Dolores School District Superintendent
Superintendent Kasper's Winter Report 12/19/2018
Christmas Season in Dolores
“Leave It Better Than You Found It” Is an adage that has been used for decades here in the southwest. It does not imply a criticism of anything in the past, it simply means let your time become meaningful and be mindful of giving more than you received. I am in a position to see examples of selfless acts in every department and school. I see folks going about their duties helping and encouraging one another daily and I marvel at the motivation that draws each of us to serve children and become masters in a profession that uplifts the most vulnerable. I am so proud of the way our staff takes joy in celebrating the achievements of every student, yet they rarely dwell on the significant role they have just served.
This week I was privileged to observe this practice once again. Our High School student government organization under the leadership of Mr. Mellott used their fundraising efforts to take several primary students Christmas shopping. Not only is this a highlight for each student, but also we are exceptionally touched upon hearing that occasionally one of our little ones wishes to forgo their own gift in order to give to someone in their own family. “Dolores Proud” burns bright in DSD! A public THANK YOU to Walmart as well for being a partner.
Dolores is a very special place to many of us. We have the advantage of experiencing all four seasons, the serenity of our quiet flowing river, the splendor of the San Juans, and the solitude that an uninterrupted walk brings into our lives. We are blessed to live among such beauty.
I am proud to announce that I have received a wonderful letter from the Colorado Commissioner of Education. Dr. Katy Anthes. She sent her congratulations to Dolores High School for achieving two awards for school academic performance. The “Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award” is given to only 105 schools in 39 of Colorado’s School Districts The “High School Academic Growth Award” has been awarded to Dolores High School as well. This award has only been give to 8 schools in 6 districts in our state!
Congratulations indeed to everyone!!!
Here are a few happenings that you may wish to be involved in. Each will have an impact on Dolores School District and our community. They are all occurring around the same time period.
Rachael’s Challenge January 7th and 8th The event will be hosted over a two-day period and will be tailored to a specific audience. The world lost Rachael Scott during the murderous rampage at Columbine High School. The Scott family shares her inspirational life story and challenges each of us to make commitments to live a purpose filled life. We will have an all-staff presentation on January 7th at 1:00, an Elementary Student presentation on January 8th at 8:30, and a Secondary Student presentation at 1:00. That same evening we are sponsoring a community presentation of Rachael’s Challenge at the Community Center for our mom’s and dad’s.
Curriculum Audit January 8th – 11th Our school district has made a commitment to “Continuous Improvement”. This effort is being supported by a series of professionally driven audits that give an unbiased look into the critical systems that direct the operations of Dolores School District. To date these audits have been performed:
Financial / Business Department Audit (by the Majors & Hailey firm)
Campus Safety and Security Audit (by the Dept. of Homeland Security, the Colorado Informational Analysis Center and the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department.
We have requested two additional audits, a “Curriculum Audit” to answer this critical question, “What is the present capacity of the Dolores School District to support and provide for high levels of student achievement?” (By the Curriculum Management Solutions Incorporation)
A “Facilities Audit” to answer this critical question, “Do the facilities of Dolores School District meet the safety, security and educational needs of 21st Centaury educational requirements?” If the Curriculum Auditor sends you an audit survey, please consider participating. The larger the audit sample is, the more reliable the data will be. We know we have wonderful schools, but we want to be GREAT! This audit will be helpful in driving our strategic improvement plan forward.
Superintendent Search Process:
On January 7th, a representative from the Colorado Association of School Boards, Mr. John Merriam, will be here in the Dolores Board room. Mr. Merriam is leading the Superintendent search process for the Dolores School Board. His purpose on the 7th of January is to establish focus groups to discuss the qualities and attributes that are desirable in filling the superintendent vacancy for Dolores School District.
At 4:00, Mr. Merriam, would like to meet with all interested staff members who would like to provide input to the board. At 5:30 all interested community members and at 7:00 pm he will be meeting with the Dolores School Board in open session to discuss the full search process and provide a time-line for filling the vacancy.
Please find a link on the main web page to provide feedback in regards to the 20019-2020 school year calendar. Our District Calendar Planning Team consisted of a representative body of concerned staff and parents. They have worked exceptionally hard to stay within the state required parameters and also advocate for locally identified priorities. Both of the proposed calendars will meet the educational needs of the school system. However, as you will see they represent two very different configurations.
As I close this letter I would want you to know that it is a privilege and an honor to lead your school system. The work is all consuming, but the rewards are plentiful as well. Each individual working here in your schools and all these boys and girls have made my life richer. I am so much the better for it! Thank you once again for your trust and support. May each of you enjoy Christmas in the warmth of family and friends.
Phil Kasper, Superintendent of Schools Dolores School District RE-4A
Dolores Proud / Dolores Strong / Dolores Bears
Superintendent Kasper's Fall Report 11/3/2018
There is quite an academic buzzzzz going around DSD these days. Our senior class is comprised of 36 students. As of today there are now 14 in that number who have had their applications accepted into colleges and universities! Our secondary school reports that 62% of all students have earned honor roll status this 1st quarter. At the elementary we have 55% of students in 3rd – 6th grades achieving honor roll status. THANK YOU Mom’s & Dad’s! The direct correlation between parent involvement and students becoming successful learners is astronomical! A big shout of recognition and respect to the hardest working team of professional teachers found anywhere.
Our school system is making progress in the way we apply “Continuous Improvement” to the development of academic skills. The information we ask boys and girls to master over the years between preschool and graduation is routinely referred to as “The Curriculum”. I wanted to define some terms you might be hearing over the span of the year that relate to our work toward improving our curriculum.
