D11 Insights

February 2022

Superintendent's Mission Matters

February is the month when many celebrate love. In D11, we also celebrate National School Counseling Week, February 7-11, but let's not let the love for our school counselors be limited to only one week out of the year! School counselors have a unique and critical impact on our students, helping them achieve academic success and plan for life after graduating high school. School counselors and school-based mental health providers not only provide academic supports, but also social-emotional supports to students. This is so important in today's world as we learn some of the challenges our young people face today.

Addressing one issue our students face is "Challenge to Change," a joint effort between Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, School Districts 2 and 11, Children's Hospital Colorado, and the Colorado Springs Police Department. The initiative seeks to address negative social media behaviors in local youth, encourage parental involvement, and includes a resource website, social media graphics, school communications, and a 7-day "social media break" challenge.

D11 leaders participated in a panel discussion and talked about the increase in negative behaviors including cyberbullying, threats and “planned bullying,” or violent behavior pre-planned using social media as some of the issues plaguing schools citywide. Children’s Hospital Manager of Behavioral Health Thomas Caughlan also cautioned parents about anxiety and depression that can come from the pressures and over exposure to social media. The panel was broadcast live and is available to view on the D11 Facebook page, because we recognize that social media may also be used to spread positive messages, too. To sign the challenge and download social media graphics or find educational resources, visit the campaign website at www.coloradosprings.gov/challenge.

February is also Black History Month, where we recognize and celebrate the breadth of impact African Americans continue to have in America. From the historical contributions developing this great country to the visions of America’s future, it is critically important that we honor voices and perspectives of African Americans. Your students will highlight these aspects in a variety of courses in the District and schools will also host assemblies, speakers, etc. to honor Black History Month. District 11 is proud of the rich diversity that composes our school district and ensures every student is seen, heard, and validated each day.

Yours in Partnership,

Dr. Michael J. Thomas

Jenkins Middle School Designated a National Model for School Counseling Work

We are thrilled to announce that the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recognizes Jenkins Middle School as a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) school! The RAMP designation recognizes schools committed to delivering an exemplary school counseling program. Honorees are awarded for aligning their program with the criteria in the ASCA National Model, a framework for a data-informed school counseling program. Research findings indicate fully implemented school counseling programs are associated with a range of positive student educational and behavioral outcomes.

“This year’s RAMP honorees have shown their commitment to students and the school counseling profession,” said Jill Cook, ASCA executive director. “These schools used data to drive their program development and implementation so all students can achieve success. The RAMP designation distinguishes these schools and encourages school counselors nationwide to strive for excellence.”

Jenkins Middle School will be honored at a recognition ceremony at ASCA’s annual conference in Austin, Texas, on July 11, 2022.

About the American School Counselor Association

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) professional organization based in Alexandria, Va. ASCA promotes student success by expanding the image and influence of school counseling through leadership, advocacy, collaboration, and systemic change. ASCA helps school counselors guide their students toward academic achievement, career planning, and social/emotional development to help today’s students become tomorrow’s productive, contributing members of society. Founded in 1952, ASCA has a network of 50 state and territory associations and a membership of more than 42,000 school counseling professionals. For additional information on ASCA, visit www.schoolcounselor.org.

February is Love the Bus Month

Did you know February is Love the Bus Month? We encourage everyone to show our drivers some extra love during this special month! Our drivers are the first to see children in the morning and the last person children see from D11 at the end of their day. They forge special bonds with our students and #WeAreD11 because of them!

Visit www.LoveTheBus.org to share a story about a special bus driver you know, download free resources to share with our drivers to let them know how much you appreciate them, or simply tell your bus driver you appreciate all they do!

Family School Community Partnership Collaborative Work

At the beginning of this school year, The Colorado Department of Education’s Office of Family, School, and Community Partnerships (FSCP) invited Colorado school districts to participate in a year-long collaborative (August 2021-June 2022). The focus is on strengthening family engagement for positive student outcomes using the FSCP P-12 Framework and Rubrics.

D11 is one of only a few districts participating in the collaborative initiative this inaugural school year. CDE provides the rubrics, framework, and planning documents, as well as support for district questions. After establishing the D11 collaborative group, the team, made up of D11 staff members, El Paso County Health representatives, and parents/guardians established the FSCP rubrics for our school district. Part of this work is to identify strategies and year-end goals based on the rubrics.

One of the goals based on the findings of this team was to conduct a series of listening tour engagement sessions using a restorative practice model called a “listening circle.” The first tour stop was held on February 10 at the Hillside Community Center, where about 40 people participated. The goal of these events is to listen and learn about our families’ lived experiences. In the future, the collaborative team will work from what was learned in order to further strengthen family engagement.

By building trusting relationships with our families, schools, communities, and organizational partnerships, the collaborative team will work to provide successful academic outcomes for all D11 students. Developing inclusive partnerships among these key groups in our school communities will allow the District to open participation for all families, which in turn will pave the way for student growth. Together we will build nurturing school communities using demonstrated strategies that encompass the lived experiences of our D11 families.

Tell us Your D11 Story

Have you read the latest D11 Stories on our blog? If you need a smile and want some good news, we encourage you to spend a few minutes perusing this page!

A good story is unforgettable. In today's digitally distracted world, it's easy to forget statistics, facts, a face, a name...but a story will likely stick with you. In Colorado Springs School District 11, there are thousands of stories to be told! Our goal is to share these impactful stories, while enhancing both internal and external communications throughout D11.

We share the stories contained in our data, but we also share the stories that humanize our school district! Have a great story idea to share with us? Click here to share your stories with us.

Check out our very own Coronado #callsigncougars drone team featured in this U.S. Drone Soccer trailer!

U.S. Drone Soccer 2022 Launch Trailer