Dozens of parents trickled into the auditorium of Mountain Vista High School the evening of March 28 for one of three meetings across the county aimed at generating discussion about the Douglas …
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Dozens of parents trickled into the auditorium of Mountain Vista High School the evening of March 28 for one of three meetings across the county aimed at generating discussion about the Douglas County School District's future. The goal is to promote what board of education members and district leaders call a “unity of purpose.”
The key question: What is best for students?
Input from families, students, teachers, building leaders and community members will be used to craft a strategic plan that will guide the district's next three to five years.
Many parents say they support the inclusivity.
“I think it's great to be able to have a voice,” said Kelly Maxam, a parent of two students at Eldorado Elementary School in Highlands Ranch. “I think it's important — especially in public education — for everyone to feel that our voices are being heard.”
At each community conversation, guests were split into breakout groups in classrooms, where they voiced concerns and recommendations on topics like mental health, capacity needs, academic rigor and professional development.
Brad Wann, a Highlands Ranch parent, said he would like to see a districtwide closed campus, which would prohibit students from leaving school grounds during lunch.
“It's something our school district should reconsider to keep our students safe,” Wann said in a classroom of about 10 people.
District staff recorded feedback gathered at the three community conversations and forwarded it to a consulting firm, Greenway Strategy Group. The Atlanta-based firm will formulate a data-driven online survey, which will be open to parents and students from April 1-7.
The district will host another set of community conversations in late April and early May to further discuss overarching themes identified in the survey.
“We truly want the voices of all 332,000 folks here in Douglas County," Superintendent Thomas Tucker said.
Over the summer, the district will finalize its strategic plan, with a rollout expected in September, according to Marlena Gross-Taylor, the district's chief academic officer.
“We are going to be coming together,” Gross-Taylor said, “celebrating the great work we've done and the great direction our district is going.”
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