Dear Jeffco School Board,
It has come to my attention that the Board is attempting to change the way that Jeffco students are educated, including modifying curriculum and limiting extension opportunities. From what I gather, the current board feels that the education that their students receive is inadequate and does not prepare them for life beyond high school. I completely disagree. I am currently in my second year at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) studying Chemical and Biological Engineering and am a recipient of academic scholarships from both CU and CU’s Engineering College. I would not be in this position had it not been for the excellent education I received at Bradford Elementary, Deer Creek Middle School, and Chatfield Senior High.
From an early age, it was apparent that I had an aptitude for math and science. My 5th grade teacher realized this and got me started on an advanced math course. During my sophomore year in high school, I took Honors Chemistry. This is the class that solidified my choice to study Chemical Engineering. I have used every ounce of knowledge that I gained in that class in college, which has given me an edge. I can already name organic molecules with ease because my high school chemistry teacher helped me learn the subject so well.
Through my education career in Jeffco schools, I have always believed that my teachers had the best interests in mind for their students and truly wanted to see them succeed. My high school calculus teacher exemplified this in everything she did. She consistently showed up to class with lots of energy and a drive to help her students fully learn the material. She was an intense and extremely effective teacher (more effective than some of my college professors currently).
During my senior year at Chatfield, I had the opportunity to intern with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. This was a truly unique experience, as you usually have to be a college student to be an intern. I have not heard of another school district in Colorado with a program like the Executive High School Internship Program. This program, hands down, was the one of the most meaningful learning experiences I have ever had. If I had not been a Jeffco student, I would not have been able to experience what it is like to work for a space and defense company at such an early age. This program shows that Jeffco is committed to helping students prepare for the future.
Before you start changing curriculum and course offerings in Jeffco schools, please consider what your alumni and teachers have to say. We are the ones experiencing, learning, and teaching the material; we know it better than those who are more removed from the classroom environment. Second, please listen to the parents of your students, as they are the ones who are personally invested in their child’s education and want their child to receive the best, most well-rounded education possible. Jeffco is a top-performing school district in Colorado and any changes in curriculum or extension opportunities should support and enhance the education standards that have been established.
Last year, I made the Dean’s List both semesters as a college freshman while also performing at pep rallies and football games as a member of CU’s drumline. I truly believe that I would not be excelling in my college education as much as I am if I had not been a student of Jeffco with access to AP and music classes, and highly qualified, dedicated teachers. My teachers and classes have helped prepare me to be a responsible, successful adult. I am proud to be an alumni of one of the best school districts in Colorado and I hope it stays that way.
Kalin Baxes, Class of 2013