My Support for the Jefferson Plan
Below are my remarks to the Jeffco School Board tonight in support of the Jefferson Plan to reorganize our local schools:
My name is Joel Newton and I am a father of two daughters at Lumberg Elementary School in Edgewater. We live within walking distance of Jefferson High School and I hope our daughters will graduate as Jefferson Saints.
I am speaking tonight in support of the Jefferson Plan to invest in the uniqueness of our neighborhood schools.
The Jefferson Plan presents local solutions instead of district solutions. The ideas within the plan grew out of conversations between local principals in our area. Teachers, staff, parents and community members have been part of a Staff Advisory Committee, Area Accountability Committee meetings as well as School Accountability Committees. Success comes when those on the ground investing in students are part of the decision making process.
Second, the Jefferson Plan recognizes the uniqueness of students in our area. A majority of the students in our area schools are Latino and many of them are learning English. This plan focuses on what is working in the Dual Language program and expands this excellent program beyond just the elementary level.
Third, the Jefferson Plan provides an innovative 7-12 model for multiple educational pathways. Too often students trying to overcome the roadblocks of poverty and language acquisition are not expected to excel like students in the suburbs. Our Jefferson Area schools are full of students who can excel if given the right resources and motivations. Our most well-attended parent meeting at Lumberg was a meeting for parents of gifted kids and the room matched the demographics of our school. A 7-12 school gives Jefferson staff six years to invest in the uniqueness of each student in a culture of excellence.
As the Jeffco School Board, this is a time when you can come together in a 5-0 vote to lift up the work of the teachers, staff and principals in the Jefferson Area and approve this plan. Together we can see all kids in the Jefferson Area Succeed.
My dream is that one day a graduate from Jefferson High School will work on the Orion Project at Lockheed. I truly believe this is possible. A student at Jefferson High School should have an equal chance of working at Lockheed as a D’Evelyn student.
This Jefferson Plan, along with investments from the surrounding community, will make this dream a reality.