Superintendent's Corner
September 2017
In a recent letter to Steamboat Today, the Steamboat Springs Board of Education recognized that Steamboat’s exceptional quality of life is attracting more and more people to our community. Steamboat Today articles announce emerging housing developments. Aspen Skiing Company acquired the mountain. A hospital partnership was announced this summer. These are all signs of a growing community, as is the growth in the number of students in the Steamboat Springs School District.

You may have seen the August 28th Steamboat Today article , Record freshman class bumps Steamboat High School enrollment to 839 students . Throughout the district, a total of 200 new students, first through twelfth grade, enrolled in our schools at the start of the school year. As I shared with the Steamboat Today reporter, 75 are from other Colorado schools, 94 are from 22 different states, and 12 are from other countries.

Our enrollment currently stands at around 2,620 students. We have more students in our schools than we expected this year; however, both our facilities and our staff are ready to serve and support every student with the individualized and innovative programming and experiences that are synonymous with our schools. Even though we continue to find ways to handle the growth without making major changes, that will not be the case as growth continues into the future.

We are proactively looking at enrollment trends. Traditionally, a district uses birth rates as a primary indicator of future student enrollment. In Steamboat however, we are seeing a growing trend of professionals moving their families into the area. This trend is not as easy to predict.

While we don’t have a crystal ball, we don’t need one to know that we should expect student enrollment to continue to increase in the years to come and that this is something that we must anticipate and plan to accommodate. This fall, our community will have the opportunity to consider basic improvements to the district’s infrastructure (roof replacements, HVAC for Steamboat Middle School, and renovations to Gardner Field). These projects are a precursor to long-term solutions and strategies for our infrastructure that, beyond bridging critical gaps, will serve the needs of our students far into the future. Public funding, however, is just one part of the equation.

Through our strategic planning process, we will be identifying opportunities to do more with what we have. School capacity is a bit of a puzzle. Students, teachers, and classes are all pieces of that puzzle that can be moved around within a building to maximize the instructional space we currently have available. We will be exploring all possible options to meet our current and future needs. As we do so, we will continue to prioritize providing our exceptional educators with the appropriate program space, resources, and support to design lessons and relevant experiences that motivate and prepare students to be productive global citizens with the potential to change the world.

Brad Meeks
Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent