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November 12, 2022 Community Engagement Session

Board of Education Community Engagement Session
November 12, 2022

Thank you for joining us for the recent Board of Education community forum. Please see the tabs below for a list of comments that were provided at the session, as well as questions that were asked and answers that have been provided by district staff. We appreciate your support.

“The counseling staff is overworked. There is a challenge of grant funded positions related to Social Emotional Learning (SEL) services when grant expires.”
“Need to refocus on skills for students.”
“Focus on education not emotion. Example: “Why is math important?” Concerns about some questions being asked of students.”
“Compliments to school board for their work and dedication”
“Concerns for class size and support for kids - need more Paraprofessional and/or teachers”
“Concern with screen time - make it more intentional and limited”
“Support for educating each child - proud of the district”
“Concern about bilingual substitute teachers for dual language classrooms as well as recruitment and retention of dual language teachers.”
“Concern about the decrease of discipline in the classrooms.”
“Concerns about local control and policies being forced.”
“Concern about students fleeing public education for other options.”
“Concern about truly funding schools based on their unique needs.”
“Concern about parent involvement in student transgender questions and support.”
“COVID vaccine vision”
“Transitioning the schools - implementation, notification Healthy Kids survey”
“Safe space”
“Voting policy on opposite sex - policy AC”
“Lost trust in the public school system”

Thompson School District's District Unified Improvement Plan (DUIP) outlines how the district addresses achievement gaps. Along with School Unified Improvement Plans (SUIPs), it is publicly posted on the Colorado Department of Education's School Performance Frameworks website.

To receive feedback from the community and engage the Board of Education in topics and issues of importance and interest.

Thompson School District's District Unified Improvement Plan (DUIP) outlines how the district addresses achievement gaps in underperforming and historically underserved student groups. An example of how the achievement gap was impacted by an equity approach can be seen in Thompson School District's District Performance Framework, where academic growth exceeded state-level expectations for students who are English Language Learners. This helps the entire school district to be higher performing.

The district follows state standards for Social Emotional Learning, which are embedded in the Colorado Department of Education's Comprehensive Health Academic Standards.

Thompson School District strives to partner with parents and families to support student achievement and success in school. Making sure your child is attending school, being aware of/helping with homework, attending parent/teacher conferences, and asking your child about their school day are all valuable ways that parents can help.

Thompson School District primarily uses i-Ready as a beginning, middle, and end-of-year assessment tool to monitor student learning and make targeted instructional plans. The district is currently evaluating the usefulness of other i-Ready applications.

The district addresses the need for educating the whole child through Thompson School District's Strategic Plan and Portrait of a Graduate. The district partners with families, the community, local businesses, non-profits, and its employees to align efforts with holistic student outcomes.

Each year's budget process involves weighing identified needs with a finite amount of resources. Psychologists are generally employed at the district level and then deployed as needed to schools across the district. A focus over the last year has been to fund having counselors employed at each school to provide some level of social/emotional support to students specific to that school.

The district and individual schools offer a variety of ways, both informal and formal committee work, in which parents, teachers, and staff can partner in the work of education. School-based examples include Parent Teacher Associations and School Accountability Committees, while examples of district opportunities include the District Accountability Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, Thompson Educational Equity Council, and others. Check your school and Thompson School District websites for updates on opportunities.

Volunteer opportunities are advertised on social media, on the district website, in newsletters, through print advertising, and at special events throughout the community.

At this time, we do not have any plans to record or broadcast the forums. Comments and questions provided at the forums will continue to be posted on the district website.

In alignment with the Colorado Department of Education's Essential Skills for Colorado Graduates, critical thinking is a key component of developing problem-solving skills. Additionally, critical thinking is part of the Colorado Department of Education's 21st Century Skills in Colorado's Reading, Writing and Communicating.

Material concerns can be brought forward by the process outlined in Policy KEC-E, Complaint About Instructional Materials. This process begins at the school level. To date, none have been received or reviewed at the Board level.

Unless the Board of Education changes a Policy, the Policy remains in place.

As a public school district in Colorado, the State Board of Education is our governing authority. The State Board of Education is governed by Colorado lawmakers. As such, the Colorado Department of Education and we are subject to the decisions and policies upheld by the State Board of Education.

Thompson School District will identify the root causes of teachers feeling overwhelmed and work with principals to improve the working conditions.

Thompson School District has increased its efforts to partner with businesses in various ways. A couple of ways Thompson School District has done this recently are: Thompson's Tomorrows Today (T3) started in the spring of 2022, which encourages career-minded thinking and pathways for younger students. Thompson's Tomorrows Today has had several events this year attended by local businesses. Additionally, during a joint study session with the Thompson School District Board of Education and Loveland City Council on October 20, 2022, the city and school district strengthened its partnership to offer opportunities for Thompson School District high school students to meet Thompson School District's community service graduation requirement through volunteerism with local businesses and non-profits.

The state provides funding for the identification of and service to students on Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs). Occasionally there are private grantors willing to fund special projects for students in the Gifted and Talented program, but we do not depend on these for a constant source of funding.

Please refer to Policy KI: Visitors/Guests to Schools. Colorado no longer requires cursive writing to be taught. Thompson School District does not teach critical race theory.

Information about the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion department and its alignment with Thompson School District's Strategic Plan can be found on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion department page.

Charter schools, including Loveland Classical, are public schools and must meet the same learning standards as established and assessed by the Colorado Department of Education to be accredited. They can choose their own curriculum materials, which must still meet the state learning standards. As such, charter schools' curriculum materials may be different (or, in some cases, the same) as those used in other schools in Thompson School District.

Social Emotional Learning is intended to provide support for students so that they can achieve their full academic potential. Thompson School District will continue to uphold academic growth and achievement as priorities in measuring school district performance. Since Social Emotional Learning is a required component of the Colorado Department of Education's Comprehensive Health Standards, Thompson School District is currently reviewing curriculum material that will meet these state standards. Parent and community input on the materials is solicited as part of this process. Thompson School District expects to have materials on display for input from parents and the community in either the Spring or Fall of 2023.

We uphold the learning standards of the Colorado Department of Education, which are used to evaluate Thompson School District as an entire school district. These include, but are not limited to, on-grade level performance in core academic areas, workforce readiness, and academic growth.

Equity is a work in progress; it is accomplished by striving to understand historical and developing barriers for all students in their educational journey, removing them to the best of our ability, and measuring progress in our efforts to do so.

The budget process already includes analyzing needs specific to each school and budgeting resources to best address those areas. Principals also have discretionary funds available to direct resources to areas they deem necessary.

The number of homeless students is public information. Thompson School District's Administrator of Federal Programs presented this information at the September 21, 2022, Board of Education meeting. It is Discussion item 7.4, McKinney-Vento Update.

The budget process already includes analyzing needs specific to each school and budgeting resources to best address those areas. Principals also have discretionary funds available to direct resources to areas they deem necessary.