D11 Insights

August 2022

The Heartbeat of Excellence

A strong heartbeat is one of the most vital health indicators in the human body. At the center of Colorado Springs, D11 serves as the heart of the city, and our pulse can be felt throughout generations! What started in 1872 as a school district of only 21 square miles has grown exponentially to nearly 73 square miles in a city that is ranked one of the best places in OUR country to live. Colorado Springs is buzzing with new venues like Weidner Field and the Olympic Museum, to booming business districts along the Garden of the Gods corridor and downtown, and D11 schools serve all of these veins of the city. This school year, we celebrate the Sesquicentennial year of D11, providing excellent education to HUNDREDS of thousands of students for 150 years and counting.

Excellence is our destination, and I’m thrilled to begin this school year with some developing ideas that will make a big splash for our students and schools. No one achieves greatness alone, so we are leaning in as a staff and community to be the best we can be together! Through strengthening our relationships by building trust, we are excited to see growth in academics and enrollment in D11.

D11 is the Colorado Springs school district, where children have diverse choices only found within our schools. With plans to expand more preschool spaces, extra-curricular options, visual and performing arts offerings, and more, we are shaping a rich future for all students. We are looking into resurfacing our high school athletic tracks and fields to remain competitive when attracting student-athletes, providing school enrollment incentives where the schools may receive additional funding for recruiting new students, and enhancing security features by improving the safety of the school front entrances.

There were several bright spots in the CMAS scores from the 2021-2022 school year, like Jenkins Middle School being in the top three percent of the state’s math growth, Chipeta, Bristol, Academy ACL, and Steele Elementary Schools in the top 25 regionally for achievement in CMAS English language arts, and Chipeta, Steel, Academy ACL, Rudy, Stratton, and Bristol in the top 25 regionally for achievement in CMAS math scores. We also know we have a lot of work to do to bring ALL students to a level of achievement and growth.

This school year, we have an opportunity to achieve academic excellence. We are working to enhance strong support in our schools, like additional coaching and professional development opportunities for teachers. We are committed to providing ALL of our students the strongest instruction daily, rooted in rigor and engagement. On the curriculum side of the equation, we’ve adopted a new K-8 math curriculum that will increase the academic rigor while still fostering and sustaining children’s natural curiosity about mathematics.

Colorado Springs IS the best city to live, work, and raise a family. The heart of this city is The Colorado Springs School District 11, and we have a thriving heartbeat to sustain excellence and growth! I welcome the readers of D11 Insights to help write the next chapter of the D11 story for our outstanding students, staff members, families, and community members by joining us on this journey.


Michael Gaal, Superintendent

Back to School Helpful Information

From school supply lists to start and end times for every D11 school, please visit www.d11.org and click on the "Back to School Information" icon. Open house schedules, the District calendar, free after-school enrichment program information, and much more may be found all on this helpful one-stop web page.

D11 Energy & Sustainability Program

K-12 schools in the United States spend nearly $12.5 billion annually on energy costs, equivalent to 18 coal-fired power plants per year and the second largest expense after teacher salaries. Yet, as much as 30 percent of school energy is wasted!

District 11 and the EPA Energy Star program benchmarks our facilities annually, and the Energy & Sustainability Program works toward reducing that waste. One form of benchmarking is the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) score, using the following calculation: kBtu / SQFT. (kBtu is an energy measure, including electricity and natural gas. SQFT refers to the total square foot measurement inside of a building).

The national EUI average for K12 schools is 48.5; for the fiscal/school year ending June 30, 2022, District 11 maintained a EUI of 76.4. We have much ground to cover to bring District 11’s EUI closer to the national average.

It is the District’s Energy & Sustainability Program’s vision to work collaboratively with the staff and students across the District to achieve improved energy efficiency and environmental benefits through energy conservation measures to include, but are not limited to:

· Turning the lights off when the room is empty or when everyone leaves the room.

· Turning off monitors, projectors, etc., when not in use.

· Unplugging small appliances/devices when not in use. (many appliances continue to use energy even when turned off)

· Minimizing or removing small appliances in the classroom/office such as coffee pots, refrigerators, space heaters, etc.

· Turning off faucets when you see one dripping.

· Report leaking faucets, indoors and outdoors, to the building manager immediately.

· Report broken, cracked windows to your building manager immediately.

· Report drafts to your building manager immediately.

· Keeping classroom doors closed.

For additional information and tips, visit our homepage on the District 11 website.

Telling Our Stories: Meet Jade Schaf

Meet Jade Schaf. Jade is a Mitchell High School JROTC student, dually enrolled with Odyssey ECCO. She recently graduated from the Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy! Mitchell High School is one of 12 schools in Colorado that provides an Air Force JROTC program for students grades 9 - 12. Its mission is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community. Watch the video to see how Jade has benefited through this program!

Everyone in D11 has a story to tell. Let us help you tell yours to our community by clicking here and filling out the form!


Ent Credit Union Offering "Gifts for Teachers"

This year marks Ent Credit Union’s 65th birthday, and to celebrate, Ent is giving $65,000 to deserving teachers across the state through its “Gifts for Teachers” program. Each month, a teacher will be selected to receive a $6,500 gift based on peer and self-nominations.

With many students returning to school this month, Ent is seeking August nominations for teachers in your community who are deserving of an award for all they do to help their students.

“Teachers perform a crucial role in educating and developing our future leaders,” said Annie Snead, Community Advocacy Partner, Ent. “With many considering leaving the profession, we wanted to do something special for them to celebrate 65 years of service in our communities.”

The $6,500 funds awarded to a teacher each month are a gift and can be used however they see fit. This month’s teacher nominations are being accepted through August 31st. Panelists of teachers who now work at Ent review all nominations and select each monthly winner.

The “Gifts for Teachers” program started in March, and since then, Ent has awarded $32,500 to teachers this year. To nominate an educator you know for Ent’s “Gifts for Teachers” program, fill out the submission form here. Be sure to come back each month to nominate your favorite teacher! The program ends Friday, December 30, 2022.