Cross currents

Westminster Public Schools improvement plan approved

Column by Bill Christopher
Posted 5/23/17

The next chapter in the continuing saga of Westminster Public Schools maintaining its Colorado Department of Education accreditation has been unveiled.

The Colorado State Board of Education …

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Cross currents

Westminster Public Schools improvement plan approved

Posted

The next chapter in the continuing saga of Westminster Public Schools maintaining its Colorado Department of Education accreditation has been unveiled.

The Colorado State Board of Education recently approved Westminster Public Schools' Management Partnership Pathway Plan to pursue improved academic achievement. The status of the district's Priority Improvement academic progress remains unchanged per the state board's recent unanimous decision. The school district has contracted with two recognized education organizations to enhance and improve the district's unique Competency Based System

Partners with Westminster spelled out

The Pathway Plan will involve a partnership with AdvancED and Dr. Robert Marzano, both of whome are current partners in assisting the school district.

AdvancED has been working with the district since the spring of last year when this accreditation agency performed a comprehensive assessment of all of the district's schools. After the review, the organization awarded a five-year performance accreditation to WPS. This accreditation is separate from any accreditation awarded by the Colorado Department of Education. AdvancED's role under the new agreement will be to serve as the external accountability partner, to provide key analysis of ongoing educational practices and to provide detailed action plans for the district as needed.

Dr. Marzano has worked with the district in the past involving the Competency Based System. His credentials show that he is a leading researcher, trainer and author on a variety of topics germane to needs of the district. As part of the Pathway Plan, Marzano Academies will open a magnet laboratory school in 2018. According to the district, the professional development and strategies used at the school will be made available throughout the district to staff and schools. I inquired about the costs of these partners' services, but no one from the district has gotten back to me at this time.

Continuing challenges to resolve

So, the challenge continues. It is the same set of environments for the school district and its teachers pertaining to the amount of poverty, mobility of families and lack of English speaking families and students. The district's board and administration are to be applauded for their tenacity and commitment in striving for student academic improvement.

Let's hope that this Management Partnership Pathway Plan will work. As a fallback for the district, the administration acknowledges that the district still has a legal option to use if needed down the road.

Tis the season

While the City of Westminster election for mayor and city council seats may seem "way down the road", the candidates have been lining up since December, 2015. The November 7th mail-in ballot election will include your choice for mayor and 3 city council members. The term of office for current Mayor Herb Atchison and incumbent City Council members Bruce Baker, Alberto Garcia and Emma Pinter will expire in November of this year.

According to Westminster City Clerk Michelle Parker, there are currently two candidates for mayor who have filed - incumbent Atchison and Richard A. Seymour. Seymour originally filed to run for city council back in August 2016, but changed his mind late in January to run for mayor. That seems unusual.

Council candidates aplenty

An interesting change involving Alberto Garcia's campaign took place last week when he announced that he would be withdrawing from running for re-election. A new employment opportunity which requires considerable travel caused him to change his political endeavors.

So, there are three city council seats that will be up for grabs with one of the three incumbents signalling a plan to seek re-election. Emma Pinter has thrown her hat in the ring. With Garcia bowing out, only incumbent Bruce Baker has yet to file. Will he run or call it quits?

In addition to the one incumbent, there are six other candidates who have filed their petitions with the City Clerk's Office: David DeMott, Tyler J. Anderson, David Carpenter, Mark Clark, Christopher W. Stimpson and Jackson Dreiling.

I understand there are at least two or three other potential candidates who have been kicking the tires. It's possible that Garcia's announcement could still motivate others to join the race.

There are some clear issues relevant to Westminster city government which all candidates for the various seats should or will want to address. I will provide some thoughts on the list later in the campaign season.

In the meantime, enjoy your spring, summer and fall.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

Bill Christopher

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