On March 9, our district board of education, district leadership team, and partners from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Education Department met with Colorado State Board of Education to present the district’s comprehensive two-year “Pathways Plan” for improvement.
The State Board of Education heard our presentation and had the opportunity to ask our team questions and share their thoughts. The state board was very pleased with our plan and voted 7-0 to support it. They will be voting in April on a final resolution to approve this plan. Several board members commented that our plan was very thorough and they felt confident that it would lead to improvements in student achievement.
I am grateful for the hard work and support of our board, school leaders, and teachers in this process. I also wanted to personally share with the community some highlights from our presentation:
We’re on the move and making strong progress as a district.
Montezuma-Cortez High School has improved its graduation rate from 65 percent to 85 percent over the past five years. After graduation, 60 percent of RE-1’s graduates are going directly to college or technical schools. Many MCHS graduates have gone on to highly successful careers, in southwest Colorado and beyond. We know RE-1 is preparing students well for college or careers.
We are also proud of the improvements in our elementary schools. Kemper and Manaugh have improved their accreditation ratings, and Kemper has moved all the way up from the lowest accreditation performance rating (Turnaround) to the highest (Performance).
We know we still have work to do, because too many of our elementary and middle school students still are not on grade level for reading and math. These students need to make additional progress each year to perform at grade level and our teachers and principals are working hard to ensure they learn the necessary skills to be successful in reading and math.
We have a plan that will enable us to improve our district and school accreditation ratings within the next two years. We will do this by reducing our drop-out rate, continuing to improve our graduation rate, and ensuring all our students are able to perform at grade level in reading and math.
We know what to do to reach these goals. We will continue to hire, develop, and retain strong teachers who are prepared to provide quality instruction to ensure all our students are learning and achieving.
We will expand our successful Career and Technical Education program and other career-based options in high school as well as ensuring all our students are graduating from high school with the skills they need to succeed in the college or career of their choice.
We will visit high-performing schools across the state that are similar to ours and learn from their practices, and we will expand our efforts to partner with parents and other community members.
We are aiming high for our students and we need your help. We need our parents and community members to encourage all students to arrive at school on time every day and do their best on all assignment and tests.
We need community input to create a long-term vision for our district. What do parents want to see for their students? How can RE-1 help build a strong, vibrant community? We will be engaging community members, parents, students and teachers in a strategic planning process this spring and we would love to hear your ideas for how we can continue to improve our schools and make our district the best rural district in Colorado.
Lori Haukeness is superintendent of Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1. Superintendent Haukeness graduated from MCHS and has been a dedicated leader in Montezuma-Cortez schools for 22 years. Re-1’s’s regular education column will be published in the Journal on the fourth Friday of every month. The next column will run March 24.