Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Unable to attend an open forum scheduled at 11 a.m. on a workday, I am writing to express concern over the actions and direction of the current board. I understand that new board members may have campaigned with support from community members wishing to remove current superintendent Judy Haptonstall, but this issue is an unnecessary distraction from what should be the true focus of any school board, the improved education of the district’s students.
The motivations to remove Superintendent Haptonstall appear to stem from the dismissal of former Glenwood Springs Elementary principal Sonya Hemmen. The previous school board approved Ms. Hemmen’s dismissal. Is it appropriate to disrupt the workings of the entire district by targeting the superintendent in retribution for Hemmen’s dismissal?
Under the direction of Superintendent Haptonstall, Roaring Fork School District has outpaced other Colorado schools in student growth, with several schools earning the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award several years in a row. Superintendent Haptonstall has roughly eighteen months left in her contract, after which her contract may not be renewed if the board chooses so. If Haptonstall is dismissed while under contract the district will be exposed to the possibility of expensive litigation, which in the districts current financial situation should not be an option. The eighteen months left on Superintendent Haptonstall’s contract should be used to begin the search for the most qualified candidate to replace her. If there are other reasons for the removal of Superintendent Haptonstall these issues need to be made public, especially from board members who campaigned on increased transparency.
Scheduling an open forum on a Monday morning with very short notice is not transparency, it is political maneuvering. Before any decisions are made, the school board must ask itself, does this benefit the students of Roaring Fork School District?
In the wake of the recent mill levy defeat, Garfield School District 16’s board was “disappointed in the voting citizens and in the people who didn’t vote.” I would suggest that “disappointment” better describes the present board’s performance rather than the decision of the voting citizens. Disappointment in a school board that has lost sight of its responsibility to represent the community and hold an administration accountable in the best interest of the students. An administration with no clear vision of what is required to arrest the declining quality of the education it provides. Without accountability and vision, we are reduced to quite simply, “the blind leading the blind.”
Although I am unfamiliar with the elementary and middle schools, after sending both our daughters through Grand Valley High School, and witnessing firsthand the steady decline in achievement, it has become apparent that there is no accountability. A calculus class that requires no homework, lackluster test scores year after year, ACT scores rivaling the lowest on the Western Slope, inflated grades that do not reflect student achievement, and a newly implemented numeric grading system that contributes to the illusion, but in effect only confuses motion for progress. This combined with the vacuum in leadership created by the present principal continues to produce mediocrity.
My girls are through the system, and any attempts at expressing concern are viewed by the present school board as being “malicious and vindictive.” I will advise parents with students presently in the system to stay actively involved, elect a school board with the fortitude to make the necessary changes in leadership required to move forward with student achievement, and demand accountability and results. This will ensure that college bound students leaving GVHS are not left with the misconception that they are prepared for the rigors of college courses and future valedictorians will not come to the realization that “in the land of the blind the one eyed girl is queen.”
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Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., is often seen carrying one of the world’s most widely used pistols: a 9-mm caliber Glock.