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Estes Park School District Board Meeting 11/27/23

by Matthew Liberati

See the full notes document here.*

View the meeting agenda here.

A video recording of the meeting is available here.

Members Present:

Stacy Ferree President

Ava Kendall Vice President

John Davis Treasurer/Secretary

Jason Cushner

Board hears “Zearn” math tool discussions.

Two elementary school teachers and some students discussed the Zearn math tool program. The tool provides visual representation of concepts, provides hints when students are stuck and uses games to reinforce concepts. Director Cushner asked how Zearn works with teacher curriculum. It was explained that teachers can sync the tool to follow the Bridges curriculum. Director Ferree asked if the tool is used in groups, or just individually. The tool is used individually since the program operates at different levels for different students.

Superintendent Council features highschool students

The group recently started a podcast called EPSD Cat Chat Students interviewed said some of their favorite aspects of school are seeing friends and teachers, and math and science. A grant award has given a journal to every highschool student to help with mental health during the finals period.

Superintendent’s Report

Ruby Bode, Superintendent since July 2022

  • A facilities master plan is being developed. The first step is a facilities audit. This will cost $12,000 to provide information on the current status of district facilities.

  • Discussions continue on the demolition and relocation of the sports stadium. The board will be presented with options in January.

  • Student enrollment and funding counts are 5% lower than last year.

  • John Wahler will be filling in as the interim Assistant Principal and Career Technical Education Director at the high school.

  • The governor released his initial budget with an additional $800 per pupil. Any additional funding amounts will be used for staff pay increases.

  • School 3-year calendar discussions are underway with proposals in January.

School Administrator Reports

  • The 54 regular volunteers at the elementary school mostly support reading and math center instruction.

  • 89% of K-1 math students were proficient in the last 2 units.

  • The elementary school substitute teacher situation has improved in part by having a fulltime substitute available.

  • There are 15 volunteers at the middle school level.

  • Middle school teachers are focused on depth and complexity, and read around the text focused on features.

  • Middle school math scores are at the 34th percentile. Testing is next week and the goal is to raise scores to at least the 40th percentile.

  • Middle school reading scores are at the 44th percentile and 55th percentile for growth.

  • A middle school survey question, “How positive is the energy at your school”, had a 42%agree response. The goal is to increase that to 52 percent or higher.

  • Attendance rates have improved to 94%.

  • A study is underway looking at highschool graduation requirements and the bell schedule.

  • 19 students are enrolled in the pteach teacher preparation program.

  • 80% of highschool students passed the ACCUPLACER test,a competency requirement for graduation by the Colorado Department of Education.

  • High School winter sports (basketball, wrestling and swimming) are starting. Find athletics calendar here.

Director Jason Cushner stated there were lots of discussions about the school calendar and thanked his family, school staff, community members and the board for eight years of service as a member of the board.

Teacher evaluations and social studies curriculum are being examined by administrators.

Board Approves Several Policies Unanimously District Policies - Estes Park School District (

  • Suspension/Expulsion of Students updated from recently passed laws

  • Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Service Animal Policy First Reading

  • School Board Member Financial Disclosure: gifts to school board members changed to $75 from $65 following state law (First Reading).

The board will attend the Colorado Association of School Boards Convention in December.

Questions to Consider

  • What is the impact of the 5% decline in student enrollment

  • How do the math and reading percentiles compare with Colorado average and other districts of this size?

  • What factors improved attendance at Estes schools?

  • Will parents be notified about the new laws regarding suspension and expulsion?

Next Meeting

Nov. 30 at 6:15 p.m. Newly elected board members will be installed.

*Citizen Observers further the commitment of the League of Women Voters to its principle of Citizens Right to Know, however, we are not acting as journalists. Omissions and errors are possible. It is assumed that users of this information are responsible for their own fact-checking. This could include contacting a government clerk, conversing with an elected official or staff, and/or asking us to speak to the Observer who attended.

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