school funding security District 11

WENDY BIRHANZEL, HARRISON SCHOOL DISTRICT 2

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma? 

83.3 percent

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma? 

1.5 percent

How many do not graduate? 

2.9 percent

- Advertisement -

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? 

30 have vaped, 70 have used marijuana, 10 have smoked cigarettes.

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances?

We discuss the negative consequences in health class. We have not implemented a specific program at this point, but it is in the works. We have a presentation that will be put together for admin and then released in the upcoming months.

How do you promote training in trades while also keeping college as an option for students who are interested in a degree field?

In Harrison, we have many career and technical offerings, including a complete tech center building. We offer courses such as auto, culinary arts, construction, early childhood, and cybersecurity. Our goal is to ensure students have all options to try out to see what they are truly interested in.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district?  

Each school has trained professionals to be able to administer Risk Assessments (self harm) and Threat Assessments (harm to others) when statements or actions by a student present a level of concern. We have partnerships with AspenPointe, Peak View Behavioral Health, Peak Vista and TESSA. These providers are in place with us for those instances where a student’s needs are greater than can be addressed by school staff.

SCOTT CAMPBELL, WIDEFIELD SCHOOL DISTRICT 3

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma? 

At our traditional high schools, we graduate about 85 percent of our students on time. Overall, students eventually graduate at 92 percent.

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma?

See below.

How many do not graduate? 

Our drop-out rate is less than 2 percent, which means that about 6 percent of students get a GED or some other equivalency.

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? Used marijuana? Smoked cigarettes? 

We do not have data on the number of students who vape, smoke marijuana or smoke cigarettes in our middle or high schools outside our disciplinary reports. Those reports do not specify vaping.

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances?

Our secondary schools address the use of tobacco and other controlled substances in health and science classes, through existing student groups and restorative practices including education and counseling to those who violate school policy and use substances on school property.

How do you promote training in trades while also keeping college as an option for students who are interested in a degree field?

Widefield School District 3 has laid the framework to be flexible in our course offerings to meet the demands of the ever-changing global marketplace. We have a variety of educational pathways for students to take that will help them enter the workforce or continue their educational career.

We have a unique partnership with Peyton School District that has allowed us to expand vocational education and career opportunities for students. In 2017, we opened The MiLL (Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab) which houses a wood manufacturing, construction and welding program. Students in Widefield and Peyton, along with students from school districts in the Pikes Peak region, can take classes in these programs and earn industry certifications to be able to enter the workforce after high school. Additionally, we have partnered with Springs Rescue Mission and Catholic Charities to teach skilled trades to adults.

Many of our students taking engineering classes at the high schools have been able to transfer skills learned over to the trades pathway. For example, engineering students learn how to use computer-aided design (CAD) technology for 3D models or 2D drawings. That same technology is used in manufacturing.

We also offer vocational education and Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes at the high schools, including everything from automotive and catering to business marketing and hospitality. These classes prepare students for post-secondary education as well as the workforce.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district? 

Widefield School District 3 has partnered with AspenPointe and several community resources to provide support to students.

We use restorative practices to address behavioral health in our district. We focus on prevention and intervention by building positive relationships and a sense of community with students.

We also started a Center For Success program that provides general education services to students whose behavior in the school setting causes a substantial disruption which jeopardizes the safety or welfare of self or other students or staff. The program provides a highly structured classroom environment in which students’ behaviors can be more effectively supported. The amount of time in the program varies with each student.

MICHAEL THOMAS, COLORADO SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT 11

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma?

The total four-year, on-time traditional graduation rate in D11 for 2019 was 80.3 percent, which is right in line with the state’s overall graduation rate of 80.7 percent. D11 has experienced seven years of growth for all students graduating, reaching an all-time high of 71.3 percent, which includes our alternative schools as well as our traditional schools. The class of 2019 saw a number of all-time high graduation rates for African American students at 70.4 percent, African American male students at 65.3 percent, White students at 75.2 percent, and economically disadvantaged students at 64.3 percent.

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma?

For the class of 2019, 1.9 percent graduated on time with non-diploma certificate or GED within four years.

How many do not graduate?

District 11 does an incredible job keeping students engaged in the event they don’t graduate within four years of starting high school. Fifteen and a half percent of students are still enrolled from the Class of 2019 and the majority of these students will graduate with a high school diploma within 7 years of starting high school.

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? Used marijuana? Smoked cigarettes?

This data is gathered through the administration of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. The most recently available data is from 2017, however; 2019 data should be made available this spring from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances?

The district is limited in the direct services provided outside of the preventive education provided through the Health Curriculum.

