Advocacy for Jeffco Kids

Do you advocate for your kids or your community? Do you know that the Facility Master Plan impacts your children, the teaching staff who serve your children, your property values (some negatively, some positively), and your entire community?

A school in disrepair or even those that are abandoned have a significant impact on your property values. A beautifully maintained school or new building will also have a significant impact on your property values and drive the demand for housing in your neighborhood. The entire community must make decisions about schools for this reason. Joining together to decide what is best for the community as well as the students in each school is crucial.

We won’t take positions on the specifics of school communities outside of our own because the decisions should belong to the families in the area. We will take positions on the need for repairs and new buildings within the district because decisions that Support Jeffco Kids is our mission!

We do want to bring this to your attention though:

The Pleasant View Elementary School community has come together to advocate for their school after much discussion regarding the Facility Master Plan. We congratulate them for doing so and would love to hear from any other school communities who are also advocating for their own community. What is your feedback on the FMP?

 

Here’s one example from Pleasant View that was shared with us:

Community Partners Statement for Pleasant View Elementary
01-June-2016

The community partners who are engaged with Pleasant View Elementary (PVE) and the Golden Articulation area have prepared this unified position statement for consideration by the Jefferson County Board of Education (BOE) concerning the Facilities Master Plan (FMP), April 28, 2016—Rev. 2. Our community partners represented here are an engaged and diverse group  including non-profit foundations, civic/charitable clubs, faith based organizations, and small  businesses. Each of these organizations has worked closely with PVE and understands the needs and aspirations of student, family, and community stakeholders in the BOE decision. As community partners, we see every day how PVE provides the glue that holds the Pleasant View
community together and keeps it functioning in a stable manner.
PVE is a Title 1 school with 74.5% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch in 2016.

The Special Education enrollment at PVE is growing and relatively high at 19% due in part to the demographics of the low-income community. Community families are hard-working, often with multiple jobs.

Community Value Assessment
The community partners see great value in PVE to the unique low-income Pleasant View community that has not yet been recognized in the FMP process. The community partners see  great value in PVE to the students and families in our area that has not yet been recognized in the FMP process.

  • PVE is the single institution central to Pleasant View as a community. Removing this  institution risks the loss of identity as a community with absorption into adjoining cities. 
  • PVE provides a Holistic approach (family, children, education, socio-economic, and community) to education of students and parents. 
  • PVE’s Parent Academy Program builds partnerships with families to guide, educate, and empowered parents that in turn support student academic achievement at home. 
  • This Holistic approach is paying dividends in growing academic achievement.
  • PVE has proven to be innovative and collaborative with community partners to build unique programs that support student and family success. With closure on the table, partnerships such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant are at risk.
  • The small neighborhood school environment allows staff to develop personal relationships with families and students which enables individualized attention.
  • Small size enables PVE to address the diverse needs of students and families with nine languages and cultures represented at the school.
  • PVE has a high Choice-In due to all-day Preschool and Kindergarten. This provides a resource for the hard-working families and the start of parent engagement with PVE. 
  • Pleasant View is a “walking community.” This would be lost with students being bussed and would limit parent’s ready access to the school, including the parent’s ability to participate, be educated themselves such as ESL, and volunteer.
  • Supervised before and after school activities available at PVE will not be available be accessible elsewhere due to transportation issues and bussing schedules. Removal of these supports will risk parental support at home for academic achievement.
  • Family involvement has been built up over time and includes a feeling of the school being a “safe haven” with family support for nutrition, clothing, health, and emergencies. 
  • PVE is delivering an exceptional Special Education (SPED) program for students.

Recommendations
The community partners jointly recommend that PVE should remain open, including the Preschool, due to demonstrated value to students, families, and the Pleasant View community.

The community partners also jointly recommend not transferring PVE’s 6th grade to Bell MS.

Our recommendation will be cost effective for the District and save about $4M in capital investment for classrooms at Shelton ES and Bell MS. We propose that these funds be redirected into one or both of the  alternatives listed below.

The community partners jointly recommend that student outcomes be considered by the BOE  before accepting the FMP recommendations to close PVE. Our view of student outcomes is not just academic but also includes student/family/community/socio-economic factors. This may
include student behavior, family stability, safety, mental/physical health, nutrition, and access to educational support systems. We predict that unforeseen risks and challenges in these areas could have unexpected consequences resulting in additional costs to the District, families, and the community.

The community partners jointly recommend that community outcomes be considered by the BOE before accepting the FMP recommendations to close PVE. Our view of community outcomes includes potential crime issues, impact to local businesses, economic viability of Pleasant View, social continuity of the community, and many other potentially negative outcomes.

Removing the most important hub of socially positive support from our low-income community will likely rip the fabric holding us together. As community partners we are dedicated to supporting and building up the foundations of the community, not tearing them down. We predict that closing PVE could result in unforeseen consequences for our community.

The community partners jointly recommend that the BOE consider either of the following two alternatives for PVE, or a combination of both

  1. Convert PVE to PreK-8 and not move the 6th grade to Bell MS.
    a. Use the $4M investment in the FMP recommendation to fund the conversion to PreK-8 along with any prioritized maintenance needs.
    b. The PVE facility will be fully utilized with a natural progression into 7th and 8th grades of current students.
    c. Jeffco Schools have multiple successful K-8 schools in the District.
  2. Convert PVE to a “Community School’ where business or non-profit partners run programs on campus to support the students, families, and community as a whole.
    http://www.communityschools.org/aboutschools/what_is_a_community_school.aspx
    a. Use the $4M investment in the FMP recommendation to fund the conversion.
    b. Create a new BOE policy that allows a business or non-profit to operate on campus in order to share in maintenance cost, provide community support, and engage in collaborative student programs without additional funding from the District.

Way Forward

The community partners thank and congratulate the BOE for developing the FMP recommendations that will improve the maintenance and utilization of facilities in our great Jeffco School District. The FMP represents a huge investment in energy and resources by the District just to gather and organize all the findings and actions needed to support our school facilities. The recommendations prepared are certainly in line with the financial guidelines and  goals established by the BOE for the Golden articulation area. However, as with any good business decision, the next step in evaluating a solid financial recommendation is to consider

  1. hidden costs,
  2. unexpected consequences, 
  3. undesirable outcomes for stakeholders.

The community partners conclude in the special case of the PVE recommendations, any of these three considerations will be undesirable for stakeholders and should cause the BOE to seek alternatives. We conclude that one or both of alternatives suggested by the community partners will benefit the stakeholders and be financially viable for the District.

Community Partner Support
• PVE PTSA
• Kiwanis Club of Golden
• Rotary Club of Golden
• Community Faith in Action
• Extending God’s Grace Foundation
• Golden Backpack Program
• GoFarm Golden Farming Cooperative
• Golden Schools Foundation

Community Member Support
• Kelly Johnson, Community
• Thom Norland, NHCC
• Kevin Shire, Chaplain Golden Police
• Sharon Wasil, NHCC

 

This is a fantastic example of advocacy. We would love to see other school communities advocate for their individual school communities and help make the decisions that are right for their communities! The FMP is not a done deal. The community voice must make these decisions. What do you support and what do you NOT support?

Speak Up to Support Jeffco Kids!