CC4E: Steamboat Springs School District should improve transparency, communication |

CC4E: Steamboat Springs School District should improve transparency, communication

Yampa Valley High School student Angel Ballesteros and Soda Creek Elementary School third-grader Evan Quinn make bookmarks Wednesday morning as part of Students Rebuild's Literacy Challenge
John F. Russell

— A task force studying Steamboat Springs School District accountability and policies is recommending district leaders work to improve communication with the community and show more transparency when making decisions.

The task force, working under the Community Committee for Education, has spent the past several months studying community comments about district accountability and policies and forming recommendations to improve the district.

“The recommendations came from the community,” said Robin Schepper, a member of CC4E and the accountability and policy task force. Other members of the task force are Chris Johnson and Jodie Sandell.

Schepper presented an overview of the committee’s recommendations during a public meeting at Bud Werner Memorial Library Thursday, then asked for public input to help prioritize which specific recommendations to pass along to the school board next month.

“We want to give (the board) something that’s manageable that we think they can do,” Schepper said. “There’s always room for improvement.”

Among the favored draft recommendations related to communication were to improve the district’s annual report to the community and introduce quarterly newsletter reports from district leaders.

Participants favored a recommendation that the district revise its current policy governing acceptance of out-of-district students as a way to minimize overcrowding in Steamboat and impacts to neighboring districts.

Another favored recommendation was to find a way to bring preschool students into elementary school campuses.

Participants thought data could be used to keep class sizes small, reduce standardized testing and develop a more inclusive process for building the district calendar.

Other favored recommendations included improving resources for students affected by drug use and bullying and improving the district climate by revising its system for parents, students and teachers to report issues.

When asked to vote on their favorite recommendations, people showed overwhelming support for recommendations to keep class sizes small and for the district to provide more information to parents about drug and alcohol use.

Schepper said most of the recommendations identified by the task force could lead to district improvements that wouldn’t require a mill levy or bond to achieve.

By making improvements to district procedures now, she said, the district could create buy-in and build trust in advance of a possible mill levy or bond to fund district improvements in November 2017.

Thursday’s presentation will be available on Friday.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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