An Important Message from Principal Greer

msg from principal logoMarch 2017
Dear VPE families,
As I reflect on the transitions within my own family of late in supporting a family member in a different more direct manner, I take pause to think about each of you and how family dynamics can change suddenly and impact members in different ways. I often wonder how as a community we can connect more meaningfully in support of one another to navigate life together from a place of greater empathy and compassion.  The first step is of course communicating and sharing our needs and then making connections to various resources.  In my sharing with staff and parents who have asked how I (outside of the profession) am doing I have been overwhelmed by the genuine care and resources provided which have been of great benefit to my family and I. For that I am most grateful to be part of the Bison Nation. Thank you! As you and your family may have need please be sure to connect with us via our amazing Family and Community Liaisons and we'll be sure to connect you to resources and care as we are able.
As you are aware APS is in the process of a $31M budget redesign and as communicated to our School Accountability Committee (SAC) and a previous Coffee with the Principal meeting, VPE was looking to begin next school year with a budget of $1M less than this year's budget allocation with an increase in student enrollment. After much advocacy by you all, various staff members and myself we are currently looking at a $400K budget reduction with an understanding that additional funds per increased enrollment will be released in August which is earlier than the typically release of additional funding.  I am most proud of the work we did as a community to advocate for our needs and thankful that the Board of Education heard and responded with a recommendation to look for other areas to adjust.  Although the overall financial adjustment is less than originally expected it still will come with adjustments to our current staffing model. Reductions to a few of our departments will be made and I am in the process of having these conversations with those impacted. I value each staff member and the current structure we have which has enabled us to continue into my year two to provide timely feedback and coaching to teachers which better supports student achievement.  We will indeed experience a shift in how we do business here next year as a result of the budget redesign but will continue to move forward with a spirit of excellence and a focus on continuous improvement for student safety and academic performance.
With that I have a few requests, as you know our third thru eighth grade students will soon begin state assessments, PARCC (Math/Literacy) and CMAS (Science/Social Studies). These tests are what we consider our Super Bowl in education as these are the tests that are used to determine our School Performance Framework ratings per the state of Colorado. You may recall that in 2014-15 we earned a Priority Improvement rating 2% away from being a Turnaround School. Last year our students showed up well on the state tests and we moved up two performance bands to a Performance rating.  We are just at the bottom of that range and I would love to see us continue the upward movement this year. With that I ask that you pay keen attention to the testing dates and ensure your child (ren) is in attendance in their best self every day all day. Secondly, I'd like to ask that you each take some time daily or weekly to remind your student (s) about what it means to uphold and live our school core values of safety, respect, and responsibility. We are seeing an increase in poor behaviors between students and from students to adults. We will certainly teach and redirect as needed but we also need for you the parent to have ongoing conversations about respecting and meeting school expectations and desired behaviors and maintain high expectations for your child in these areas.  We especially encourage you to actively monitor any social media sites your child may be using as sometimes student posts have negative implications to school. It is all of our responsibility to create a safe and PEAK performing environment toward high levels of student achievement. Parents of middle school students I specifically ask you to be more observant than normal with your student's social media and school behaviors. I believe that as we each do our respective part and some that we will have the type of school we all desire.
As always thank you for the continued opportunity to work alongside you in service to your child's education for a bright future. Feel free to reach out as you need and when you are unsure of who to connect with here is a Who to Contact guide to assist you.
In love and service,
Yolanda R. Greer, Principal
As we build strong relationships within a positive, productive, and professional school culture, engage in relevant high impact moves and hold ourselves responsible to a safe and peak performing environment, our students will achieve and have equitable access and opportunities to life's prospects.