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From my Inbox: DPS update on Eastbridge Elementary School

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 Leave a Comment

Happy New Year!

We are providing this notice in an effort to answer some of the questions and concerns that we have heard from a few of you, as well as to provide a general update on the topics that we have been discussing in the Eastbridge community over the past few months.

What is the future of the ECE-5 elementary school to be located in Eastbridge (also referred to as Stapleton 4)?
Many of you attended a series of two (2) meetings late last fall to determine the approach for programming at the Eastbridge location.  The options that were presented to the community to consider were: 
  • Support the recommendation of a great proven program (Highline Academy)  - which would allow for knowledge of the school program and school leader before the December-January choice period; or
  • Support the recommendation of hiring a school leader and building a great program from the ground up – realizing that there would be little information known about the school leader or the specific programming details in time for choice, an experience that mirrors that of the start-up of Swigert.
Based on community input, the recommendation was made by DPS Senior Staff and supported by the Board of Education that DPS move forward with hiring a school leader who would lead the charge of developing an amazing school program to meet the needs of the community – with the community's input, of course.  The position was posted and candidates responded from all around the nation!  Later this week, a panel of DPSpersonnel representing a cross spectrum of disciplines will meet with the most qualified applicants.  We will narrow the search down to the top 2 , and then bring them to you for your input.  We will send you information on the finalist in advance, and you will have an opportunity to meet them and ask questions about things that matter most to you.  Your feedback will then be received by the Superintendent as he makes the final decision about the next Stapleton school leader.

Thursday, January 24, 2013
Eastbridge Principal Selection Forum
6pm  - 8pm
SMIS Library

We expect to have a final decision on the new principal by the end of January or very early in February.  Some of the best qualified candidates are currently on assignment in other schools around the country.  While we recognize the urgency of getting the new school programming into the development phase, we are also open to a June start if the principal is the best fit for the school and the community.  

Alyssa Whitehead-Bust (DPS Chief of School Reform and Innovation or OSRI) will serve as the principal supervisor for Eastbridge at least through design and start up, given her team's experience with school design and launch.  With the support of school design consultants, OSRI will begin the Eastbridge school design should the selected school principal not be fully available until June. SUN survey results and input from the community committee will also be an integral part of that design process.  Once on board, the principal will continue the collaborative work of school design/development, approval and implementation.

Where will the Eastbridge school be temporarily located for the 2013-2014 school year?
One of the other variables that we had to contend with during our fall conversations was the need for a temporary school location.  The new school will need to be built, and the new program will need to be in a "seed" or temporary location for the 2013-2014 school year until construction is completed for the 2014-2015 school year.  We indicated that how much space was available in the temporary program location would signal whether we would be able to offer ECE seats in that initial year, or whether the seeded program would serve Kinder and 1st graders only, and add ECE once the school was in its permanent home.

Our facilities team continues to explore temporary locations that would work well.  We anticipate having a confirmed location by early spring.  For those of you that have been anxious to learn about the seed location, please know that our commitment is to let you know as soon as a location has been determined.  Should the temporary location not be within Stapleton (as we are exploring all options in and around the Stapleton area), we will communicate a transportation plan in conjunction with the location announcement.  We are excited about what this new elementary program will have to offer Stapleton families, and we are sure we can make this temporary environment a rewarding experience for our new learners!

Will SchoolChoice forms be due on January 31st even if the school leader, programming information and temporary location have not been determined for the Eastbridge School?
Yes.  We recognize that you have many amazing choices!  Much like families did prior to the opening of SwigertInternational School, you are being asked to consider a school in Eastbridge without knowing as much as do you about some of the other schools that are on your SchoolChoice form.  What you should know is that DPS is committed to working with the community to develop an excellent program at Eastbridge that is second to none.  As a community, you have indicated your willingness to be a part of that process, and we look forward to working with you to make that happen.

The deadline for submitting your SchoolChoice forms is Thursday, January 31st at 4:00PM.

What are the other meetings that will be happening in Stapleton and the surrounding areas soon?
There are a couple of  meetings on the horizon that you should be aware of:
  • The Eastbridge Principal Forum (discussed above) – Thursday, January 24th from 6:00 until 8:00 PM in the SMIS Library
  • Greater Park Hill  / Stapleton (GPHS) Community Engagement Meeting – Wednesday, January 30th from 5:30 until 8:00 PM.  This will be the first in a series of meetings with both the Park Hill and Stapleton communities specifically around middle school programming.  Included in the discussion will be determining the replacement middle school program for the Smiley Building, and discussing the anticipated growth of McAuliffe International School.  The location of the community meeting has not yet been confirmed, but we expect to get that information out to you by the end of the week.
              We are also aware of another meeting (not hosted by DPS) being held in the community:
  • Denver 2A/ Denver Public Schools 3B Discussion – Thursday, January 31st from 6:30 until 8:00 PM in the SMIS Cafeteria/Multi-Purpose Room.  While this is not a DPS meeting, DPS will be a part of the discussion.  Participants will get to hear about how the passing of the 2012 ballot initiatives 2A (City and County of Denver) and 3B (DPS) will be seen in action in the community.
That's it for this update, but you can expect to hear back from us on the location of the January 30th GPHSmeeting, and the details of the Eastbridge principal finalist that you will have a chance to meet on January 24th.  As always, please don't hesitate to let us know if you have additional questions or concerns.  If you would like information in Spanish, please contact Maria Irivarren at 720 423-2070 or click here to send an email to Maria.

Please feel free to share this information with fellow interested community members.