. 20 to submit a waiver from a lengthy standardized March test.

Part 3 of 3: Perspectives vary on information flow — 1/20/15 (Lone Tree Voice)
The longest-standing objectors to the Douglas County School District’s education reform efforts repeat the same concerns now that they did from the start: The board of education and top administrators are too focused on their efforts to set a national model, and not focused enough on constituents’ concerns.

Letter to the editor: School board dodges public opinion, for now — 1/17/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
It’s not surprising that the DCSD Board of Education continues to stonewall on a community survey in spite of lip service since 2013 to the contrary. According to the Strong Schools Coalition (http://strongschoolscoalition.org/issues/parent-survey/), every annual survey since 2009 – when the pro-reform board first came into power – has indicated a steady drop in parent confidence that the district is headed in the right direction, from a high of just over 70 percent of respondents expressing confidence in 2009 to only 38 percent in 2012, the last year a survey was done.

Your Voice: Coincidence or quid pro quo in the Douglas County School District? — 1/15/15 (Denver Post)
Quid pro quo, the Latin term for “something for something” is repeatedly occurring in regards to Douglas County School District. It began several years ago in connection with the highly contentious voucher program. According to campaign finance records, the president of Valor Christian High School, Ed McVaney, contributed $5,000 to each “reformer” candidate in 2009 and $10,000 to each voucher friendly candidate in 2011. Valor would have been the biggest recipient of voucher dollars at $70,912 before the program was halted by the courts and the money returned. Coincidence or quid pro quo?

Local officials share views on constituent concerns — 1/13/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
The Douglas County School Board walks a fine line between listening to its constituents and carrying out the ideals on which its members were elected, board president Kevin Larsen said.

Schools host meetings on capital needs — 1/9/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
Year after year, members of the Douglas County School District’s Long Range Planning Committee have come to the school board with a bleak message: The district’s buildings are deteriorating with time, and the punch list of needed work is growing longer and increasingly urgent.

Letter to the editor: Restoring trust through surveys — 1/9/15 (Highlands Ranch Herald)
Open this paper on any given week and chances are you will see evidence of turmoil within the Douglas County School District. Our community is deeply divided when it comes to the direction and future of education in Douglas County. Reinstating parent, teacher and community surveys is the first step toward healing this divide and restoring trust in the school district.

Vying to have voices heard — 1/6/15 (Lone Tree Voice)
The Douglas County School District’s five-plus years of education reform have made national headlines. But some community members say the district’s extensive communications effort accompanying the changes glosses over their deep concerns, drowning them under a tidal wave of multi-channel messages to parents, district employees, students and county residents.

Are Dougco teachers satisfied? Unlikely — 1/6/15 (Denver Post)
Guest Commentary: The Douglas County School Board’s positive perceptions about programs such as merit-based teacher pay and the resulting culture in the Douglas County School District seem to be much at odds.

Consultant mixed on school changes — 1/2/15 Lone Tree Voice)
The Douglas County School District repeatedly cites Harvard education expert Tony Wagner’s work with the district on what it refers to as “the most rigorous transformation plan in American public education,” but Wagner doesn’t support much of what DCSD has done — including vouchers. He also said he finds pay for performance problematic.