D11 Monthly Insights

A School District 11 Communications Publication

December 2018

  • Superintendent's Top of Mind: Celebrate!
  • 2017 MLO Update: Kindness Campaign
  • Student Spotlight: Madison Hysell
  • Award: 2018 Gazette Best Workplaces
  • Making the Most of the Moment at Howbert Elementary
  • Event: Winter Break

Superintendent's Top of Mind: Celebrate!

“Celebrate good times, come on!” Am I the only one who will never get those song lyrics out of my head? Perhaps it is because I grew up during the era of Kool and The Gang, or that it is probably a commonly sung song everywhere, especially karaoke!


All joking aside, when do we as educators give ourselves permission to CELEBRATE. In the wake of accountability, I think many of us, myself included, get bogged down with focusing on where we are not doing so well. It is important to focus on our opportunities to do better, but there are a lot of great things happening we must also recognize…AND CELEBRATE.


As a learning organization, we need to recognize when greatness occurs because it inspires others to do the same. As we go into our winter break and spend time celebrating the season with family and friends, let us not forget about CELEBRATING the moments within our district that make us who we are.


I am proud to serve as the Superintendent of School District 11, and even more proud to CELEBRATE our students, staff, parents, and community. My best to you all.


Yours in partnership,


Dr. Michael J. Thomas

2017 Mill Levy Override Update

At Penrose Elementary, kindergarteners are taking Project Based Learning (PBL) to a new level with their “Kindness Project.” Each project begins with a driving question that guides the students as they strive to brainstorm solutions for positive community change. Penrose kindergarteners have already contributed to the school’s community garden this year and are looking forward to making an impact on a much larger scale. The “Kindness Project” will include kindergarteners collaborating with One Nation Walking Together, a small non-profit assisting Native Americans, as well as local community organizations to provide hats, mittens, toys, socks and water as an act of kindness to those who might need a little boost this season. Ask any Penrose kindergartener and they will tell you, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” This project supports the newly implemented “Kindness in the Classroom” curriculum, which was introduced and made possible with funds from the 2017 mill levy override.

Student Spotlight: Madison Hysell

Madison is a sixth grade student at Mann Middle School. Her nominator writes, "Madison is an incredible student! Her teachers all say she gives her best every single day. Madison always helps and she is a sweet, extrodionary person. Madison deserves to be in the student spotlight." Congratulations Madison! Keep up the good work! If you'd like to nominate a student for the Student Spotlight, click here to submit your nomination.

D11 Voted a Gazette Best Workplace for the Second Year in a Row!

In July and August, the Gazette opened the second annual Best Workplaces survey for employers in the Pikes Peak region. This survey was sent to all D11 employees again this year, and we are thrilled to accept the third place award in the extra large category with over 299 employees. D11 was notified that for the second year in a row, our valuable employees ranked the District among the top employers in the region! Employees were asked to answer 26 questions about organizational health, engagement, and leadership, plus other areas like work-life balance, training, pay, benefits, and corporate social responsibility. Thank you to all the D11 employees who continue to make a difference for our children and community! Watch the video in the following link, produced by the Gazette, to hear the Superintendent's thoughts on being voted one of the best workplaces in the region: https://vimeo.com/304673960/9b4bfa0f3e

Making the Most of the Moment

Superintendent Thomas visits Howbert Elementary School to learn and engage with students and staff. The video below shows his experience with our young learners and valued educators.
https://youtu.be/wpX6cNs4KuI
Big picture