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ARE Could Greatly Benefit From Potential November Ballot Issues

*The letter below was sent home in English and Spanish with the 4/15/16 Friday Folder.*

Dear Arapahoe Ridge Parents and Guardians:

I hope each of you enjoyed your spring break with family and friends, whether you stayed near or traveled far. As we enter into the home stretch of the school year, I want to thank you for your continued support in making student success a reality at Arapahoe Ridge and take this opportunity to reflect on the state of our school and what we can do moving forward to build upon our successes.

At Arapahoe Ridge and throughout Adams 12 Five Star Schools, we strive to engage and inspire students at every level. From teachers to nurses and accountants to bus drivers, we work together to prepare our students to thrive in our rapidly changing world. But limited funding challenges our potential and hinders our mission. It doesn’t have to be this way. With your support, we can make P-12 education – and our children – a priority in Colorado and continue to provide high-quality instruction in every classroom, every day.

Before I speak to some of the challenges we face, I’d like to share a few celebrations from this past year:

  • Schoolwide implementation of new units of study in writing to support teacher understanding of the writing standards and student success in producing the narrative, opinion/argument and research writing genres.
  • Schoolwide implementation of bully prevention month in October.  Our goal was to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on children of all ages.  We had several fun events that included classroom door decorating, a school wide assembly, and lessons/activities that focused on the theme of bullying prevention and showing empathy.
  • We will be implementing our first health and wellness week in April. Daily events have been planned that will educate students on healthy eating and the positive impacts of an active lifestyle. The week will end with a community sponsored Fun Run. We have also implemented garden, running and cooking co-curricular clubs to extend health and wellness learning outside of the school day.

I’m continually amazed at how our school community rises to the occasion in support of student success. Our students’ success is your success! Thank you for partnering with us.

As I’m sure you’ve read in the newspaper or heard in conversation, Colorado continues to struggle in terms of adequately funding education. This school year alone, we’re receiving almost $1,000 less per student as a result of funding cuts from the state that started in 2010. These operating dollars go toward attracting and keeping the best teachers, offering students a robust curriculum with specialized learning opportunities and providing a safe and secure learning environment.

Additionally, the state does not provide a funding source to maintain our aging schools, build new schools to address overcrowding and expand space for in-demand educational programming such as Career and Technical Education.

More specifically, the top-priority need at our school:

  • A brick and mortar addition that would add 8-10 classrooms onto our school. The addition would allow for removal of the eight mobile classrooms that we currently have and bring all students inside.

We need to hear from you! Participate in the Five Star Needs conversation.
We need your help to understand what we should do about limited state funding, aging buildings and overcrowded schools. Parents have a few opportunities over the next several weeks to provide input on their values and priorities when it comes to addressing high-priority needs within the Five Star District.

1.     Online Survey

a.     Quick, five-minute survey about your values and priorities when addressing district needs

b.     Open April 11-22

c.     Available in Spanish

2.     Telephone Town Hall

a.     April 26, 2016 from 7 to 8 p.m.

b.     Join Superintendent Chris Gdowski and others as we answer your questions about state funding, district budgets and Five Star Needs.

c.     If you have a land-line number on file with the district you will receive a call inviting you to participate. Cell phone numbers will not be called unless you sign-up to receive a call.

d.     Participants can also follow along online like a live podcast - you can even type questions!

e.     The call will be available in Spanish

To take the Five Star Needs survey and to sign-up for the telephone town hall with your cell phone number, visit

Information gathered from this survey and telephone town hall will help inform the Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board of Education decision-making process as they consider placing an issue(s) on the November 2016 ballot to address the high-priority needs in the district’s schools.

Please take the time to participate in this engagement process. Any issue(s) put on the ballot will impact every school in the district, including ours.

Thank you for your continued support of Arapahoe Ridge. Please feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions.


Kate Vogel