Districts often provide sets of resources to teachers that cover a massive amount of information. Taken collectively these resources often reflect about 25 years worth of information that professionals need to synthesize into 14 years of teaching and learning. Curriculum Management is the term used to manage or organize that information into smaller yearly priorities that professionals take responsibility for, usually by grade level or subject level.
Is the term used to define those yearly chunks of curriculum that are organized by subject or discipline between preschool and graduation. (IE) Beginning at preschool and vertically progressing to 12th grade. In essence, those building blocks of curriculum that are aligned and identified as prerequisites from one grade level to the next.
Note: This is the work our District Curriculum Team is currently engaged in. We have a team of 10 professional teachers representing various grade levels that are “Articulating” the English Language Arts and Writing curriculum “Vertically” through the grade levels.
Is the term used for describing the curriculum teachers teach within the same grade level.
Deep Curriculum Alignment
We ask our teachers to cover these three dimensions when planning their units of instruction.
Content - the concepts, skills, knowledge, and needed vocabulary
Context – The mode of student responses, environmental conditions, givens and the task specifications
Cognitive Type – the type of thinking required to complete the activity or assignment
Project Based Learning
This is the process, procedure and methodology of delivering the identified “Curriculum”. These decisions are made at the building level between professionals and their administrator. (IE Our Elementary staff has implemented this design.)
What an exciting fall athletic season!
The Lady Bear volleyball squad is roaring into the district playoffs. The football team gave us much to cheer for and justified our future optimism by getting better each time out. Supporters of Dolores athletics have reason to be proud of the cross-country team for having individuals place in every meet they ran. The state XC results had Dolores runners place 12th and 18th respectively. Congratulations Phillip and Brenan!
I wanted to draw your attention to several quick video clips that have been posted under the “Community Tab” on our website. I receive multiple questions concerning school finance as well as, how does the district benefit from the marijuana industry in Colorado? These video clips provide a great deal of information to answer some of those questions.
As we move into the holiday season my wish for each of you is to be surrounded by the blessings of family and friends.
With Respect, Phil Kasper Superintendent of Schools Dolores School District RE-4A Dolores
Proud / Dolores Strong / Dolores Bears
Superintendent Kasper's Beginning of the Year Slideshow (Aug 2018)
Superintendent Kasper's Introductory Letter (July 2018)
Dear Staff of Dolores School District (July 31, 2018),
I am anticipating the time when I am able to meet each of you. I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions since the board made my selection official. The stream of folks who drop in or call to express their support and give well wishes has been gratifying and I appreciate their optimism.
I have a desire to keep the staff informed concerning the tasks that are ongoing and to give you a peek into areas where effort is being directed to move the organization forward. You will be able to see my bio and how I have spent my career, awards etc. at a later date when I post them on the website. Let me begin by sharing with you some foundational beliefs that I endeavor to hold myself accountable for.
I have always believed in the power of relationships. I believe relationships can motivate all of us to step outside of our daily limitations and do extraordinary tasks for those we care about or reciprocate a kindness extended to us.
I believe in teaching and in teachers. We serve in an honorable profession that seeks to uplift and empower those we serve. We desire wholesome solutions that enhance the positive side of life. I like that.
I believe in continuous improvement. I feel it is important to measure progress by growth, not some artificially imposed benchmark. I believe a district should own its own vertically and horizontally aligned curriculum and have a set of measures that determine if it is effective or not. I believe in empowering teachers to continuously improve the district’s curriculum.
The board of education has approved a Secondary Dean of Students, Mr. John Marchino, Jr. and, Mr. Rick Edwards, as our new Athletic Director. The BOE has also set a retreat date for Aug. 1st. They will be reviewing the current District Strategic Plan and I am asking the board for consideration of two policy revisions that could be enacted after the required 3 readings (budget carryover and a curriculum management revision).
I am bringing in a class titled “Curriculum Development” - this is a foundational class to the Curriculum Management Process. Those who are able to attend will have a head start in understanding how to improve student success by managing the curriculum students are exposed to. This year the district will be taking a leadership role in vertically aligning (12th through pre K) the curriculum by content strands. I anticipate we will begin with ELA and Writing as our focus strands this year.
The date is set for our initial experience. If you are able, please reserve Thursday Aug. 2nd and Friday Aug. 3rd to join with me in this district-wide initiative. I realize you are off contract and I have no desire to have anyone change family plans; however, an off contract stipend of $125.00 per day will be offered for those teachers who can attend. Classified staff which provide direct services to students are included in this invitation. The daily off contract stipend for the classified staff is $80. Please e-mail Mrs. Arnett if you are able to attend. This will facilitate the materials we will be using together as well as the stipend amount.
I feel the need to explain the suddenness of this offering. Between the lateness of my own starting date and the last minute opportunity to secure our trainer’s services I jumped at the chance to bring this cutting edge process to Dolores. It is my deepest hope that some of you have the flexibility to attend this training with me. I believe so thoroughly in the philosophies of Deep Curriculum Alignment that they have become the foundational underpinnings of any district improvement initiatives I use. Please consider joining your colleagues and me for a delightful learning experience this coming Thursday and Friday. The dress is summer casual and lunch will be on your own. We will be learning together beginning at 8:00 in the board room, so bring your smiles, laughter, expertise and wildest introduction story.
I am very excited to meet you and connect names with faces.
With Much Respect, Phil Kasper