D11 Insights

December 2021

Superintendent's Mission Matters

Dear D11 Community,

It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through the year. Perhaps it is the fact that we are seeing 60-degree temperatures in the middle of December, that it still feels like a warm fall, and school is just beginning, or it is the significant challenges we are overcoming as a community striving to create welcoming and supportive schools that are now predominantly all in person. Either way, time is moving fast, and it won’t be long until we are planning for graduations and the 2022-23 school year.

It is said that the greatest battles are reserved for the greatest warriors, and I am proud of the many warriors throughout our community who are collaboratively striving to do what is best for our students each day. Every staff member in D11 is giving it their all and often going above and beyond to do what is necessary to re-acclimate our students back into schools safely, uphold rigorous instruction, and maintain high accountability for students to fulfill their potential.

I recognize we do not do this work alone. Whether it is our business community, faith partnerships, or multiple non-profits to name a few, we highly depend on our community to help ensure our students reach their personal best. Most importantly, it is our partnership with our parents, a student’s first and foremost teacher. We will not be successful without your support, and I want to thank all of you for continuing to lean in with us as we rebound as strongly as possible from the challenges of the past 18-20 months.

As we prepare for a two-week winter break to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, I am doing so with deep appreciation and gratitude for everyone in the D11 community. May you receive the gift of peace and joy this season to carry you through the rest of the school year. I am so blessed to be a part of the D11 community and wish each of you only the best in the New Year!

From my family to yours,

Michael J. Thomas

New Telecommunications Pathway First of its Kind!

D11’s Career and Technology Education program continues to lead the way by offering students amazing opportunities for the future! New in January, D11 will launch the region's first and only telecommunications certification pathway, providing students across the region the ability to be ready to begin a career after high school graduation in one of the fastest-growing and in-demand career fields today. D11 will be the first district in Colorado to offer the telecommunications certification program for all high school students who want to be prepared for a successful future in this fast-growing career field.

We are currently accepting applications, but you need to act quickly as the first classes start on January 5th, 2022. The classes will take place at the Roy J. Wasson Academic Campus. All students at all D11 high schools are eligible for transportation to attend the pathway classes, then return to their school for the remainder of their classes.

Please visit www.d11.org/cte/telecom for details, speak with your student’s high school counselor, or contact the Career Pathways counselor at TAURA.GANDY@d11.org for more information.

The D11 Gifted and Talented Program Receives Top Rating

A recent review of the Colorado Springs School District 11 Gifted and Talented program (GT) by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) ranks D11 among the best programs in Colorado. The statewide five-year Gifted Education Monitoring (GEM) process is a rigorous review that aims to increase the achievement and growth of GT students and educators. The recent GEM review ranks D11 at a 90 percent compliance rate showing significant growth from previous reviews. Due to this ranking, the D11 GT program is a model for other schools and districts around the state.

The GEM review considered feedback from 118 D11 stakeholders consisting of GT teachers, general education teachers, administrators, students, parents/guardians, and community members. Three powerful practices boosted D11’s GEM growth:

  • D11’s GT programs serve the diverse needs of students at all schools with the notion that different schools have different GT student needs;
  • D11’s GT programs are developing culturally relevant instruction, so students see themselves reflected in the learning materials; and,
  • D11 is continually updating the Gifted and Talented Education department for a more equitable distribution of employees.

Gifted and Talented at Colorado Springs School District 11 is committed to providing challenging experiences for all learners that build on individual strengths and optimize academic potential. We provide instructional and affective support and encourage appropriate programming opportunities for highly able students. With four Gifted Magnet Program (GMP) schools, early access for highly advanced students, and a variety of other resources, D11 is proud of the GT program and we welcome students and families in the Pikes Peak Region to learn more at https://www.d11.org/gt.

Mitchell Students Fundraise for D11 Elementary Toy Drive

'Tis the season to give! Mitchell High School students, led by Mr. Dowdy and Ms. Valdez, got the opportunity to give gifts to some D11 elementary students in an event that truly represents the D11 family! Mitchell held a Toys for Tots fundraiser and worked closely with Wilson, Penrose, and Monroe Elementary schools to coordinate the donations. Mitchell students were on-site to deliver some toys to the elementary children. One Mitchell staff member said, "the elementary staff and admin were amazing and we truly loved working with them and cannot wait to make this a tradition moving forward!"

Upcoming Events

  • Winter Break, Dec. 20-Jan. 4
  • Professional Development Day for Staff, Jan. 3
  • Teacher Work Day, Jan. 4
  • Students Return for Second Semester, Jan. 5
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, District Closed, Jan. 17