Community Impact Forum: State of Education

September 02, 2021
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On August 20, 2021, the Arvada Chamber of Commerce hosted The State of Education with Jeff Public Schools Superintendent Tracy Dorland. This presentation covered the plans and strategies for the 2021-2022 school year and an update on recent district data and opportunities for the future.

Below, find a video recording of the event, audience Q&A, and additional resources.

Video Recording:

Speaker Bio:

Tracy Dorland has served as a committed public educator for 21 years. She started her career as an elementary classroom teacher and has also served as a reading interventionist, instructional coach, and principal.

In Denver Public Schools, Tracy served as a principal supervisor, Executive Director of Educator Effectiveness, and Deputy Superintendent. Most recently, Tracy has served in Adams 12 Five Star Schools, first as the Chief Academic Officer and then as Deputy Superintendent. Tracy’s experiences also include service on the Colorado State Council for Educator Effectiveness and previous membership with the Aspen Institute’s Urban Literacy Leaders Network. Tracy is committed to creating district-wide systems and high-quality implementation of those systems so that teachers and school leaders have the supports they need to do their best work for students and families.

Audience Q&A:

1. Do you know the demographics for charter and other non-traditional schools vs traditional students?

2. What support are Charter Schools getting from the Board + District? Do the stats shown include Charter Schools?

The district does not have reports that compare the demographics of charters to non-charters.

Articulation area breakouts are the closest match:

We don’t have grade level or race/ethnicity reports by those breakouts.

3. How do we know that the state tests are well written and appropriately measure what standards have been taught? Have any strides been made in removing the ethnic bias in the questions on the CMAS?

On CDE’s website, CMAS technical reports are posted. These technical manuals outline the methods for test item development/test construction, validity and reliability, alignment and claim structures related to the Colorado Academic Standards, as well as how potential bias and sensitivity issues are addressed through content and bias reviews.

4. What are the factors that have caused the flat or declining test scores? Who is responsible for these results and their improvement?

In the district’s draft Unified Improvement Plan which is scheduled to be approved by Jeffco’s board of education in October 2021, root causes for the district’s academic performance are described, as well as major improvement strategies that designate key personnel and resources that are responsible to complete the action steps. Each school has developed a similar Unified Improvement Plan with root causes, major improvement strategies and action plans.

5. Will the Board of Education be asking voters for a tax increase in the coming year?

Not for the 2021 election.

6. Some might hear the negatives & use them as an excuse to tear down public schools. How do we encourage people to continue to support public schools?

This is a challenging question because there is not one clear answer. The district is committed to community relations and advocacy for public education. These efforts are focused on informing, engaging, inspiring our stakeholders about the positive work and progress in our public schools. We see amazing work in our schools every day however about 70% of Jeffco residents do not have students in the school system so they do not have direct contact with “how school works” now vs when they attended school. And, unfortunately, the bad news gets the most press. We encourage all our Jeffco residents to reach out to their local school to find out more information about the programs and services offered. When Covid restrictions lift, visit our schools, ask for a tour, attend a play, band/orchestra/choir concert, sporting event, or even a spelling bee. Our students are doing incredible things and we think you would be impressed. Our volunteers and supporters in the community are what keep Jeffco schools moving toward the future and we can only get there by working together in partnership.



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