By Scott Spendlove, Steering Committee Parent Member
Most members of the D’Evelyn Community are familiar with the role that the Steering Committee is tasked with to protect and maintain our operating philosophy, as outlined in our Founding Document. In most cases, Steering Committee’s duties are focused on dynamics internal to D’Evelyn-curricular reviews, textbook reviews, hiring committees and ensuring that D’Evelyn policies remain consistent with the intentions of the Founders.
In addition to keeping an eye on the management of our school, you may not be aware that Steering Committee is also tasked with evaluating new policies from the District, as well as new laws or regulations from the State. When describing the role of the Steering Committee, the founding document includes these tasks. ‘(M)aintaining relations and communications with the district and reacting to new laws or policies from the district etc.” While D’Evelyn has a great deal of latitude in the design and operation of our program, we still must analyze these outside changes to determine if they do affect us, and how. And if a District or State policy change does affect us, how we might best respond to protect and enhance the D’Evelyn program. This month, my focus is on a change that is occurring at the District level that affects the broader community outside of D’Evelyn, but that may have some ripple effects on D’Evelyn as well.
If you have friends or family who have students in other Jefferson County schools, you are probably aware that at the beginning of the school year, the District announced that it intends to continue implementing a transition to have 6th grade as part of middle school. There is much information available from the District regarding the K-5/ 6-8 Transition. Most of that information is factual, rather than giving rationale, or addressing future implications of this transition. And the District has provided the following timeline for the transition.
The “articulation areas” for Chatfield, Evergreen and Conifer already operate under this model.
For 2018-2019, Arvada, Arvada West, Bear Creek, Golden, Green Mountain, Pomona, Ralston Valley, Standley Lake, Wheatridge articulation areas will make the transition.
For 2019-2020- Columbine, Dakota Ridge and Lakewood articulation areas will change.
Alameda and Jefferson High School articulation areas are currently on a K-6, 7-12 model similar to D’Evelyn, and do not plan to change.
Once the District announced they were going forward with the transition, Steering Committee began researching and discussing the issue. Steering Committee has appointed a subcommittee to communicate and work with the Dennison Elementary Community-our primary feeder school, as stipulated in the Founding Document. This subcommittee will continue to evaluate the transition and work with the District to determine the potential direct and indirect effects on both Dennison and D’Evelyn, and how best to respond. These discussions are in the early stages, but will continue while the District Transition occurs.
D’Evelyn is fortunate to have the protections of a binding contract with the District to in most cases operate as we see fit. D’Evelyn absolutely has the right to not change our policies. However, the District K-5/6-8 transition will have tangential effects on D’Evelyn, and so it is the proper role of Steering Committee to evaluate the District transition for how it will affect D’Evelyn. It is our responsibility to not only protect the current D’Evelyn system, but to proactively look to see how we might view this transition as an opportunity. D’Evelyn’s Founders knew that they could not anticipate every future possibility and proposal, but in their wisdom they authored the Founding Document, which empowers the Steering Committee to deal with any unforeseen challenges or opportunities.
The Steering Committee is the governing board of the school and establishes policies designed to maintain and enhance its liberal arts philosophy. The Steering Committee appoints Directors to the Board of the D'Evelyn Education Foundation.