On behalf of our faculty and staff, thank you for all of taking such good care of us during teacher appreciation week – truly a unique parent body!
This note will be in two parts today as I feel the need, given recent events, to talk about school safety. While I have always been advised not to discuss details of our school's safety measures and protocols, I need everyone to know that this is something that I, my leadership team, and the Board take very seriously. Some elements you experience daily: locked campus gates but for drop-off and pick-up, key-access required for all buildings, and visitor sign in / out. While some see these as inconveniences, I ask that you each support such measures as critical to our campus and community safety. All independent schools are having the same discussions that we are, which is another reason why our ACIS announcement is so important.
Schools like ours, who pride themselves on free and open inquiry, learners exploring and collaborating in hallways and outside of classrooms, and student-teacher relationships that revolve around mentoring and guiding your children on their fearless journeys are in stark contrast to "lock downed" campuses. Our independent school industry in general, and ISDenver specifically, are constantly weighing those contrasts. It is truly an unwanted but inseparable discussion that links us to our society.
Of note, ISDenver completed an audit earlier this year with the industry leader in school safety.While we received high scores for what we are already doing (noted for being among the most secure campuses), we are also working to improve our safety and are committed to doing so – period. One publicly obvious change that that you will see in the times ahead is the addition of building numbers, which helps first responders for both safety and medical concerns. What we ask our constituents to help us with is vigilance. In a recent visit I had with a Denver Police Resource officer, we discussed that even the best security falls short when no asks "how can I help you" to a stranger on campus, or if we forget to close a gate or door behind us. Here is where we can all improve. The safety of your children, and their learning, while they are under the school's supervision are our most important and primary responsibilities.
Subject number two – much better! As I discussed at our first Back to School Nights this past fall,the faculty and staff have fostered a year-long discussion on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. We have sent almost 20 teachers to training to explore the pedagogy of the program and they have returned to us very excited about moving forward. Given the positivity and interest, our next step is to see how our curriculum and accreditations can align. We will spend the next eight months or so asking our curriculum development team to see how this could all work, while prioritizing our accreditations and recognitions. This is perfect timing as we will need to tackle this as part of our new ACIS accreditation (once again below). That is the only decision we are making at this point and will let the community know our next steps in early winter 2020.
Thanks for all that you do to support ISDenver and our students.
- school safety
ISDenver completed an audit earlier this year with the industry leader in school safety. While we received high scores for what we are already doing (noted for being among the most secure campuses), we are also working to improve our safety and are committed to doing so – period.
Hold on tight as the home stretch of any school year flies by!
As we stated from the start of the year, we want our academics to be both excellent and transparent. We want to know where students are on their journey, to ensure as a school that they hit important academic benchmarks, and that we have the ability to effectively differentiate based on data.
We are so excited about being able to begin work on the Dragon's Den. This will be a space that helps us to build community, allows us to invite outsiders in to see what we are all about, creates a setting that our students are proud of and serves their needs.
I am pleased to announce a new organizational structure that will go into effect for next year. It's a strong sign that we're on the right path when faculty feedback, forward-looking best practices, and accreditation requirements all align.