FROM the DIRECTOR
I am by nature an optimist. I see the best in people and situations, and I generally expect everything will work out just fine…regardless of the situation. However, lately I find myself worried. For the first time in many years, I am worried about the impact of local politics on our funding and, frankly, our future as a successful charter school. I have thought long and hard about writing this letter to the PCK community because I do not want to sound the alarm unnecessarily. What am I so worried about, you wonder?
I am worried about the general tone and intent of the current Board of Education in Douglas County towards charter schools. In the past 5-7 years, we have enjoyed a relatively stable and positive relationship with the Douglas County School District, and we have had very little interaction with the Board of Education. We successfully operate within the school district, serving our population of students and families with excellence, and we generally do not concern ourselves (distract ourselves) with school district politics. Unfortunately, in recent months, I have heard concerns about charters coming from the bi-monthly Board meetings. There seems to be some anti-charter sentiment resurfacing in pockets across the district and among certain Board of Education members. For a district with close to twenty charter schools, this is both surprising and concerning, and I believe creates a situation that bears the watchful eye of EVERY CHARTER PARENT. The Board of Education meets twice per month, usually on the first and third Tuesday evening each month. Meetings are held down in Castle Rock at the Wilcox building, and they are open to anyone. All Board meetings are streamed live, so you can even ‘tune in’ from the comfort of your own home. The meeting agendas are posted on the district website under the Board of Education tab. I strongly encourage PCK parents to listen in and stay informed because much is at stake.
Some helpful background: Since 1993, when the Charter School Act was passed here in Colorado, charter schools have been fighting to establish a solid presence and reputation within school districts. Initially, charter school staff and families were regarded as deserters, critics, and outright threats to the established mainstream school district’s order of business. Charter schools had much to prove and, in Douglas County particularly, charters worked together to plow important inroads within the district. Over time, and with consistently strong academic results, charters in Douglas County established themselves as a strong, viable and growing choice for parents of school-aged children. Consequently, the demand for charter schools within this district skyrocketed. Why is this you ask? I will not attempt to answer the question for you (although I do have my own opinion). I will simply say that this is the critical question the Board of Education should be asking and trying to answer. Why? Because the answer to this question will shed light on what is truly in need of attention/repair/realignment/reconsideration/or elimination within DCSD. Focusing on a mis-perception that charters somehow cost the district more, rob neighborhood schools of students, only take the best and the brightest students, and do not serve special populations of students is simply WRONG, INACCURATE, MISLEADING and DAMAGING to the district overall. Charters have learned many lessons the hard way, and we have much to share that could be of benefit to our district. The problem is no one is asking us. I find myself asking, ‘Why not?’
In addition to keeping a close eye on local DCSD politics, there are a few pieces of charter legislation currently moving through the State Legislature that deserve our attention. In particular, Senate Bill 17-061, which aims to equalize funding and level the playing field for charter schools across the state, recently cleared its first committee vote last week. It will now head to the full Senate for consideration. In the meantime, we need ALL CHARTER SCHOOL parents and supporters to reach out to legislators. I sent an email to all PCK parents yesterday morning with a link to contact Senator Smallwood (link here) and request his support of Senate Bill 17-061.Please take a few minutes to respond as passage of this bill is critical to our funding, both current funding levels and future sources of new revenue.
I don’t want to worry…I think that is a waste of time. I do, however, believe in taking action. Will you please join me in taking action by attending or streaming Board of Education meetings, writing or calling your Senator regarding Senate Bill 17-061, or joining my parent advocacy group (just email me if you’re interested)? The time may come when we need to join our voices with those of other charter school parents across Douglas County. With your help, we can be proactive and prepared! Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Surviving Girl Drama
Tomorrow, Friday – Feb. 24th at 2:00 PM.
Surviving Girl Drama is an informative session for parents…moms in particular. Girl drama is a fairly common occurrence between girls after 3rd or 4th grade, and it can follow some predictable and destructive pathways if not handled properly. PCK School Counselor, Erin McClure, along with PCK’s Character Coach, Dianne Daniels, will host an interactive forum for parents designed to explore this relational dynamic between girls. During the one-hour session, our two presenters will provide information, strategies, and resources to help parents understand how to guide and coach their daughter(s) through these relational rough patches. Come prepared to ask questions, share experiences and lessons learned, and engage with other PCK parents in an open dialogue about this important topic.
Last night’s GRIT Presentation
Learn To Code For Beginners
Elementary and middle school students can learn the basics of programming this Sunday, February 26, from 2:30-4:45 at the Parker Library. The class is for ages 8 and up and is free of charge. Students must bring their own laptops.
LEGO CLUB BACK
Battle of the Books Update
The 5th grade team defeated Lone Tree Elementary 59- 30! The 4th grade team was defeated but are still moving on to the Quarter Finals along with the 5th grade team next week. GOOD LUCK!
In November, Logan White (7th) and Tristan Zimmerman (7th) were selected from the best under-13 lacrosse players in the state to join Team Colorado.
Last weekend, Team Colorado traveled to Irvine, California to compete in the Western Regional Qualifying Tournament. Team Colorado finished the tournament 4-1 and qualified to compete in the World Series of Youth Lacrosse during the July 4th weekend.
Congratulations Tristan and Logan! We’ll be cheering for you and the rest of Team Colorado at the World Series!”
Jacob Morris, an 8th grader at PCK, was invited to attend a US Soccer national training camp in California. He was one of 4 goalkeepers chosen nationally in his age group to attend this camp where he will train and work with US national soccer coaches from the US Soccer Federation.
Soccer Coach Still Needed!
PCK is still in need of a Girls Soccer coach for this upcoming spring season (first game scheduled for March 14). Please contact Mr. Cruz (PCK Athletic Director) for more information. If we are unable to fill the coach position by Friday February 24, the girls soccer season will have to be cancelled.
Lost & Found Tip
Please take a minute to double check the identity on your child’s sweatshirts. Many times the wrong one comes home with students and they need to return it and locate their own. We have many mix ups with sweatshirts.
Thank you to our wonderful parent volunteers who helped put up the art show – Sirin Bojanic, Kendra Repstine, Allison Sampson, Sarah Lewis, Sarah Lastar, Gaudy Jimenez.
To the wonderful hospitality crew the put on a teacher dinner for conferences last week. Thank you so much!