Weekly Superintendent Update, Jan. 21

Weekly Superintendent Update, Jan. 21
Posted on 01/21/2022
dr sirko photo

I want to start off this week’s letter with some celebrations:
All-State Choir is going on now, and we have 19 D51 students participating: Isabell Eldridge from Central High School; Ryan Davis, Jordan Dehmel, and Tyra Forsgren, all of Fruita Monument High School; Izzy Cornelison, Jenna Cox, Caymie Crone, Johnny Flanagan (All State Choir and All State Jazz Choir), Corran Gandy, Charles Reilly, and Pierson Worley, all of Grand Junction High School; and Erin Dickes, Elijah Stammler, Kai Symons, Parker Virden, Sean Williams, Russell Willow, Domenic Wolfe, and Maya Znamenacek, all of Palisade High School.
Fruita Monument High School has been announced as one of just five schools in the state to earn the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award.
On Tuesday, our School Board recognized the Central High School Co-Ed Cheer Team for placing second in Class 4A Co-Ed Cheer at the State Spirit Championships.
Monument Ridge students invented a new game for the Lions Club Carnival and the Lions thanked them by donating $1,000 to the school on Wednesday, which was matched by the D51 Foundation.
I was honored to read a proclamation at Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Grand Junction, and our assistant superintendent, Brian Hill, gave a keynote speech at the event as well. The Black Citizens and Friends of Mesa County Martin Luther King Jr. Day Event planning committee, which included Gretchen Annan, Aaron Brachfeld, David Combs, Tracy Gallegos, Ta'Lor Jackson, Natalie Kegans, Elisa Love, Stan McNeese, Adrea Tilford, Patti Virden, and Eric Ward, did an amazing job putting the event together!

I love celebrating our 47 schools and programs, our 21,315 students, and our 2,800+ staff! These examples are just a sampling of the great things going on in D51. If you have news at your school or your child’s school to celebrate, please let our Communications Department know at [email protected].


School Board Legal Services

Today, the D51 Board of Education met to discuss the possibility of expanding legal services provided by Hoskin, Farina & Kampf. The district has employed an in-house General Counsel for most legal services since 2020, but has continued to use Hoskin, Farina & Kampf for some specific services, such as help with special education issues. The board voted 3-2 today to move forward with expanded services so the board can consult with Hoskin, Farina & Kampf whenever they’d like. The district will still perform an analysis and survey about current legal services to make sure we’re using cost-effective strategies. I know there have been a lot of questions and misunderstandings around this topic, so I wanted to explain what today’s vote meant.

School of Choice Reminder and Video

A quick reminder that the School of Choice application window opens at 10 a.m. this coming Monday. The School of Choice process is only for families who wish to send their child to a school outside of their home attendance boundaries (other programs and specialized schools have their own application processes). If you would like to learn more about School of Choice and how to apply, please click here to watch a video or visit the School of Choice web page here.

Student Fee Waiver Request Form

In accordance with Board of Education Policy (JQ) students fees may be reduced or waived based on financial qualifications set forth in the Free or Reduced Lunch guidelines. The student fee waiver request form can be found on the district home page here. If your student qualifies for Free or Reduced Lunch, SNAP, FDPIR, TANF, Medicaid, Head Start or CHIP they may also qualify to have student fees waived or reduced. If you have not filled out the Free or Reduced Lunch application you can do so here. Please note that these forms must be filled out yearly in order to be considered for qualification.

Sub Applications

District 51 has hired an impressive 142 new subs this year (50-60 sub hires is typical in an average year), and we have 544 active subs on our sub list (though not all subs take jobs regularly). Our community has stepped up in a big way, as have our Human Resources and Communications staff, who have been working hard to recruit for all positions. Even though these numbers are impressive, the need for subs has never been greater, and we are continuing to hire. If you would like to sub or have a friend who would like to sub, please share these helpful tips to improve the chances of being hired: * Go to d51schools.org, go to the Employment tab, scroll down to Job Opportunities, and select Apply Now. Once you’re there, make sure you select a specific substitute job from the vacancy categories. * Make sure you submit your application when you’re finished.
Be sure to include references in your application. * If you are contacted for an interview, select an interview time. * Make sure you have an active sub authorization through CDE. * You do not have to wait a certain period of time after you retire or otherwise leave the district to return as a sub. 

White Iced Postponed

The White Iced Celebration is the D51 Foundation’s biggest annual fundraiser, and one I know many of you were preparing to attend on Feb. 5. Due to COVID-19 caseloads in the community, the Foundation has decided to postpone White Iced until Friday, April 22. More information will be shared as it becomes available at d51foundation.org