We have partnerships with the following community agencies that offer programming, groups, education and therapeutic opportunities: Teen Court-ADAPT; AspenPointe and Mission Possible Care Coordination Model.

How do you promote training in trades while also keeping college as an option for students who are interested in a degree field?

Helping students recognize their skills, passions and natural aptitudes for a subject matter or career cluster helps keep many career preparatory pathways open for all students. We recognize, on average, adults will change careers more than five times across a lifespan. We must support students’ understanding of what opportunities are available now to meet their career aspirations, which likely require at a minimum certification(s) and at most a Ph.D. Yet we must educate students on how to pivot to new opportunities that align with their strengths and how to access additional learning if required.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district?

Behavioral health supports have been expanding over the last three years with more than 15 school locations partnering with AspenPointe and Thrive Works to provide mental health services to students. The district also recently opened a Family Community Health Center at Mitchell High School that supports the behavioral health needs of our students and families. Our district is keeping our promise to the community by implementing a Comprehensive Student Support Model that is bringing an additional 47 school counseling full time equivalent positions, 10 school psychologist FTE positions, and 4.5 nurse FTE positions to our schools and students. The Comprehensive Student Support Model addresses the growing social and emotional needs of our students in grades K-12. The core elements of this model focus on student Social and Emotional Learning competencies delivered in the classroom to all students. The delivery mechanisms are constant to meet the changing demands and needs of our students. This model directly supports students through preventive and interconnected approaches to enhance student outcomes, with a focus on social/emotional interventions, behavioral supports and health-related needs.

Additionally, our district has introduced the following (not an all-encompassing list, but the highlights):

• Staff are being trained on Trauma Responsive Classrooms

• Sources of Strength anti-suicide initiative

• Signs of Suicide program — 8th and 10th grades

• K-5 SEL curriculum — Kindness in the Classroom▪

• 6-8 SEL curriculum — SecondStep

• 9-12 is under review ▪

• Health Curriculum

WALT COOPER, CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICT 12

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma?  

On average 97 percent of our students are recorded in our four-year (on time) graduation reports to the state.

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma?

We usually only have a student or two complete a GED in any given year.

How many do not graduate?

Our dropout rate is less than 1 percent (0.7 percent to be exact), which means that the remaining students (6-8 in any given year) graduate, it just may take them extra time (another semester or two).

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? Used marijuana? Smoked cigarettes?

We don’t have data on junior high students, but our high school participated in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey and that indicated that 9 percent of high school students reported marijuana use, 24 percent used e-cigs or vape pens, and 22 percent drank alcohol. Note that these are all self-reported numbers.

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances?

We have typical program instruction through our health classes, and if students are caught in possession or using tobacco (or vape) on campus, we offer them the opportunity to participate in an online substance abuse awareness program, but it isn’t mandatory.

How do you promote training in trades while also keeping college as an option for students who are interested in a degree field?

This can be a challenging balance for our district since the vast majority of our students (more than 8 out of 10) choose a college or university path after graduation.  This creates a challenge because it leaves us without a large critical mass of kids around which to design other programs and options. Thankfully we have the availability of the Career Start programs at PPCC, and each year we pay for about 25 students or so to attend career and technical programming at the college. It isn’t as convenient as it would be if all these courses could be offered to our kids on campus, but the large-scale demand simply isn’t there to warrant that level of program investment.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district?

We have focused more on supporting positive mental health in our kids than any other program or issue. Over the course of just the last few years, we have more than doubled our mental health support team (social workers and counselors), we have trained all high school staff and more than 50 parents in Youth Mental Health First Aid, we offer mindfulness and positivity training to all incoming 9th graders and support mindfulness and positive student clubs at CMHS, we have contracted with AspenPointe to provide licensed mental health counseling on campus, as well as a host of other interventions on smaller scales. While most of our evaluation and feedback is anecdotal rather than quantitative (and mostly reported by parents and kids), we really think this work is making a difference. 

ELIZABETH DOMANGUE, MANITOU SCHOOL DISTRICT 14

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma?  

96 percent

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma? 

Zero. We do not have an alternative diploma. We are currently considering all options for students.

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? Used marijuana? Smoked cigarettes? 

Middle school: (2019-20 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data)

Vaped: 2.7 percent (last 30 days)

Used Marijuana: fewer than 3 percent

Smoked cigarettes: fewer than 3 percent

High school: (2017-18 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data)

Vaped: 16.1 percent (past 30 days)

Used marijuana: 19.8 percent (past 30 days)

Smoked cigarettes: 3.0 percent (20 or more cigarettes the past 30 days)

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances? 

