School Views: A look back at the first semester |

School Views: A look back at the first semester

Philip Qualman
School Views

With just under two weeks remaining in the fall semester, it’s time to look back and reflect on how the year has started. Like most, I’m amazed at how quickly we get to this point.

It wasn’t long ago that I was enjoying summer activities. And yet, here we are, fall sports in the books, winter athletics just getting started, ski resorts opening more terrain daily and another academic semester wrapping up. The 2022-23 school year has been a welcomed change for most. We’re no longer arguing about facemasks or concerned about school shutdowns, and I, for one, am thankful.

While COVID-19 will never go away, we have accepted the fact that it is part of our new normal. It allows for our students and staff to focus on the task at hand: education.

Focusing our efforts back into the classroom, we have taken the next step in our standards-based grading efforts. Working with our teachers, students and parents we continue to have discussions about what it is, why we are doing it, and what it means for our students. If you’re interested, visit our website to view a series of videos we’ve released to provide an explanation of the process and answer frequently asked questions.

As always, if you have additional questions, please reach out, my door is always open. This is the work we should be doing, and I am proud that as time goes on I continue to see greater buy-in from everyone around me. Change can be hard, but when we work together, we come out the other side better for it, and that is exactly what we are striving for.

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Outside of the classroom, it has been an exciting year as well across the valley. The Battle Mountain High School girls softball team played its inaugural season this fall, after student-athletes pitched the idea to the Board of Education last year. The boys’ soccer teams at Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley High School qualified for the state tournament. Eagle Valley advanced to the second round while Battle Mountain improved on last year’s semifinal finish by making it to the state championship game. In cross country, both Battle Mountain girls and boys teams had strong seasons, while we also witnessed one of the most awe-inspiring comebacks I’ve ever beared witness to. Lily Whelan, “you can do hard things,” and you remind us all that we can too.

The Eagle Valley High School girls’ volleyball team had a terrific season that culminated with hosting two playoff games, winning the first before falling in the second round. The Devils also had their very first girls’ rugby season this fall and ended up finishing sixth in the state tournament. And there weren’t just student achievements. Eagle Valley’s very own Sarah Brubeck was named the 2022 Colorado High School PE Teacher of the Year by SHAPE Colorado. Congratulations to these, and many others, whose accomplishments make bragging about Eagle County School District so easy.

We also saw an exciting state ballot measure pass that will have a terrific impact on our schools. Our state voted to approve Proposition FF, “Free Lunch for All,” so that all of our students will have a well-balanced lunch every day they are in school. This is a win for our students and the state of Colorado, so for those of you that voted in favor, I thank you.

I will continue to speak with state legislators regarding the overall funding model of K-12 education in our state. As I recently wrote in School Views, that is a pervasive issue that holds schools back in Colorado, given its broken financing model. While that feels like a large task, I am motivated by the amazing accomplishments of our district. I appreciate the ability to look back at all we’ve done, and am inspired by the staff members, students and families who make up our district.

Philip Qualman is the superintendent of Eagle County School District. Email him at

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