School district wants input on vision for future

School District 51 officials are moving forward with remaking the 20,000-student school district into a model of modern learning, and they’re asking community members to join the process.

That’s the message Superintendent Steve Schultz and other district leaders shared with a group of 50 business owners, district staff, parents and local residents at what was termed a “community visioning” meeting on Wednesday night.

District officials and school board members have sought community input from a variety of groups — roughly 150 people — over the past year to hear what qualities a District 51 graduate should have.

The next step is to share the results with people and hear more about how the district can change, Schultz said.

“We’re working to build context and understanding of why we need to change the system to prepare students for the work world they’re going to be entering, which will be unprecedented,” he said. “We wanted these people to see the information from our focus groups last year and to ask them what should be included in the building blocks for our district’s vision.”

People were invited to the meeting because they are directly involved in education or they have expressed interest in the district, Schultz said.

Gail Yerbic, head of youth services at Mesa County Libraries, said there was a good variety of people and mix of ideas at the meeting.

“I think we’re nailing it, in terms of the qualities we want to see in graduates,” Yerbic said.

She said it’s important for students to “understand their own affinities and be consumers of information.”

“It allows us to construct our lives in a way that we choose,” she said. “The opposite of that is to accept the first Google search result you get.”

Steve Regan, president of the Powderhorn Racing Club and a parent to District 51 students, said he was surprised to get an invitation.

“For District 51 to want my input — I was intrigued, because I’m just an everyday Joe,” he said.

Regan said prosperity, the ability to thrive, and self-sufficiency are important qualities for District 51 students to possess.

“With my own kids, I don’t want to see them be dependent on any certain thing,” he said. “I want to see them take initiative to go out and get what they want in life.”

Information collected at the meeting will eventually be presented to the Board of Education as board members construct the district’s vision statement for the next five years.


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