Letter from Melissa, D’Evelyn Grad

Members of the Jefferson County Board of Education:
I am a Jeffco graduate that had the good fortune to attend both neighborhood and option schools. I attended the schools I did – Evergreen Junior, Evergreen, and D’Evelyn – by the luck of my parents being able to find an affordable home in Evergreen and later because the district offered busing to option schools. After beginning elementary school in another state, my daughter attends a neighborhood school in Jeffco.
Much of the high school experience she will have is different from what my siblings and I knew at the same school – not just the renovated and expanded building, but changes in course offerings and graduation requirements. What shouldn’t be different is providing all of our students with an education appropriate to their needs, that challenges them to work to the best of their abilities and become critical thinkers and well-informed, productive citizens. 
To that end, I am concerned about what has been happening since the change in the school board majority in November 2013:
– disenfranchising our teachers by not bargaining in good faith;
– behavior that suggests the new majority has been communicating outside of board meetings without including the full board;
– changing the guidelines for determining teacher pay by returning to evaluations everyone had been told were hold-harmless and would not affect next year’s pay;
– voting 3-2 against expanding subsidized full-day kindergarten to high-impact schools;
– sending a mass e-mail to constituents that wrote the board about a proposed curriculum review committee dismissive of those concerns and suggesting the recipients “just chill”.
In every issue of Chalk Talk, the communication sent to Jeffco parents, we are reminded that the district values are integrity, valuing people, teamwork, and exemplary performance. I’d like to see those values continue to be upheld — and for Mr. Witt, Mr. Newkirk, and Ms. Williams to seriously consider holding themselves to the same standard. 
Melissa Gutierrez
D’Evelyn class of 1998