After undergoing a lengthy and rigorous qualification process, The International School at Thornton Middle has earned full authorization from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to offer the IB Middle Years Programme.
The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and to the real world. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement.
Centennial Elementary, Coronado Hills Elementary, Federal Heights Elementary (lunch only), Leroy Drive Elementary, STEM Launch and The Studio School are participating in the Summer Food Service Program for Children and will offer free breakfast and lunch this summer.
The program runs Tuesday, May 28, through Friday, Aug. 9. Breakfast will be served from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be available from 10:45 a.m. to noon at Centennial Elementary and Leroy Drive Elementary and from 11 a.m. to noon at the other four schools. Breakfast and lunch are provided free this summer to children from one to 18-years-old. Adults can eat lunch for $3.
To participate in the program, children need to eat at one of the participating schools. Families do not need to fill out any forms or qualify in any way. The participating schools are there to meet the nutritional needs of all children and every child is welcome.
In accordance with federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability is prohibited.
Discrimination complaints can be filed with the USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave., SW Washington D.C. 20250-9140. Or call 1-800-795-3272 or 202-720-6382.
For any questions concerning the Summer Food Service Program, please contact Nutrition Services at 720-972-6061.
13200 Westlake Dr.
Broomfield, CO 80020
Coronado Hills Elementary
8300 Downing Dr.
Thornton, CO 80229
Leroy Drive Elementary School
1451 Leroy Dr.
Northglenn, CO 80233
Federal Heights Elementary (lunch only)
2500 W. 96th Ave.
Federal Heights, CO 80260
9450 Pecos St.
Thornton, CO 80260
The Studio School
10604 Grant Dr.
Northglenn, CO 80233
Legacy High School ranked No. 15 and Thornton High School ranked No. 20 in the Washington Post’s annual list of Most Challenging High Schools in Colorado.
The Washington Post’s rankings are based on a formula that divides the total Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and other college-level tests given at the school by the number of seniors who graduate that year.
For more information on the Washington Post’s rankings, click here.
Through June 30, 2013, the Adams 12 Five Star Schools Grants Office will coordinate preparation of the annual Consolidated Application for federal education funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) formerly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Parents, community members, teachers, students and other constituents of the Five Star community are invited to contact Title Director Tammy Stewart at 720-972-4140 or Tammy.Stewart@adams12.org, with questions, comments or suggestions regarding the development of the application, budgets, and specific programming to be supported with the grant funds.
Programs under this application include: Title I – these funds supplement instructional and support resources in schools with high concentrations of students from low-income families; Title IIA – funds supplemental teacher and principal training and recruitment programs; Title IIIA – funds supplement language instruction to foster English proficiency for students who are English language learners (ELL).
This month, the Five Star Education Foundation is partnering with Elitch Gardens for Adams 12 Five Star Schools Days.
Elitch Gardens is offering specially priced tickets for $25.99 (face value $45.99) for admission on Saturday, May 11, May 18, or May 24. For every ticket purchased, $4 will be donated to the Five Star District through the Five Star Education Foundation.
Purchase the discounted tickets online at www.tinyurl.com/A12FSEF, or call Elitch Gardens at 303-595-4386 x129.
Kevin Loeffler, a senior at Horizon High School, has been named one of only 40 Boettcher Foundation Scholarship Recipients for 2013. Boettcher Scholars are awarded "full-ride" merit-based scholarships to attend a college or university within the State of Colorado.
Loeffler will attend the University of Colorado at Boulder where he's been accepted into the Engineering Honors Program. He will study Engineering Physics, and hopes to someday start an applied science research company.
To be eligible to apply for the scholarship, each student had to be in at least the top 5 percent of their class and have a combined score of at least 1200 on the SAT or a score of at least 27 on the ACT.
The following is a letter from the Board of Education concerning its desire to have open negotiations with the District Twelve Educators' Association (DTEA) for 2013-2014. For a PDF version of this letter, click here.
April 10, 2013
Dear Five Star staff and community:
As many of you know, Superintendent Chris Gdowski presented his preliminary budget proposal for the 2013-2014 school year at the April 3 regular board meeting. The good news is that the State of Colorado, for the first time in many years, is in a position to increase funding for K-12 schools. This funding is critical in allowing us to invest in programs and services that support student success. While the state still has a long way to go to completely restore K-12 funding to its high point in 2009-2010, it’s a step in the right direction.
In the superintendent’s preliminary budget plan (click here to view the plan), you’ll notice he proposes to allocate $6.4 million for programs and services with high priority needs such as additional teachers to manage class size at the elementary level, additional high school counselors, funding for classroom technology and additional busing for middle school students.
In addition to the funding for high priority programs and services, the superintendent’s preliminary budget plan also proposes to allocate $4.4 million to employee salary increases. The specifics of how that compensation package looks for the district’s three employee groups (certified, classified and administrative) will be determined, in part, through the negotiations process.
As part of the negotiations process for the 2013-2014 school year, the district and the District Twelve Educators’ Association (DTEA) are scheduled to exchange proposals next week on April 18. This will mark the formal beginning of negotiations for 2013-2014.
