November 7, 2019
superintendent's corner
Dear Jeffco Families & Community,

As expected, this November’s election was a relatively low-turnout affair, with no major state or national political offices being determined at the polls. 

There were three issues that will impact Jeffco Public Schools on the ballot this year. School board races (there were two contested seats open on Jeffco’s five member school board), Jefferson County’s ballot question 1A, and state proposition CC. 

On the school board races, Stephanie Schooley prevailed in District 3 (representing Wheat Ridge and parts of Arvada). In District 4 (representing much of Lakewood) Susan Miller prevailed. 

In the course of this election, much was made about candidates supported by the teacher’s union versus those who brought an “independent” view to our schools. In my professional opinion, this dichotomy dramatically over-simplified the positions and perspectives of all the candidates. Relying on the overly simplistic frame, one candidate from each perspective won this past election.

We are a diverse community in terms of values, ideologies, partisanship, and even geography. The challenge before our new board members (as well as the three members already seated) is how they transition from the work of political campaigning to that of governing and representing the interests of the district as a whole, and the great work going on its schools, to the broader community. 

During the campaign, I presented on three big challenges that the school board will have to confront in the years ahead.

The first challenge is around the district’s instructional philosophy and how that relates to standardized test scores. For the past two years, we have moved our instructional approach to emphasize authentic student experiences that prepare them for life and work. This work is guided by a focus on what we call “ Generations Skills” - content mastery, self-direction and responsibility, collaboration, critical and creative thinking, agility and adaptability, civic and global engagement, and communication. Such a pursuit overlaps with, but is also distinctly different than, a focus on raising test scores. This past year, our growth and achievement scores are lower than they have been in the past. While significant work is already underway in our schools to reverse this trend, our board going forward will need to wrestle with the choice between following through on building an educational experience emphasizing real-life experiences or an approach focused on standardized test scores. 

A second area where the board will need to make decisions is around the size and number of our schools. Jeffco is the second largest district in the state, but we have seen declining enrollment for the past several years. Now, we have many small schools, some enrolling fewer than 200 students. Jeffco has a tradition of supporting small neighborhood schools, but there is a real financial cost associated with keeping those schools open and subsidizing them so they can offer an equitable learning experience to what students in larger schools have. Questions around school closures and consolidations are never easy. They go far beyond building conditions and enrollment trends as schools are often the social and emotional hearts of their communities. It will not be easy, but this is an issue on which our board, as the representatives of our community, will need to engage.

Finally, the board (and this community) will need to determine if it will operate as the representatives of two factions competing for control, or if it is possible for people with different viewpoints and perspectives to work together for the commonly shared goal of a great public school system for our community. Over the past several years, Jeffco has been a national example of divisive partisan politics in local education. Time will tell if we have turned that page.

I wish to personally express my appreciation for all four candidates who ran for the school board seats this year. School board positions are unpaid volunteer roles and we are grateful that four quality people (Stephanie Schooley, Robert Applegate, Susan Miller, and Joan Chavez-Lee) put in such tremendous time and energy vying for these important positions. 

At the county level, Jefferson County’s ballot question 1A asked voters to approve a “de-Brucing” measure that would have allowed the county to keep (and not refund) $16.1 million in revenues collected over the formulaic cap set in TABOR. 

Based on the election results, the voters have spoken and have told the county to refund them the $16.1 million and make whatever budget cuts are necessary. Jeffco Public Schools relies on numerous county services including in the areas of school safety, public and mental health, and a sizable portion of our county’s road system. We will begin planning on some trimming of these services as the county makes the necessary budget cuts.

At the state level, Proposition CC was a request to undo one portion of the TABOR Amendment and to allow the state to “de-Bruce” and not refund revenues collected over the TABOR revenue formula cap beginning with monies collected in the 2019-20 fiscal year. The funds retained by the state would have been used for education (PreK-12 and higher education), transportation (roads and bridges), and transit services.

The voters have also spoken on this matter and directed the state to refund any dollars collected over the TABOR revenue cap. As such, Jeffco Public Schools will begin making budget forecasts for next year and into the future without these incremental funds.

I wish to thank all the candidates and individuals who participated in this election - from being on the ballot, to knocking on doors, or even talking about these important questions with your friends and neighbors. Our representative democracy relies on engaged, informed, and participant citizens to survive. Thanks to all those who honored their civic responsibility by taking part.
Sincerely,
Dr. Jason Glass
Superintendent & Chief Learner

Jeffco students, parents, families, staff, and community members may engage with Dr. Glass via Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, advancejeffco.
DRIVEN TO SUCCESS: TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR WINS NATIONAL AWARD
Collaboration, teamwork, and fun are the mile markers of career success for Jeffco Executive Director of Transportation and Fleet Services Greg Jackson. Jackson was recently named School Transportation News 2019 Transportation Director of the Year. 

