jeffco education

School reconfiguration brings excitement

Principal, board member among those praising plan

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A reconfiguration of schools in the Jefferson articulation area is causing excitement among the staff, the community and the Jeffco Board of Education.

“My students are excited,” said Michael James, principal at Jefferson High School. “They’re ready and they understand their responsibility; they understand what they need to do to make our young Saints — our little Saints — come up and join us and feel safe.”

During the Feb. 19 Jeffco board meeting, district staff and principals from Jefferson High School, Wheat Ridge 5-8, and Lumberg, Edgewater, Stevens and Molhom elementary schools presented an update on the Jefferson Area Plan.

Designed to help increase student achievement in the Jefferson articulation area, the $1.6 million Jefferson Area Plan creates a new 7-12 school by combining the seventh- and eighth-graders at Wheat Ridge 5-8 with the ninth- through 12-graders at Jefferson High School on that high school campus, while moving Stevens Elementary School and Sobesky Academy to the Wheat Ridge 5-8 site.

“They have to personally find their place, which is raising achievement and showing what they have as students in order for us not to have to make changes in the future on a scale such as this,” James said of the area’s students. “They understand their responsibility.”

Alongside the creation of the school, the plan would extend dual language options for students, increase resources for students and teachers, utilize problem-based learning in all classes, allow staff to become a true, heavy professional learning community and create more secondary pathways for students.

“Philosophically, we are in a position to support this plan locally through Jefferson,” said Jeffco’s chief school effectiveness officer, Terry Elliott. “I believe that the fact that this is working from the schools out will have greater buy-in commitment, and they have our commitment to support that work.”

This plan will come before the board for a vote on March 5.

“You can put me into the excited/very excited pie chart,” said John Newkirk, board member, about the plan.

Jefferson Area Plan, Jeffco Public Schools, Terry Elliot, Michael James, John Newkirk, Jeffco Board of Education, Jefferson High School, Wheat Ridge 5-8, Wheat Ridge, Stevens Elementary School, Sobesky Academy, dual language, problem-based learning, professional learning communities, 7-12 school, Crystal Anderson, Colorado Community Media

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