In the past, the negotiations process has been closed to the public. The board has heard on multiple occasions the desire of parents, teachers and community members to have a more open, honest and transparent process. In honoring the Five Star community’s request, the board of education is committed to opening negotiations to the public starting with the process that begins next week.
Having open negotiations is in the best interest of the district, DTEA and the Five Star community. As you may know, negotiations with DTEA for 2012-2013 went from April 2012 to December 2012. That’s a nine month time span. That is too long for our community not to have information concerning this process – what issues are on the table, where the parties stand on those issues, and what progress is being made. When the process prevents the sharing of accurate information it leads to rumors and misinformation. We are committed to changing that.
While the current agreement with DTEA indicates negotiations will be held in closed session unless mutually agreed by both parties, we are optimistic DTEA will share our belief that opening negotiations is a key step in developing a more open dialogue with the Five Star community on issues that directly impact our schools. As of now, DTEA leadership has indicated a desire to keep negotiations closed to the public.
At the point in time in which DTEA agrees to open negotiations, the public will be able to attend bargaining meetings between the district and DTEA. We would provide information on when and where those sessions would take place on our website.
The board also believes opening negotiations will provide an additional opportunity for the public to learn more about the district’s budget process and the work under way to fine tune and refine this process. For the past year, our staff in finance has been evaluating our current systems and making improvements where necessary. It’s unfortunate that some have tried to malign and put a stop to this process improvement through the spread of inaccurate information, and with dissemination of misinformation designed to generate an emotional reaction rather than build understanding.
Some of the process improvements include the implementation of line item-budgeting. As an example, the district’s historical budgeting practice for employee benefits was handled at the macro level. Past published budgets would reflect total benefits, and not include the detailed information that makes up the benefit package such as the cost of providing employees medical insurance; the cost of funding PERA, the state’s pension system for public employees; and the cost of longevity stipends paid out over five years for retiring certified and classified employees (The stipend is a multi-year commitment that requires the board by law to reserve funding for future payouts in years two through five). Future published budgets will include this detailed information.
Given that education is a human intensive endeavor, and that more than 85 percent of the district’s general fund dollars go toward salary and benefits, it’s important that the Five Star community see this detailed information.
Beyond the 2013-2014 negotiations process, our board is actively exploring better methods of negotiating that we believe will bring our whole community closer together. We have already begun to talk with DTEA leadership about what that might look like.
An open, ongoing and respectful dialogue between all stakeholders in the Five Star District is key to realizing the district’s mission of engaging and inspiring all students to innovate, achieve and succeed. We are hopeful, as we enter this year’s negotiations process, we will all work together, move forward, and leave behind the divisive actions and behaviors of the past several months for the betterment of our students, our schools and our community. Our students deserve nothing less of us.
Our board, our staff, our parents and our community care deeply about our schools. We thank you for your continued support of our schools and we welcome working with you in moving forward.
Mark Clark, President Norm Jennings, Vice President Max Willsey, Secretary
Fred Schaefer, Director Rico Figueroa, Director
Superintendent’s 2013-2014 budget plan invests in additional classroom teachers, counselors, technology and busing
Superintendent Chris Gdowski presented his preliminary budget plan for the 2013-2014 school year at the board of education’s regular meeting on April 3. The plan calls for investing $6.4 million in programs and services with high priority needs: $4.5 million for ongoing investments and the remaining $1.9 million for one-time investments for the 2013-2014 school year.
In addition to the proposed $6.4 million investment in programs and services, the budget plan also calls for $4.4 million in employee salary increases. The specifics of what that compensation package will look like will be determined through negotiations which are scheduled to begin later this month.
The largest and primary factor making these investments possible is that the State of Colorado plans to restore some funding for K-12 education in 2013-2014 that it cut in previous years. For the past several years, the State has used a method called the Negative Factor to balance the state budget. The 2012-2013 Negative Factor for all districts is 16.11 percent. This amounts to approximately $52.9 million less funding for the Five Star District. The Governor’s proposal aims to reduce the Negative Factor to 14.95 percent for 2013-2014.
High Priority Needs
The superintendent’s budget plan for 2013-2014 calls for investment in several high priority areas which include adding classroom teachers, counselors, technology and busing.
- The plan calls for increasing the number of teaching positions available to address class size and programming gaps in grades K-8 that exist after the district has allocated per pupil funding to schools. This pool will increase by 16 teachers from 47 FTE to 63 FTE.
- An additional full-time counselor would be added at Legacy, Mountain Range and Horizon High Schools to bring them more in line with the student to counselor ratios at Thornton and Northglenn High Schools. Without additional counseling support at these schools, the student to counselor ratios would range from 475 to 523 instead of 376 to 435.
- Approximately 5,000 of the 15,000 computers in our schools’ computer labs and classrooms are at the end of their useful life or need to be upgraded. The budget plan includes funding to begin to address this issue by upgrading and replacing aging computers, and in some cases acquiring mobile devices.
