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Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow


We are so excited to have our students and staff back in the classrooms after the winter break. During the new year, I’ve already had the absolute privilege of visiting some of our elementary schools and reading to students. It does not get any better than seeing the eager faces of Kindergarteners as you share with them the wonder of reading.


Core Reading Programsin DCSD

Speaking of reading, at the January 10 Board of Education meeting, principals and teachers from Cherokee Trail Elementary (Parker), Stone Mountain Elementary (Highlands Ranch), and Sage Canyon Elementary (Castle Rock) presented updates on how they are implementing our school district’s new Science of Reading based core reading programs in their classrooms. These programs are already making a significant impact on student literacy at our schools. The principals and teachers who spoke used many words to describe these new programs, including: “stability,” “alignment across grade levels,”“student love of reading and writing,” “teacher collaboration,” and more.


Staff RetentionStrategies: Turning Disappointment into Opportunity

When the Mill Levy Override (5A) was narrowly defeated in November, it was disappointing as we had hopes of using that additional funding to make teacher and staff pay more competitive. While we’re not done working to pass additional funding in the future, we know that right now we must focus on retaining our amazing teachers and staff. We recently announced some exciting short-term retention strategies in hopes of encouraging our staff to stay with us for the 2023-2024 school year. We are able to do this by investing one- time savings from staff positions that were unfilled this year (due to current labor shortages) into our amazing teachers and staff. However,it’s critical to understand that this is only a one-year fix – our need for additional long-term funding to pay our teachers and staff more competitively with neighboring school districts remains.


Transportation Challenges: We Are Listening

We have heard from many of our families about how frustrating it is to have last minute cancellations of bus routes. We absolutely recognize how challenging this is for our families who rely on bus transportation for their students. The ongoing labor shortage combined with our inability to pay competitively compared to other school districts (and other employers) has contributed to us often not having enough staff to run all of our bus routes each day. However, we have heard loud and clear that our families want and need us to prioritize findingsolutions. Even with our limited resources, we have made the decision to increase compensation for our Transportation staff as a step in trying to alleviate this ongoingchallenge. You can help us by spreadingthe word about our need to hire additional bus drivers and transportation assistants. Encourage your networks to learn more about these positions and to apply to be part of our team! www.dcsdk12.org/DriveDCSD


DCSD Board Adopts 2023 Legislative Priorities

Another celebration that I must share is that our Board of Education voted 7-0 to adopt 2023 Legislative Priorities for our school district. At their Board retreat in December they engaged in some amazing discussions about these legislative priorities and worked collaboratively to find consensus on each area of focus.


As you can tell from the above, 2023 is already off to a great start here in DCSD and I’m feeling very optimistic about the future of our amazing school district.


Sincerely, Erin Kane

Superintendent

Douglas County School District

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