We partner with the El Paso County Health Department. to provide cessation programming. We offer a comprehensive 6th-9th grade health program educating students about tobacco and drugs.

Our middle school is involved in the Youth Education and Safety in Schools (Y.E.S.S.) program created by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. This program is conducted with the MSSD14 School Resource Officer and our Health Education teachers.  The program addresses three essential challenges for middle school students: substance use/abuse, teen relations/personal safety, and internet digital safety.

How do you promote training in trades while also keeping college as an option for students who are interested in a degree field?  

We offer pathways where students can explore careers and college. Central to these pathways are work-based learning opportunities. We are a member of the Pikes Peak Business and Education Alliance which enables us to connect with industry partners around the region. Students need to understand the careers available to them in order to select the courses and opportunities needed to attain those career fields. We offer Career Technical Education (CTE), concurrent enrollment coursework and Advanced Placement coursework.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district?  

We have a counselor at each school (two counselors at MSHS), two school social workers, two school nurses, and a school psychologist. Additionally, we have two district-level staff who lead the work of Partners for Healthy Choices. PHC staff and the school Wellness Team Leaders provide support to our staff, students and families. Through PHC, we have a teen group and community group that supports healthy choices in the community and school. Mental Health First Aid training for all staff members in the district, trauma-informed practices for staff members, restorative circle training, teen mental health first aid training for all sophomores (teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA). A district mental health team consisting of all district counselors, social workers, and a school psychologist who meet every other week to support student, staff and family needs. The district also partners with many community organizations (e.g., Concrete Couch, Manitou Arts Center, AspenPointe, Manitou Springs Restorative Justice Council, YMCA, Kiwanis Club, Pikes Peak Library District, The Colorado Springs Conservatory, Peak Education). We also offer exceptional after-school programming through Connect14 that includes classes (for students, staff, families) related to the arts, sports, literature, community, and more.

THOMAS GREGORY, ACADEMY SCHOOL DISTRICT 20

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma? 

93.3 percent

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma?

0.7 percent

How many do not graduate?

0.4 percent

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? Used marijuana? Smoked cigarettes?

Vaping has been a major focus at the high schools in the last two years. The principals have been sending regular communication to families about it and we’ve offered several Parent Academies (sessions open to all families about topics impacting learning, etc.) in the past two years.

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances?

In our middle schools we currently use the curriculum called Project Alert to teach our students about the use of drugs and alcohol. The Sources of Strength program also teaches our students about protective factors in our middle and high schools.

How do you promote training in trades while also keeping college as an option for students who are interested in a degree field? 

Our teachers and counselors encourage students to explore areas of interest and to try new courses, starting in middle school. This focus on healthy risk-taking and flexibility encourages students to make connections and to think differently about future career opportunities.

For example, a student may choose to take the construction trade classes at Liberty, but then find that their passion is more aligned with being an architect or a civil engineer. We are committed to being flexible and allowing students to adapt and grow. Our high schools offer a blend of college prep, such as International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and AP (Advanced Placement) classes, while also providing opportunities to take Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses like Construction Trades, Automotive, CNA, drafting and cybersecurity.

Students from across the district can take CTE classes at Liberty’s new center while also taking college prep courses from their home/neighborhood schools.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district?  

The programs and initiatives we have implemented to help with social and emotional health include RULER (Recognize, Understand, Label, Express, and Regulate emotions) for PreK-12; Riding the Waves for K-5; Signs of Suicide for 6-12; Sources of Strength for 6-12 (currently five middle schools and six high schools); and Gatekeeper Training for all staff. All D20 administrators are trained in PREPaRE – Crisis Intervention for Schools, and 23 staff are certified as trainers for Youth Mental Health First Aid.

In addition, we added 4 SAFE counselors in recent years through a state funded at-risk grant.

The Trusted Adult Campaign helps students identify a teacher, counselor, coach, etc., who makes them feel comfortable.

Through Sources of Strength, we provide training to peer leaders across social groups to help a peer who might be struggling and connect them to help.

We provide ongoing professional learning, resources and support to all district mental health professionals.

We have also received grant funds from multiple organizations for upstream programming to build resiliency in our students, as well as to address mental health challenges in our youth and community.

Colorado Springs Health Foundation (CSHF) has awarded $65,000 in grant funds to support Youth Mental Health First Aid training for ASD20 staff and parents.

Through grant funds from the state’s Attorney General’s Office, we have been able to train 20 of our ASD20 mental health professionals to be trainers for Youth Mental Health First Aid which totals about $35,000. Through grants from the state’s Office of Suicide Prevention, Colorado Springs Health Foundation, CSPD and Sheriff’s Office, we have been able to fund Sources of Strength implementation in all of our high schools and five middle schools.