Jeffco transports about 19,000 students a day through 773 square miles of Jefferson County in 415 buses over 4.5M miles per year. Managing a team of hundreds of bus drivers, assistants, supervisors, maintenance staff, mechanics, and office support staff through every day transportation issues or big ones like winter weather conditions, is no easy task, but spend a day in Jackson's office, and you will find that his humor, warmth, and collaborative approach make the work feel breezy.

EXPLORE SCHOOL FINDER

School Finder is an easy way to find your neighborhood school and learn about all Jeffco schools and their programs. 

New for fall 2019, School Finder launches with updated information and new features!

Search schools by:
  • neighborhood
  • address
  • school name
  • grades offered
  • academic programs
  • before- and after-school programs
  • extracurricular programs

JEFFCO BUILDS: UPDATE

Wednesday, November 6 was a day to remember at Three Creeks K-8 school in Arvada. Over 900 students, staff, and teachers gathered to celebrate a construction milestone — the completion of the framing for their school addition. For over a week, students added their signature to the final beam. As it was placed, Three Creeks students joyfully chanted “let it fly!” as the large construction crane hoisted the beam to its final placement. 

Their school addition will be ready to welcome new students for the 2020-21 school year.

Learn more about construction projects across the district at www.jeffcobuilds.org.


WINTER WEATHER PROCEDURES
Winter weather has arrived early this year. Jeffco Public Schools takes into account many different factors when deciding to call a snow day or delayed start. We rely on many data sources including CDOT, several weather prediction services, local and area driver-spotters, and other weather and road condition tools. We aim to notify families of our decision by 6 a.m. 

Stay in touch with Jeffco during snow and weather-related events:
  • Jeffco Families: Make sure your info is current and updated in our Jeffco Connect system and please make sure you have opted to receive school communications via email, phone, and text
  • Follow Jeffco Public Schools social media channels
  • Visit the district website page
  • Watch local news TV channels 

The safety and security of our students and staff is always our top priority. 
TEENS AND VAPING:
FREE WORKSHOP

Many teens don't realize that vaping can lead to serious health problems, as with traditional tobacco use. When teens are addicted to nicotine, it can prime the developing brain for cigarette smoking and other addictive behaviors. Learn how to talk with teens about vaping and tobacco by visiting twelvetalks.com.

You are invited to come to Tobacco-Free Jeffco's Start the Conversation Workshop
November 13
Everitt Middle School
3900 Kipling Street
Wheat Ridge
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Free dinner
Childcare will be provided

ED TECH:
DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP

During the month of November, many of our fifth and ninth grade students will engage in digital citizenship learning related to media literacy. The digital age has made it easy for anyone to create content online. However, determining the source, why it was made, and whether it is credible isn't always easy.

As our students increase use of their 1:1 TechForEd devices for research and exploration of topics, media literacy becomes a critical skill as part of civic and global engagement and personal responsibility. 

INNOVATION FUND -
LAST CALL!

Last call for all Student Innovators! The Jeffco Innovation Fund application window closes at midnight on Friday, November 8th. So if you have an idea that will improve the learning experience - consider applying for the Jeffco Innovation Fund today!

Need software? New instruments? Training? Want to start a club? The sky's the limit!

Share it with us and the Innovation Fund might fund it! How can you #InnovateFun?


GOOD NEWS

Recent Jeffco grad Chris Cannizzaro, a 21-yr-old autistic adult, interned with Project SEARCH and has now secured a competitive job that he loves. 

Two Arvada Students featured as 7 Colorado Kids Making a Difference.

Arvada West High School music teacher Chris Maunu selected as 2020 GRAMMY ® Music Educator Semifinalist.

For more good news, visit the Good News Blog and see Jeffco in the News.
happening in jeffco

Staying connected with our families and community is important to us. See the many ways we share news, info, and keep in touch!



in case you missed it

Cafeteria food lines across the school district are debuting a new item - only this one isn't to be eaten. Jeffco Food and Nutrition Services has begun piloting compostable food trays.
important dates

November 8 - Coffee Talk with Dr. Glass & Susan Harmon, Hutchinson Elementary



November 20 -

November 25-29 - Thanksgiving break

facebook live:
civility and respect & suicide prevention

Watch this Facebook Live presentation with Dr. Jason Glass, superintendent, Jody Lang, district receptionist, and Michelle Gonzales, district special counselor, where they discussed issues of suicide prevention, bullying, and the general culture of respect and civility in our community.
jps-tv
Look What You Bought - Charter Schools Get Upgrades

You know that feeling you get when it’s a really special day, say your birthday, or a favorite holiday? That’s what these kids at Jefferson Academy Elementary were feeling as they got to try out their brand new play space for the very first time, paid for with Jeffco voter-approved bond money.

jps-tv sports
Preps with Pleuss

Sports Information Director Dennis Pleuss recaps 2019 sports season highlights.

board of education meetings
Thursday, November 7 , 5:00 p.m., Study Session
Thursday, November 7 , 6:00 p.m., Regular Session

Meetings are held at the Jeffco Ed Center Board Room, 1829 Denver West Drive #27, Golden.
Meeting schedules and agendas are posted on BoardDocs.
district social media
athletics social media