Kit Carson School District Superintendent Robert Framel received the first Educational Leadership Award from the Colorado Rural Schools Alliance. The presentation was made earlier in December at the Colorado Association of School Boards conference. The award was based on efforts and leadership in district accountability, especially considering the Student Centered Accountability Program (S-CAP) the district has been participating in the last three years. This is the first year of the award which will honor rural leaders for their work and leadership in rural issues and educational practices.
The Student-Centered Accountability Program seeks to promote and implement an accountability system that is timely, meaningful, considers the whole child and engages community stakeholders in a continuous cycle of improvement and innovation supported by a network of peers. A group of rural Colorado school districts came together to explore a shared desire for more comprehensive student accountability systems and discussed how they might work together to accomplish this. Five districts - Buena Vista, Kit Carson, La Veta, Buffalo (Merino), and Monte Vista - jointly designed and piloted the Student-Centered Accountability Program. The Haxtun, Akron, Las Animas, Fleming and Holyoke districts joined for the 2018-2019 school year. In addition to the core districts, key partners include the Colorado Rural Education Collaborative, Generation Schools Network, Battelle for Kids, University of Colorado - Denver, the Colorado Education Initiative, and the Colorado Rural Schools Alliance.
"While I appreciate the award, I want to be clear that the hard work of the teachers, staff and students are why the S-CAP and the Kit Carson School District are exceeding expectations," stated Framel.
Framel went on to say, "The work that has been done due to our peer observations is phenomenal. We, as a district, have gone from one day a week preschool to four days, implemented a new teacher evaluation tool, developed a structured plan for professional development, initiated an advisory period to work on social-emotional learning, and adjusted the school calendar and school schedule to accommodate and promote our strengths while working on our weaknesses."
One of the most important principles of the S-CAP involves a System Supports Review. This one or two-day review has superintendents, principals, teachers and other observers analyze the school district looking for positive and negative trends. The reviewers use a classroom observation tool, document review, focus group questions, and survey results to provide the district with useful information about trends and happenings in the district. The school district then uses this information to develop plans and action steps to improve the district.
"We are extremely careful as we do reviews to make sure that teachers are not being singled out, but that we are analyzing the entire district. We want to make sure the district is able to have useful information and the Board of Education, staff, and leadership then make decisions at a local level to improve" said Framel.