by Bob Kennemer
LA VETA — At their regular meeting, La Veta RE-2 Superintendent Bree Lessar provided the La Veta Board of Education with a program on S-CAP, which has its roots in rural school districts. The program evolved out of the Colorado Rural Education Collaborative, when a group of rural Colorado school districts came together to explore a shared desire for more comprehensive student accountability systems.
Five of these districts jointly designed and piloted the Student-Centered Accountability Program (S-CAP). The S-CAP Core districts include: Buena Vista, Kit Carson, La Veta, Merino, and Monte Vista.
Lessar went on to explain S-CAP’s Core Values and results:
1. Accountability systems are designed to emphasize every student and the whole student. S-CAP result: added measures beyond state test scores, including additional academic measures and new learning disposition measures.
2. Accountability means continuous improvement. S-CAP result: integrates the evaluation of the systems intended to support meaningful learning for every student in order to uncover weaknesses and highlight strengths to build strategic plans of continuous improvement.
3. What gets measured and reported gets done. S-CAP result: expanding and enriching what gets measured so the results for students are also expanded and enriched.
Part of S-CAP is the Networked Improvement Community, which is a specific type of network that brings together a diverse group of researchers, practitioners, and experts to work toward solving a very specific problem, in this case: student-centered accountability. More specifically, preparing districts to be part of a peer-to-peer accountability program focused on expanding measures of student growth and achievement.
Lessar then focused on the program’s benefits, which include:
• Annual systems support review by peers focused on district-determined strengths and challenges
• Two opportunities annually to visit other districts with your staff to learn and provide meaningful feedback
• Collective learnings from the S-CAP NIC, including best practices and data-driven strategies, guided by fellow educators, state, and national experts
• Dedicated mentor from the Core S-CAP districts to assist in Pilot Year
Several other benefits were shared by Lessar, with the goal being to help the LVBOE to better understand this novel program and how it can improve rural school districts.
Board president Ed Donovan then discussed the idea of increasing conversations with the community by hosting sessions in the Paradise Coffee Shop with LVBOE members, where a school board member would be available to meet with citizens in a casual atmosphere to discuss school issues. Several board members liked the idea and it will be discussed further.
Cindy Campbell with the LiveWell program informed the board about the benefits of the school’s garden to cafeteria program, stating that the food is fresh and therefore more nutritious. She added another benefit is knowing where the food comes from.
Campbell also serves as the liaison for the school’s wellness committee and discussed the school’s mental health policies. Campbell, who has recently left the BOE, suggested that another board member replace her as there is a need to update the wellness policies.
Once again, Lessar was before the board to review the Claire-Davis Act, which pertains to school and student safety. The act is part of SB 213, which was passed in response to a school shooting and killing of a student at Arapahoe High school south of Denver. The goal is for schools to do what they can to protect students and staff from active shooters. Because of the open campus at La Veta Schools, it is very difficult to restrict access to the school and students. Board member John Albright, who heads the facilities committee, noted this was a primary issue facing his committee.
Lessar explained students are constantly crossing the street between buildings all day long. It is possible that a new campus or a revised/updated campus could correct this exposure.
The board went on to approve travel for members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) to attend the National Western Stock Show in Denver on January 16.