Thu Jun 30th, 2022
Tags: Ignacio Community Library (ICL), Ignacio Elementary School, ignacio high school, Ignacio Middle School, Ignacio School District Superintendent Chris DeKay, SMART Goals, Southern Colorado Community Action Association’s (SoCoCAA), Southern Ute Education Department (SUED)
Both successes and challenges marked the 2021-22 school year. As I reflect on my first year as Superintendent, I understand that preparing children for their future takes true partnership. My continued focus in my tenure will be on establishing collaborative relationships with the community, while creating an atmosphere of high expectations for our students. Despite the educational challenges brought about by the pandemic, there are many things to celebrate as the 2021-22 school year has now ended.
Ignacio Graduating Seniors were celebrated, Saturday, May 28. The ceremony was well attended with a lively and beaming crowd. This group of students needs to be commended for their positive attitude and resilience as they worked through the trying times of the pandemic. The same could be said of the entire student body and staff. There will be a smaller second celebration at the end of the summer in August for those students who need a little extra time to complete the necessary requirements.
Community stakeholders came together to successfully put together a five-year strategic plan. The plan created a new mission statement for the school district: “Together, we will engage, empower, and prepare all of our students for the future.” The statement embodied a commitment by all attendees to work together in partnership to prepare Ignacio students to be successful.
The strategic plan created three to four SMART goals in focus areas that included Academics, Climate and Culture, Staff development and Retention, and District Operations. Each smart goal required a series of action plans to ensure the completion of each goal. The participation, in a series of ten meetings from January to May, by over 80 community members was impressive. The plan will be reviewed yearly in March in a meeting with stakeholders. The board officially adopted the plan at the June 16 board meeting.
Summer activities are in full swing. With the support of the ESSER funding from the federal government, the district has worked with local youth groups to provide both enrichment camps and support for loss of learning due to the pandemic. Southern Ute Education Department (SUED), Southern Colorado Community Action Association (SOCOCAA), the school district, the Ignacio Community Library (ICL), and the SunUte Community Center have collaborated to ensure youth engagement throughout the summer. June activities provided summer school for the high school and weeklong enrichment camps at the schools that include Art and Cooking, STEM, Music, and Theatre. Camp Sasquatch will take place in June and is an overnight trip hosted by the SUED. Bobcat Boost, Kinder Kamp, and Jump Start will occur in August for the Elementary and Middle Schools.
As a result of several surveys to gather feedback from the community, staff, and students, the Ignacio School District moved to change the 2022-23 school calendar to enact a four-day school week. Almost all school weeks take place Monday through Thursday. While the number of student school days is reduced to 146 days, the length of each day will be increased by around forty minutes. The school is working with local youth groups and businesses to provide activities and loss of learning support on 25 activity Fridays throughout the school year. The new schedule also provides staff with consistent professional development days. With the new schedule there must be a renewed focus on school attendance.
With fewer school days, the importance of regular school attendance increases. We are requesting that parents and guardians schedule appointments, family trips, and other personal items on the available Fridays. The district has been working with Southern Ute Education on revitalizing the attendance policy. We ask for both Tribal Council and family support to ensure each of our students reaches a district goal of 93% attendance next year. We will be working to schedule school sports and activities to take place on Friday and Saturday. This will ensure that active students and staff will be in class more as well.
I have no doubt that the upcoming school year will bring new challenges. As a community, facing the challenges together will ensure the best support and the best outcome for our youth. I implore you to continue to work in a positive way with school staff and leaders.
Please access the Ignacio School District Website at www.ignacioschools.org for more information on the 2022-23 school calendar and the strategic plan.