Teacher issues spark another protest

Parents concerned about ratings, attrition

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For the second time in a week, parents and students protested district-level action outside a Douglas County school.

Saddle Ranch Elementary School parents said they wanted to attend a May 30 meeting at the school with Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen to understand why none of their teachers earned a “highly effective” rating under DCSD’s new evaluation system, but were not allowed to do so.

“Saddle Ranch is a fantastic school,” parent Brenda Greengold said, noting it has John Irwin School of Excellence and Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement awards, as well as Apple Award-winning teachers. “How in the world did we have all of these awards if none of our teachers are highly effective?”

Parents said 18 staff members are leaving the Highlands Ranch school because they’re discouraged by recent district changes.

“You can’t tell me in a school this size that’s normal,” parent Dina Chatwin said. “They’re the voices for our children. It’s time we be the voices for them.”

The evaluations, new this year and tied to teacher pay increases, help establish a teacher ranking, in levels ranging from “highly effective” to “ineffective.”

Parents and students protested May 23 at Trailblazer Elementary School, also in Highlands Ranch. There, district officials reviewed all teacher evaluations after Principal Linda Schneider rated 70 percent of them “highly effective.” District officials said Schneider didn’t follow the same standards during the process as other principals in the district.