We have also received funds from the ESSA Consolidated Federal Program for health and wellness ($15,435), Sources of Strength ($5,000), RULER social emotional learning program ($20,000), trauma-informed care ($2,500), and culturally relevant teaching ($8,000). These funds have been used for staff training, supplies, conference fees, subscription to online resources, cost of guest teachers, and purchased services.

Social and emotional health is currently a superintendent initiative. We are therefore measuring the impact of our mental health programs on students and staff.  We are beginning to look at data sources that support our theory that these programs are making a difference. Student focus groups are planned this semester.

KENNETH SOMERS, LEWIS-PALMER SCHOOL DISTRICT 38

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma? 

95.5 percent

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma?

Approximately 0.7 percent.

How many do not graduate?

Less than 5 percent or 0.2 percent — depending on how you read the data, and how the question is interpreted.

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? Used marijuana? Smoked cigarettes? 

The data we keep on student tobacco and vaping violations does not separate the two. 2018-2019 data reports 31 tobacco/vaping offenses. Marijuana offenses for same year is reported as five. Smoked/vaping/using and getting caught are different, so these numbers approximately represent discipline incidents around these issues.

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances?

Our PE/health curriculum does cover use of tobacco and controlled substances. D38 also partners with the health department. They presented at a recent D38 parent information night on vaping. They also provided signs for tobacco-free campuses as a preventive measure. We will be implementing their Second Chance program around cessation/awareness. Additionally, D38 offers an online education component through Edgenuity.

How do you promote training in trades while also keeping college as an option for students who are interested in a degree field?

D38 provides multiple pathways for our students’ success. Partnerships with PPBEA (Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance) and PPCC (Pikes Peak Community College) provide internship and concurrent enrollment opportunities. More information about D38’s offerings through PPCC’s Career Start is available at lewispalmer.org/Page/7195. We recently started a construction career pathway in addition to our online, welding, cybersecurity, cosmetology, coding, robotics, computer, and bio-medical offerings.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district?  

Social-emotional learning at the elementary level is focused on character development. At the secondary level, staff is training on trauma-informed schooling,  to engage in conversations around relationship-building, seeing behavior as communication, self-care for students and staff, and understanding how bias impacts student interaction.

BRETT RIDGWAY, DISTRICT 49

What percentage of your students graduate on time with a traditional high school diploma?

48.8 percent (figures reported by CDE reflecting most recent complete school year; includes non-traditional campuses)

What percentage graduate with a GED or an alternative diploma? 

1.4 percent

How many do not graduate? 

1,230 students did not graduate or complete.

How many high school or middle school students have vaped in the past year? Used marijuana? Smoked cigarettes? 

The district currently does not track these specific statistics. To provide some context, however, two of our high schools, Vista Ridge High School and Sand Creek High School, participated in the (most recent) 2017 Healthy Kids Survey and D49’s results were the same as the state’s: 27 percent of students who state they have used a vape in the last 30 days. So using this example… a high school of 1,300 students x 0.27 = 351 students would have reported vaping in the last 30 days.

Do you have programs to reduce middle and high school students’ use of tobacco or other controlled substances? 

The district does not have a single program; our decentralized model empowers our schools to decide what is the best fit for their campus. For example, Sand Creek High School has SWAT – Students Working Against Tobacco. This is a student based program and has received local recognition. The health classes in middle and high school typically have a drug, alcohol and tobacco segment, but it depends on the school and what curriculum they choose. D49 hosts parent workshops and presentations from Children’s Hospital and El Paso County Public Health for our community.

What efforts are you making to address behavioral health in your district?   

We are committed to working on this high priority item at a variety of levels in D49 to support mental and behavioral health. Briefly, we are incorporating efforts such as staff training in Youth Mental Health First Aid, facilitating community events featuring experts from The Jason Foundation and Healing Our Youth which also incorporate resource fairs for parents, teachers and community. We have increased the number of counselors available at our secondary schools in addition to having two Board Certified Behavior Analysts in the district, along with the deployment of social and emotional learning curriculum at multiple D49 campuses. We maintain a robust partnership with multiple local agencies including AspenPointe to provide mental health therapists on several campuses, who support a nimble response to counseling needs. Peaceful Households and El Paso County Public Health work with us to create ACE’s for Educators training, on trauma-informed care and how teachers and staff can support students’ needs. The D49 mental health team partners with D49’s safety and security team to respond to Safe2Tell reports, following up at our schools for multiple assessment needs to create interventions to support mental health and safety needs. D49 has created a brochure for families who need support on how to better transition a student from treatment back to school. This is being adopted as a model by El Paso County Public Health.