- The volume and utilization of mobile devices is exploding, and the district depends on the reliability of its online resources and systems. This requires the district ramp up the network and Internet connectivity to allow for better speed and overall system stability. This budget plan includes an initial investment to begin this work in schools with the greatest deficits.
- Previous budget cuts have reduced busing services at the middle and high school levels. Students and parents have expressed safety concerns with this increased walk distance. The superintendent’s budget plan restores the middle school walk distance to the same level in place before the Great Recession (2 miles to 1.5 miles).
The School Finance Act for 2013-2014 is scheduled to be introduced in the Legislature in the next week or so. Depending on the exact funding determined through the School Finance Act, the superintendent may revise his budget plan. The current legislative session is scheduled to adjourn May 8, 2013.
After considering the superintendent’s budget plan, the board of education will adopt the district’s budget for 2013-2014 in June 2013.
Adams 12 Five Star Schools is pleased to announce its graduation rate for the Class of 2012 increased 5.1 percent to 79 percent as compared to the previous year. The district’s graduation rate has increased the last two years, or every year since the new four-year “on time” formula for calculating graduation rates was established by the U.S. Department of Education beginning with the Class of 2010. The figures do not include the district’s charter schools.
The district’s graduation rate also exceeds the Colorado state average of 75.4 percent as reported by the Colorado Department of Education.
“We believe this improvement is a result of our collective efforts to take a more individualized approach to helping our students graduate on time and prepare for post-secondary opportunities,” said Superintendent Chris Gdowski.
Thornton High School saw the highest percentage graduation rate increase out of the district’s five traditional high schools. The school’s 77.7 percent graduation rate increased 8.8 percent from the previous year.
“We’ve personalized the learning experience for our students,” said Thornton High School Principal Johnny Terrell. “We focus on small learning communities and our ninth and 10th-graders stay with the same core content area teachers for two school years. We also provide academic and social interventions, we extend the learning one class period per day and we use research-based discipline protocol that places a value on building relationships with students.”
Horizon High School, located in Thornton, Colo., had the district’s highest graduation rate of 90.8 percent.
“We meet individually with our students during both their junior and senior year to be certain they are on track for graduation,” said Horizon High School Principal Pam Smiley. “If we determine they are not on track during either year we immediately get them into our ‘Jump Start Junior Program,’ which directly involves parents and/or we connect them to one of our 40 online credit recovery licenses that are directly monitored by a counselor and certified teachers.”
Vantage Point High School and Pathways, the district’s alternative schools, have also helped students in the Five Star District graduate on time by providing additional learning options for students such as credit recovery programs, online and classroom blended-learning courses, night classes and a variety of curricula to support the individual needs of students.
“We personally call a student’s family to share different alternatives that fit their current situation and we make sure students are connected with educational opportunities when they leave our school,” said Vantage Point High School Principal Alan Hollenbeck.
To further boost the graduation rate, the district began implementing an Early Warning System that provides real-time data allowing teachers and school counselors to proactively address dropout risk factors. The Five Star District’s EWS includes a unique “life” category in which factors such as mobility, limited English fluency, homelessness, special needs and the need to work outside the home are used in addition to academic performance to determine a student’s risk of dropout.
“I’m proud of our educators and staff who have worked so hard and demonstrated a commitment to help our students graduate,” said Gdowski. “I believe our continued efforts to improve graduation rates will only add to our schools’ ability to help even more students graduate on time with a diploma.”
The 2012 graduation rate for all of the Adams 12 Five Star Schools’ traditional, non-charter schools are as follows: Horizon High School’s (Thornton, Colo.) graduation rate was 90.8 percent, Legacy High School’s (Broomfield, Colo.) was 90.1 percent, Mountain Range High School’s (Westminster, Colo.) was 89.1 percent, Northglenn High School’s was 73.4 percent and Thornton High School’s was 77.7 percent.
In addition to an increase in the graduation rate, the Five Star District saw its strongest performance ever on the ACT in 2012. The district’s composite score for the ACT was 19.5, compared to 18.6 in 2006.
Adams 12 Five Star Schools serves more than 43,000 students in Broomfield, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster. It is the fifth largest school district in Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Education has awarded five schools in the Five Star District with top academic honors. Congratulations to Meridian Elementary, Hulstrom K-8, Stargate Charter, Arapahoe Ridge Elementary and Tarver Elementary for earning this distinction.
Meridian and Hulstrom earned both the 2012 John Irwin award and the 2012 Governor's Distinguished Improvement award. Stargate earned the John Irwin award. Arapahoe Ridge and Tarver earned the Governor's Distinguished Improvement award.
The John Irwin goes to schools that "exceed" expectations on the 3-year school performance framework’s indicator related to academic achievement and that “meet or exceed” expectations on the indicator related to academic growth gaps. These schools demonstrate the highest levels of achievement not just for some students but also adequate performance across all student groups.
The Governor's Distinguished Improvement goes to schools that “exceed” expectations on the 3-year school performance framework’s indicator related to academic growth and “meet or exceed” expectations on the indicator related to academic growth gaps. These schools demonstrate the highest levels of growth for not just some students but all student groups.