Together, we CAN!
Welcome Back to School, BVSD! I hope you had a wonderful and fun Summer Break.
As we welcome students back to our classrooms, we will be continuing our work on the All Together For All Students Strategic Plan, which aims to Inspire a love of learning in every student, Equip them with the knowledge and skills that will help to make them successful and give them the opportunities and connections so that they can Soar after high school in the college or career pathway of their choice.
We are making extraordinary strides in this work by following a pretty simple premise:
Opportunities → Growth → Achievement
Boulder Valley School District has excellent teachers and we have recognized that as they offer students increased opportunities, this naturally leads to growth in our students, which in turn lifts achievement of our children and our schools.
It has been remarkable to watch the results of this work so far. Here are a few of our success stories:
180° Turnaround: Alicia Sanchez Elementary
Last year, Alicia Sanchez Elementary School in Lafayette earned the Governor’s Bright Spot Award because of the outstanding growth of its students. This, only a few years after being labeled as a “turnaround school” by the state because of poor test scores. It was one of four schools to be lifted by targeted support.
By creating opportunities for students through differentiated funding and specialized training for teachers from the experts in the University of Virginia Partners in Education program, test scores have soared.
In fact, thanks to this thoughtful and data-driven work, kids in BVSD are learning and growing at the highest rates in the Denver Metro, according to CDE’s School Performance Framework.
Approaching discipline differently
We are dedicated to ensuring that every student feels welcome, supported and has the opportunity to strive. This isn’t possible when a child is held out of the classroom due to behavior issues – and based on our data our students of color are far more likely to receive stronger punishments for the same infractions.
With a 64% increase in restorative practices at our schools and professional development for our teachers and school leaders around identifying and eliminating implicit bias and discrimination in discipline, we are seeing a reduction in disproportionate discipline when it comes to students being suspended or referred to law enforcement.
Grad Plus creating new pathways after graduation
The world is changing incredibly quickly. You need not look further than the impact AI is having on just about every industry. To be prepared for the future, we know we must give our graduates more than just a diploma, which is why we have developed the Grad Plus framework and new Career and Technical Education pathways and facilities, thanks to the support of our voters last November. Our goal is to increase opportunities for our students to get hands-on work experience, advanced and college courses and to become proficient in more than one language.
In just the past year, we have seen a significant increase in the number of students earning college credits, in part to programs that allow them to earn high school and college credits at the same time and receive their first year of college for free, by remaining enrolled in the district. Some of our students only have about one year of college left by the time they leave BVSD – an incredible leg up and cost savings.
Wellness centers provide additional social emotional support
The Marshall Fire and the global pandemic have had a toll on the mental health of our students. Last year, Monarch High School offered students a Wellness Center – a safe place to gather with a counselor who was there to listen and help as needed. It was a huge success – so much so that we are working with our partners at Impact on Education to expand the program to all of our high schools.
Reenvisioning of summer school prepares students for the new school year
A record number of students (nearly 1,500) attended Summer Summit this year, our improved summer learning program.
Instead of the typical remediation, during the month of June, BVSD teachers worked ahead, previewing this school year’s curriculum, so kids who may have faced challenges are ready to learn alongside their peers as everyone returns to school.
Universal Preschool launches this fall
Finally, we are thrilled that even more young learners will have the opportunity to receive the best early childhood instruction in the state, thanks to the launch of Colorado’s new Universal Preschool Program. The benefit is great when a child builds a strong foundation for learning early.
It is not too late to enroll your child in the Boulder Valley School District, whether you’ve got a preschooler, kindergartener or first through twelfth graders. Simply go to bvsd.org/enrollment learn more and begin the registration process.
I look forward to the school year ahead and the opportunity to share new ways students are excelling because of the work our educators are doing every day here at BVSD.
When we work All Together, we can ensure All Students succeed.
Rob Anderson, Superintendent
Boulder Valley School District