D11 Monthly Insights

A School District 11 Communications Publication

November 2019

  • Superintendent's Mission Matters: Accountability & 5 Essentials Survey
  • Honoring our Country's Veterans
  • 2017 Mill Levy Override Update
  • PPLD PowerPass
  • #iamd11 and #weared11
  • Video: Composting at Buena Vista Montessori
  • Happy Fall Break

Superintendent's Mission Matters

Accountability is a term we often hear associated with public education, but what does that really mean? Simply defined, accountability means being responsible and this is demonstrated in many different ways. In District 11, we ensure accountability in various means such as state assessment results, mill levy oversight committees, financial audits, etc. Unfortunately, accountability is often assumed to be negative, but we do not see it as such. To quote Dr. Eric Mason, the D11 Director of Assessment, “Data ought to be developmental, not judgmental.” When used appropriately, accountability actually can improve performance leading to desired outcomes.

District 11’s primary accountability measure is academic performance of students as measured by state standardized student assessment scores aligned to school performance ranking labels. Though I understand the need to assess for student learning, the negative impact of labeling our schools, which in turn labels our students, is not the best form of accountability; if nothing else, it is a minimalist approach to understanding how our students and schools are performing.

Standardized assessments are a single data point capturing a student’s achievement at a moment in time and this must be considered along with other measures to accurately depict how a student, school or district is doing. In District 11, we pride ourselves on being transparent, including being accountable to our community for demonstrating our ability to provide high quality educational experiences for students resulting in preparing them for college, career, and life.

Using a multiple-measures approach to accountability, we are partnering with U Chicago Impact for the next three years to create a local measure for each of our school communities to assess for an entire school’s readiness to improve. This work is called the 5 Essentials. We will look at the following areas to ensure great outcomes for every school: Effective Leaders; Collaborative Teachers; Involved Families; Supportive Environment; and Ambitious Instruction. During this first year of implementation, we will not have the family component as we familiarize our schools with the tool and better understand how to take action with 5 Essentials data. In year two, we will open the survey to our families so they can also bring a much needed perspective of their experience with D11 schools so that we are able to be responsive to family needs.

Using the 5 Essentials framework, along with our district-level alignment data and student achievement data, we will be able to have a multiple measure approach to being more accountable, guaranteeing the outcomes our students and families desire. This approach also aligns to D11’s vision to be a dynamic, collaborative community of energized educators, engaged students and supportive partners with a passion for continuous learning.

It is truly a blessing to serve as the Superintendent in D11. I look forward to doing great work together! Enjoy the fall break.


Yours in Partnership,


Dr. Michael J. Thomas

Honoring Veterans Across D11

2017 Mill Levy News

The D11 community made a significant investment in our students, our staff, and our schools when it passed the 2017 mill levy override. Today, D11 is making use of those MLO tax dollars and making major positive impacts across the District. One of the items in the 2017 MLO approved by voters was the Comprehensive Support Model. Because of the generosity of our voters, we have already been able to hire many nurses, psychologists and counselors related to the social/emotional needs of our children. We look forward to full implementation of this item by school year 2023.

PPLD PowerPass

Did you know every student in D11 has a PowerPass, which is a digital Pikes Peak Library District card? The PowerPass gives students access to PPLD’s digital resources, like databases, eBooks, and song and movie downloads, all available at ppld.org. Each PowerPass holder can also check out five physical items at a time from any of the 14 PPLD locations or mobile library services!

High school and middle school students can use their PowerPass for online access to live tutors and online foreign language courses. They can also get help with projects and prepare for the future with practice driving and SAT tests.

Elementary students and their parents will benefit from kid-friendly eBook and audiobook access, digital education resources, and in-person classes at PPLD to learn how to write, draw, code, or use
makerspace equipment.

For more information, visit https://ppld.org/PowerPass or inquire at your student's school.
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Tell Your Story #iamd11 #weared11

We continue to share the stories of D11 with our third installment of Tell Your Story: #IAMD11 or #WEARED11. We know that stories stick with us far more than data points, charts, graphs, or other forms of communication, so we created these two hashtags to capture some of these stories shared on social media. Here are a few #IAMD11 and #WEARED11 social media posts.
Food Composting at Buena Vista Elementary School
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