How are Eagle County’s public schools doing? | VailDaily.com
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How are Eagle County’s public schools doing?

Matt Terrell
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE, COLORADO ” Fixing the way teachers are paid, keeping teachers in Eagle County and closing the achievement gap are some of the biggest challenges facing the school district this year and in the future, Superintendent John Pacheco said in a “State of the School District” address.

Meanwhile, Pacheco said he’s pleased with the quality of teachers and leaders in the school district and how well students are performing. He said students who stay in the school district for more than 12 months do well, and teachers are learning how to use group planning time effectively.

Pacheco gave the State of the School district address at Wednesday’s school board meeting. He discussed the successes and problems each department of the school district is facing.

The leadership of the school district was reorganized this year so that teachers and principals are able to work more closely with other departments like human resources and technology support. Pacheco said the new setup makes a lot more sense, and teachers will have more professional coaching.

To solve problems with the pay-for-performance aspect of the Teacher Advancement Program, the district has created a steering committee to analyze the program, find its deficiencies, create solutions and make the way raises are determined more understandable to teachers, he said.

Pacheco talked about the growth in the English Language Acquisition Program in the school district and how to better reach out to non-English speaking families. The Dual Language Program has been implemented in Avon Elementary, Edwards Elementary and Berry Creek Middle School, and the district soon could start the program at Battle Mountain High School.

The special education department has some big challenges to overcome, Pacheco said, such as recruiting and retaining teachers and keeping up with an increasing need for special education in preschool.

One of the biggest successes of the school district was the massive technology upgrade completed at the beginning of the school year paid for by the 3B bond approved by voters in last November, Pacheco said. The district ramped-up its Internet speed and gave most classrooms 40-inch LCD monitors, giving teachers the ability to integrate the Internet, videos and sound seamlessly into class lessons.

Pacheco said the district has been making improvements in community relations. Monthly newsletters, a working relationship with the press and home meetings being set up with parents and community groups are helping, he said.

Financially, the school district is in good shape, Pacheco said.

The ultimate goal though of the school district is to improve student achievement, and he wants to close achievement gaps in minority students, socio-economically disadvantaged students and gifted students.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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