Weekly Superintendent Update, Oct. 1

Weekly Superintendent Update, Oct. 1
Posted on 10/01/2021
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It is National Custodian Appreciation Day this weekend!! We want to give a big thank you to Pete Apodaca, the leader of our custodial services, and all of his staff members for all that they do day in and day out, year in and year out!! Some of our staff members work all day, and others at night, to keep all of our schools and offices in clean and excellent working condition so that none of our schools are negatively impacted by any events or illness. Words can’t adequately express how much we appreciate them and all they do each and every day!!  They are an incredible group of people. If anyone reading this is looking for a job, please remember we have openings in this department and many others, so if you are interested in joining this excellent group with great health benefits, please contact our Human Resources Department!

Weekend Activities

I hope you all have fun plans for the weekend and want to share with you a few events for the weekend. If you and your family are looking for something to do, the Colorado West Marching Band Festival will take place this Saturday, Oct. 2, at Stocker Stadium. It will be such a pleasure to see each of our high school marching bands back in action two years after the last Colorado West Marching Band Festival. All of our marching band and color guard students and their teachers and coaches have done an amazing job preparing for this moment!

Also this Saturday, you can take a tour of Grand Junction High School at noon. There will be another tour at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. Please take this opportunity to tour the building and see current building conditions in person.

If you have a high school student interested in looking at college and career opportunities, please see the attached flyer for the Virtual Western Slope College and Career Fair this weekend. The registration information is on the flier. You can explore many opportunities from your own home with this virtual event, which includes colleges and universities from our area, as well as across the United States.  

Free COVID-19 School Screening Testing Program

District 51 is in the process of enrolling in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s free, voluntary, and statewide COVID-19 school testing program for the 2021-22 school year. This new program will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide a major convenience for parents; those who consent to on-site testing when their child is symptomatic will no longer need to pick up their children to get them tested elsewhere and keep them home until their results come back. The state will provide schools with Binax tests that provide results in 15 minutes and trained school staff will administer the tests. Testing is open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

There are two separate categories to the Binax testing program. When you fill out the online enrollment form, you can select whether you’re consenting to symptomatic testing, routine testing, or both.
Symptomatic Testing - Any student or staff member who experiences COVID-19 symptoms while at school can go to the school health office for a Binax rapid test for COVID-19. Anyone who wants to be tested will first have to fill out an online enrollment form, and students under the age of 18 can only be tested if their parents provide their consent on the online enrollment form. Links to consent forms for each school will be posted soon in the COVID-19 section of the D51 website.
2) Routine Testing - In order to participate in the state’s Binax testing program, schools must offer the option of voluntary, weekly testing. Routine testing will be available to D51 staff and students who have filled out the online enrollment form. Again, parents/guardians of students under the age of 18 will need to fill out the online enrollment form and provide their parental consent on the form.

More information about this program will be sent by email to all families and staff when the online enrollment links go live.

CMAS Growth

District 51 was the largest school district in Colorado to remain open throughout the 2020-21 school year, and results of 2021 testing indicates that in-person learning made a difference in student growth. When looking at how much a student grew in their performance on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) tests from 2019 to 2021, District 51 students on average learned more in two years’ time than students in the rest of the state in both Math and English Language Arts, contrary to some reports recently mentioned in the Daily Sentinel by some candidates.. 

Growth data compares the same cohort of students over time. So, for example, growth looks at how a fourth-grade class performed in 2019 and again as sixth-graders in 2021, rather than comparing 2019 fourth-graders to 2021 fourth-graders. We are so proud of all of our students, and the growth they have made over the past couple of difficult years!

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