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The system performance priority empowers the District to define and measure what matters most

Since the inception of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), there has been a bright light on accountability in American education. In the Douglas County School District, we embrace our responsibilities to our students, staff and community, and welcome quality accountability at all levels and for all aspects of our educational organization.

In 2011, we launched a strategic plan that worked to create the accountability structures, processes and mechanisms we hope to see in American education – accountability systems that measure the most important outcomes from each part of our system. We pushed ourselves to make sure that the accountability systems we envisioned and built were of the highest quality, embraced authenticity, and were focused on rigorous and important outcomes – outcomes expected by our business partners and higher education – and that would serve our students well.

Three years later, we have developed a professional pay system for all employees that embraces quality assessment of the most important things they do for students as the basis of their pay increases. We are also well into the process of creating a balanced assessment system that creates a body of evidence for each of our students on the most important knowledge and skills that they must acquire to be, as Dr. Tony Wagner would say, college, career and citizenship ready for the 21st century. We also ‘broke ground’ on professional pathways for our staff – pathways which provide the opportunity for all staff to grow and promote in ways that are unique to their particular strengths and desires.

We also shattered the dysfunctional and outdated step and lane salary schedules of the past that focused on inputs to drive pay. Instead, we moved to a market-based pay system that starts by paying employees using supply and demand of the market place, and then places their future increases in their hands and the hands of their outputs in our system and for our students.

As we look toward the next three years, we plan to stay the course in developing, implementing and refining our balanced assessment system for students. This includes all of the various system components. We also plan to continue to refine our professional pay system throughout the District. New additions include the creation of district performance reporting mechanisms, a school accreditation process aligned to district expectations, and various communication tools for parents and community members. 

 

Defining and measuring what matters most
-Defining what matters most to our stakeholders
-Developing a cutting-edge System Performance Framework that will measure student, educator, school, leader and District performance
-Integrating authentic measurements that will lead to continuous improvement for our students and allow our stakeholders to remain informed

PARKER- School leaders, educators and students in the Chaparral feeder are coming together to develop an open dialogue about strengthening collaboration and communication within the feeder to best meet the needs of the students and families they serve.

CASTLE ROCK - Last year, the Professional Development (PD) department spent time refocusing and streamlining the kind of training that is being offered to Douglas County School District (DCSD) employees. PD staff began this process in response to feedback from teachers who were expressing a desire to slow down and incorporate more professional development in integrating content, literacy and math.

(From Left: Zachary Davis and Jeffrey Pihl)

CASTLE ROCK- Douglas County is home to the top bus technician in the state of Colorado.

Transportation West Terminal technician, Zachary Davis, won first place in the Colorado State Pupil Transportation Association Summit (CSPTA) technician competition earlier this summer. He now heads to the national competition in Kansas City, Missouri in November.

This semester, a group of Douglas County School District (DCSD) teachers and administrators have worked to review the Continuous Improvement of Teacher Effectiveness (CITE) evaluation tool and have presented a number of changes to District leadership.

District E (Lone Tree & Castle Pines) teachers gave their students a voice, solicited their feedback and discovered what they have been doing for years was no longer working. Students were compliant but they were not engaged. Something needed to change.

The Douglas County School District (DCSD) budget team is among a rare few school districts in the nation that have earned budget awards from both the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). What makes it even better is that this is the second consecutive year DCSD’s budget team has won both honors.

The Douglas County School District (DCSD) has released the results of its recent staff survey, which shows that District employees are not only aware of the District strategic priorities – Safety, Choice, World Class Education and System Performance – they also feel empowered as they make progress on this important work.

Q&A with DCSD Parent Liaison, Kathy Brown

Kathy Brown believes that every parent should have the opportunity to ask questions about Douglas County School District (DCSD), provide feedback, gain direct clarification on issues, and be engaged with their child’s education. In fact, her goal is to problem solve for families and lighten the load for very busy parents.

Feedback received from the public has helped to shape a new and improved Master Capital Plan. The revamped document unveiled this month is intended to better inform decision making, by providing Board of Education members and all stakeholders with easy-to-understand information about the District’s needs, as well as the most efficient use of capital funding. This is especially important, given the significant growth expected in the District over the next 20 years.

In Douglas County, instructional best practices are at the center of the teacher evaluation system.

 In the past, little, if any, thought was put into how students felt about the tests they took. While they are the single most important factor in their own academic success, they were left out of the process altogether. The Douglas County School District  (DCSD) is changing this, seeking feedback during the development of assessments to ensure assessments are not only measuring what they are supposed to, but that they are also engaging the students and providing them with the feedback they need to grow.

If you’ve ever been in a kindergarten class, you know that when children start school they are wide-eyed and excited to learn. Unfortunately, in our educational system, this changes for many students at some point during their school journey.

For most of us, the concept of student testing conjures dreaded memories from our childhoods; those awful pop quizzes, intensive finals and of course sitting down with number two pencils to fill in the bubbles of the state’s standardized tests. This article talks about how student growth does not have to look like this moving forward.

CASTLE ROCK – The Douglas County School District (DCSD) has long said that its goal is attaining and retaining the best employees for our students. A new report shows that we are achieving that goal. 

This week marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day and the Douglas County School District (DCSD) has plenty to celebrate. DCSD is a national leader in school sustainability, which is about more than just being environmentally friendly. It is also about saving money.

When most of us were in school, assessments were a thing to be feared.  Some of us, no doubt, still awake from nightmares of pop quizzes, final exams and standardized tests, as well as those never ending rows of multiple choice bubbles.

While many in education have complacently relied on state-mandated standardized tests to define their performance, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) is building a system that focuses on measuring what matters most, as defined by our Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) and our new teacher and leader evaluations.

 On Wednesday a group of employees, representing just about every school and department gathered together for a sneak peek of the new tool that will revolutionize the way we do business here in the Douglas County School District.

Over the past month, during our series on assessment, we have discussed how unintended consequences have brought us to “testing madness.” We’ve also explored the types of assessments that our teachers and students truly value, even showing how they have been successfully implemented in our schools.

If you want to see balanced assessment at work, Shannon Shelton’s eighth-grade U.S. History class at Cimarron Middle School is usually a great example. Her students often show their authentic learning experiences, like organizing a school-wide celebration of veterans. This week, however, you won’t see a lot.

After a decade of increasing standardized assessments following the passage of No Child Left Behind, it can be hard to imagine schools without testing madness.

 At schools across Douglas County School District, learning has been paused for the past couple weeks as students take the state science and social studies tests, known as the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). Ironically, this and other state standardized tests have become so common that they regularly disrupt the learning that they’re meant to ensure.

pencils

In a unanimous vote, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education passed a resolution to address “testing madness.”  

The Douglas County School District is scheduling a series of parent meetings to inform families about the increase in mandated tests and to capture their concerns over the testing.

When most people think of testing, the first thought probably has something to do with #2 pencils and standardized tests.

District News

ThunderRidge High School Students Celebrate Wish Week

Every year it becomes more obvious how giving students are throughout Douglas County. All nine of the Douglas County high schools identify one week each year to volunteer, fundraise and support the community beyond their own buildings.

Douglas County High School senior Lexie Barker stands atop the podium following the 2017 5A Diving Championships.

Douglas County High School senior Lexie Barker claimed the 5A State Championship in diving on Friday.

ACC's campus in Littleton

An amazing educational opportunity is coming soon to Douglas County. Called the “Collaboration Campus,” the seamless educational pathway will offer world-class secondary and postsecondary education and keep students close to home. The campus is set to open in 2019 in the Meadows subdivision in Castle Rock.