Superintendent Messages

Covid Protocols for 2021-22 SY
As we shared earlier this summer, DCSD is planning to return to as normal as possible learning environments this school year (more details below). DCSD will also welcome back parents and visitors into our schools this year! I am thrilled to kick off the new school year and look forward to our community staying healthy and well.
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Announcement: Deputy Superintendents, SPED Services Officer
I am pleased to announce that we have selected three individuals to serve as Cabinet members for the Douglas County School District. Due to recent vacancies and resignations, I have been working to restructure our leadership team and am thrilled to announce that Danelle Hiatt and Andy Abner will serve as the new DCSD Deputy Superintendents, while Sid Rundle will serve as the new DCSD Special Education Services Officer.
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Thank You From Interim Superintendent Corey Wise
I hope you have felt the love from your students, families, and peers this week as we have celebrated our phenomenal employees. As we reach the end of Employee Appreciation week and near the end of a school year that has been like no other we have faced, I can’t help but to reflect on how our amazing teachers, substitute teachers, and all of our staff and employees continue to make DCSD the special place we know and love.
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Minimizing COVID Exposures in Schools
We sincerely appreciate the flexibility of our DCSD families and staff this year as we navigated the COVID pandemic and moved throughout different learning platforms. We are incredibly grateful to finally have all grade levels back for full, in-person learning five days a week.
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DCSD Response to Recent Violence
Our hearts are broken for the families and friends of the victims of yesterday’s shooting in Boulder, as well as the victims of last week’s violence in Georgia.
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DCSD presents plan to return students to full-time, in-person learning
Since last summer, it has been the goal of the Douglas County School District Board of Education and leadership to return students to full in-person learning as safely and effectively as possible. COVID-19 data and its impact on DCSD’s ability to offer full-time, in-person learning for middle and high school students has been continuously monitored and shared. We have listened to the diverse voices of staff, students, parents and community members, as well as guidance from our public health partners. Our elementary students were amongst the first in the Denver/metro area to return to full, in-person learning on January 5. In early February, our middle and high school students transitioned to In-Person/Hybrid 2.0 in which synchronous (live) learning was improved and enhanced.
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Vaccine Update to Community
We are excited to share that our teachers and other student-facing staff are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and many have appointments coming up very soon! We are working diligently to coordinate with local vaccine providers to make appointments available to Douglas County School District (DCSD) staff as supply allows. We are thrilled to see our efforts gain momentum as many of our educators and other staff have received vaccination invitations from Kaiser Permanente, Centura Health, Children’s Hospital and others, and many of our staff members have appointments for the first dose of the vaccine as early as this weekend or early next week. The COVID-19 vaccine provides another layer of protection for our staff members and provides some predictability in our planning for next steps.
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Welcoming Our Middle and High Schools to In-Person/Hybrid 2.0 Learning
Last night, the DCSD Board of Education approved staff recommendations to return our middle and high schools to In-Person/Hybrid 2.0 learning effective Monday, February 8. We look forward to welcoming and transitioning our middle and high school students back into our schools. We are confident that we are prepared to transition our students and staff back into our schools for an In-Person/Hybrid 2.0 learning experience!
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Second Semester Update
I hope you are enjoying the winter break and finding time to connect with family and friends. I am reaching out with an update in regard to our second semester plans.
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Happy Holidays 2020
I want to wish you and your family a very happy and relaxing holiday season and Winter Break. This has certainly been an unprecedented and challenging year, but seeing the dedication our parents and staff have to our students has made it very worthwhile. I truly hope you can take some time to connect with one another over the break.
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Return to School Plans
As you know, state and national health experts and elected officials have been stating that students should be in school even as positivity rates are at high levels in our communities. We agree that schools are safe and the COVID-19 transmission rates in schools are low, but health experts and elected officials fail to address the real reason why schools are not open: schools do not have enough staff members available (including substitutes, bus drivers and nutrition services personnel) to support in-person learning at every level five days per week. This is mainly due to staff members being ill with COVID-19 or other seasonal illnesses, or being included in quarantines.
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DCSD Names Chief Technology Officer
It is a pleasure to share that Mark Blair will serve the Douglas County School District (DCSD) as our new Chief Technology Officer (CTO), effective immediately. Mark is a dedicated technology executive with proven expertise, both technical and educational. He joined DCSD 25 years ago as a technology teacher. Since that time, he has held various roles in the DCSD Information Technology Department, most recently as the Director of School Technology. Mark also led the implementation of Google Apps for staff and students in the district, and managed the acquisition and hands-on distribution of 10,000 computers and hotspots to staff and students at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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High School Grading Update
Many of our high school principals have raised concern about what they refer to as the “COVID Slide.” While our teachers are working harder than ever to keep their students engaged and to help them succeed, DCSD is still seeing a significant slide in student grades. As you know, grades are especially critical for our high school students when it comes to postsecondary plans, whether that be getting accepted into a college or university, applying for scholarships, or other plans after high school.
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Post-Thanksgiving Remote Learning Plan
As we approach Thanksgiving Break, I want to let you know how incredibly thankful I am for your support and patience as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been one of the most challenging school years the Douglas County School District (DCSD) has ever faced. The perseverance and dedication of our families, students and staff has made me even more grateful to serve as your Interim Superintendent.
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Moving to Remote Learning after Thanksgiving 2020
We are continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 data in our community, as well as positive cases and the number of quarantines in our schools. At the DCSD Board Meeting on Tuesday we discussed that data was trending towards a change in Douglas County’s status to Level Orange on the CDPHE COVID-19 Dial. Today, we learned that Douglas County’s status will, in fact, be moved into Level Orange effective Friday, November 13 at 5:00 p.m. This comes with increased restrictions for our community and our schools.
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Honoring Our Veterans and Active Service Members
Today, I am proud to join with you in honoring our veterans and active service members. I especially want to thank the veterans across the Douglas County community, including some former DCSD students, and some current DCSD staff members. Thank you for all you have done to provide each one of us with our freedom and safety.
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COVID-19 Update: November 2020
We have important information to share about the status of COVID-19 in our community and what it means for our schools. At this time, the Douglas County School District is NOT moving to full remote learning (nor are we moving our elementary schools back to the hybrid learning model). However, the current COVID-19 data in our community is quickly trending in the wrong direction. It appears that tomorrow our Decision Dashboard score will have dropped for the second week in a row. While this Dashboard is not the sole basis for our decision-making regarding DCSD’s learning models, it is an indicator that we may need to start preparing for a possible shift back to remote learning in the not-so-distant future if things do not turn around soon.
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Updated COVID Quarantine Protocols
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently updated its COVID-19 guidance for cases and outbreaks in child care and schools, which allows school districts, under certain circumstances, to be more targeted in determining which students and staff to place on quarantine if a positive case of COVID-19 is identified in a school or classroom. Effective immediately, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) is revising its quarantine process to reflect this updated guidance. DCSD will continue to implement comprehensive health and safety processes and work to reduce the number of quarantined students and staff by using targeted contact identification when possible.
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October 19 Message from Mr. Wise
First, it is an absolute honor to serve as your Interim Superintendent. I have served my entire career here in the Douglas County School District (DCSD), my children have attended DCSD schools, and my wife and I reside in Douglas County. My roots here run deep, and I feel a very personal stake in ensuring that our students, families, and staff feel heard, and share in the pride that I feel in our amazing school district.
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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Catherine Franklin, Interim Compliance Officer, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado,, 720-433-1285. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.