Roaring Fork School District seeks community input for future | PostIndependent.com

Roaring Fork School District seeks community input for future

Public meetings on the future of Roaring fork schools

5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Glenwood Springs Elementary School

5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at Crystal River Elementary School

5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at Basalt High School

Five years ago the Roaring Fork School District asked the community for feedback in creating a vision for K-12 education in the valley. This week, the district is heading back into the community to talk about what is going well in the school system and ask what else needs improvement.

“What we’re really hoping to get is affirmation where we’re on track, redirection where we’re not, and a sense from the community about their vision, about where they’d like to see us go in the next five years,” Roaring Fork Schools Superintendent Rob Stein said.

In addition to several invitational meetings with businesses, students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders, RFSD will hold three public meetings this week starting Tuesday evening.

Each meeting will be conducted concurrently in English and Spanish. The sessions will start with a video introducing the work done in the past five years, then go through a series of questions to gauge what people think about the district and to capture suggestions for the future.

The majority of the initiatives developed out of the 2013 process have been implemented and many have become established routines, according to a June report.

In several areas, the district has reached the highest phase of implementation. For example, the district’s requirement for all graduating high school seniors to complete a capstone project has been so successful that RFSD is co-hosting a symposium in Glenwood Springs Tuesday for educators and administrators across the state who want to learn about creating their own capstone programs.

Other bright spots in the district’s report include “crew,” which are daily, mandatory gatherings of students in small groups, and the Habits of a Scholar initiative that emphasized core virtues the community believed necessary for student success.

Over the past five years, the district has also designed programs to help students learn English as a second language. For the 2017-18 school year, RFSD had the best scores for English acquisition growth in Colorado, as measured by standard statewide test.

Not all the positive results from the visioning process were specific to academic or character-improvement initiatives. A program that offers affordable housing units for teachers and district employees, which voters approved through a special bond, also grew out of the visioning process. By the end of this year, 61 units are expected to be occupied.

The milestones for one section of the strategic vision, however, remain mostly incomplete. The district did not make the same strides on community and parental involvement programs identified in the strategic plan as it did on the education and curricula improvements.

The plan suggested education programs for parents seeking the best ways to support student learning, and developing ways to ensure parents are participating in college readiness programs. Those initiatives were among the few that had not advanced by the June report.

“We still don’t feel like we have an ongoing process for getting enough community voice, and parent voice in our schools,” Stein said. “We really want our parents to have more decision-making in our schools.”

tphippen@postindependent.com