School Views: Celebrating the school year that was |

School Views: Celebrating the school year that was

Philip Qualman
School Views

As we close out the school year, it’s time to take a moment and reflect on what an incredible year it has been. Through the ups and downs and continued navigation of uncharted pandemic waters, we’ve come out the other side stronger for what we’ve accomplished together.

As our students and staff head into their well-deserved summer breaks, I’d like to acknowledge them for their efforts in keeping us in-person for five days a week of instruction. After two-plus years of varying restrictions and protocols, in 2021-22 we took a huge step toward “normal,” and for that, I thank all who contributed.

Philip Qualman

Before touching on some highlights of the year, I want to congratulate our graduating Class of 2022. You all have lived through some extremely challenging high school years, and we are excited to see what your future holds. We’re incredibly proud of our students’ exceptional accomplishments this school year. To name a few:

On the field of competition our accolades were also many. We saw track and field records fall, skiers win state championships, and many teams reach state tournaments with a few of them advancing all the way to the state semifinals. Not to mention having a student Olympian representing Eagle County in Beijing, China.

In the classroom, CareerX continues to be one of the best apprenticeship programs in the state. While continuing to grow business partners throughout the community, our program has helped to place 110 students in internships and over 50 apprenticeships in 30 different areas of expertise, and assisted numerous graduates in gaining additional certifications layered on top of their high school diplomas.

We’ve also seen great strides in our Seal of Biliteracy program. This year we’re graduating our highest number of Seal of Biliteracy recipients yet. Included in their ranks is our first Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy recipient and our first student receiving this honor for biliteracy in French.

Operationally speaking, our excellence in financial accuracy and transparency continues to be recognized for the fifth consecutive year. We’re also making progress in our Housing Master Plan. We broke ground on a 37-unit employee housing project while planning others to move closer to our long-term goals and maintain housing as a top priority of the district.

Another top priority, the mental well-being of our community, also took strides forward as our partnerships with numerous community groups grew and culminated with the approval of Eagle County School District having a Your Hope Center counselor in each one of our schools starting next year. These efforts, along with the help of our staff working tirelessly day in and day out, led to our being nominated for Organization of the Year for Vail Valley Partnership’s 2022 Success Awards.

Am I bragging about my dedicated staff and amazing student body? Absolutely! What they’ve been through these past few years has been beyond challenging.

I’m proud that district and school leadership has been consistent and capable of guiding us through these challenging times. I’m proud of our Board of Education for ensuring that Eagle County Schools reflects the values of the community and supports public education. And I’m proud that I can look at the Eagle County constituency and say that your school district is in good hands, that we are acting responsibly with taxpayer dollars, and that we are moving in the right direction. While the path forward is never easy, we have countless reasons for optimism.

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