Board gathers input

Forum reviews school policies

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After collecting extensive input from a diverse group of district stakeholders, the task of revising district policies to meet the vision of the community falls into the lap of the Steamboat Springs School Board.

School Board President Paula Stephenson said she's confident input gathered over the past two months won't fall on deaf ears.

"It's not something we'll just let go by," Stephenson said after a seven-hour vision-setting forum for the district. "This was our focus and it's something we'll get done this school year."

More than 60 people attended Tuesday's all-day meeting at Olympian Hall, where hired facilitators led the group through a series of activities to review district policies and goals and establish a revised direction for the 1,900-student school system.

That direction likely will include a vision statement and revised results policies, which include the district mission, virtues and academic achievement statements.

Superintendent Donna Howell initiated the process of re-engaging the community in the school district shortly after she took office in August. Meetings with more than 15 representative groups began in early November, with a variety of district stakeholders, such as business leaders, municipal government leaders, parents, students, teachers and administrators, given the opportunity to participate.

Input gathered from those forums focused on where the community wants the school district to be in three to five years and the most important factors that impact education. That information was synthesized into a report given to all participants in yesterday's forums.

Tuesday's meeting agenda focused on drafting a vision for the district and end results for student achievement and generating ideas for a new district logo and theme.

The 66 people who attended the meeting were separated into groups representing the diverse stakeholder groups and led through a series of brainstorming activities.

District visions created by the groups detail academic achievement, learning environments, social and emotional development, community partnership, preparation for the future and emphasis on staff.

Robin Crossan, a district parent who attended Tuesday's meeting, said she's pleased with how Howell is working with the community and with the spectrum of viewpoints present at the forum.

"Everybody has diverse, interesting ideas," Crossan said. "Everybody isn't on the same page, which is good. I don't think there's anybody here that doesn't care."

Middle school teacher and Steamboat Springs Education Association board member Brad Kindred said the input process has been positive, but what will come of it remains to be seen.

"I think it's good because the (School) Board will get all these perspectives," Kindred said. "We'll see what happens. They have the info so we'll have to see what they do with it. I have hope it will move us into a more cohesive, comprehensive direction."

Howell said she's pleased with how the entire process played out and is hopeful for what it will produce. "The real proof will be in what we do with this," she said.

Howell plans to convene a small group of representatives to review the ideas generated on Tuesday and for that group to "wordsmith" those ideas before presenting them to the School Board for review and possible adoption.


-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234 or

e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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