The best view comes after the hardest climb

Monday, July 26, 2021 - 1:00pm
Chris Gdowski with students on computers

Read Superintendent Chris Gdowski's back to school message

As we prepare to embark on the 2021-2022 school year, this phrase is fitting for many reasons. Just ask someone who has climbed one of Colorado’s 14ers. Chances are they’ll have plenty of stories to tell about the views from the summit, as well as the ups and downs of their journey to get there.

Closer to home, our students and staff in the Five Star District are on their own expedition so to speak. The guidepost for their journey is ELEVATE. It's our strategic plan which outlines how we live out our mission of engaging and inspiring all students to innovate, achieve and succeed in a safe environment by ensuring high-quality instruction in every classroom, every day.

Our community identified three goals for elevating student success:

Student Achievement

  • Raise achievement levels for all students and close existing achievement gaps 

  • Increase graduation rate while increasing academic rigor

  • Outperform peer districts

Climate & Culture

  • Students, parents and staff take pride in and feel connected to the district’s positive culture

Social-Emotional Well-Being

  • Know every student by name, strength and need

Adams 12 Five Star Schools is proud to be rated a Performance District for the sixth straight year and to have experienced the greatest academic growth over this time period as compared to peer districts. But we know the work is far from done, and we look forward to building upon this success in the school year ahead.

Priority Investments for the 2021-2022 School Year

We’re making several critical investments for the 2021-2022 school year in support of our three goals.

Peer Connections and Social Enrichment
Reconnecting students to one another and to their school communities is an important foundational step for our students to be ready to immerse themselves in their academic pursuits for the 2021-2022 school year.

About 1,900 elementary students and 400 middle school students across 35 schools in the district participated in summer programming this year to help students reconnect. Our Summer Explores program provided multiple activities and field trips including on-site workshops with Mad Science and Imagine Arts; week-long camps at the Museum of Nature and Science, History Colorado and Young Ameritowne; Night at the Denver Zoo for families; and a Learn and Swim program at Water World.

Accelerated Learning
There is ample data at the district, state and national level that shows the past year had a noticeable impact on learning for some students. Our teachers will maximize their time with students, using effective and efficient lessons to accelerate learning for each student, based on their abilities and needs. In support of this, for the 2021-2022 school year, we are reducing elementary class sizes to better support individualized, differentiated instruction for students; making our math/literacy interventionists full-time so they can provide individualized and small group intervention to elementary students with the greatest learning gaps; expanding staffing support for students with moderate to more significant disabilities; and increasing summer school opportunities for students to earn course credits.

Technology Integration
The pandemic accelerated our deployment of student computing devices and for 2021-2022, the budget includes a significant purchase of devices to replace obsolete equipment, as well as purchase new online instructional materials to support a balanced, “just-right” use of 1:1 technology throughout all levels and content areas. 

I can’t wait to welcome our students back to school in August. Enjoy the remaining weeks of summer vacation with family and friends!