School Views: Welcome back to school |

School Views: Welcome back to school

Philip Qualman
School Views
Philip Qualman

Toward the end of last school year, and all summer long, I’ve been engaged in collaborative efforts with one common goal: moving forward together. From our Youth Equity Stewardship’s ListenUp! event that took place in May, to the months of conversations we’ve had in our district discussing the next steps in our standards-based grading work, I look around and am thankful for what I see.

We’ve spent countless hours finding ways to deal with the housing crunch. We’ve made progress at our Edwards Housing Project, and I’m excited about our continued partnership with Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley which has actively begun taking applications for its next development in Eagle. I’m overwhelmed by the amazing response we’ve gotten from the community to letters I sent out asking homeowners to consider renting to district employees. We’re incredibly grateful for those willing to help us tackle the housing issue. This is an ongoing effort and we will continue to explore every option available.

Optimism doesn’t mean we don’t recognize there’s still work to be done. We’re faced with staffing shortages, but are committed to facing them as a team. We are actively recruiting staff members for a number of positions and helping those interested in a career in education find a pathway to achieve that goal.

The federal government has covered the cost of lunches for all students for the past few years. This is no longer the case. And while the state is looking at options for the next school year, school lunch expenses are back for families for the 2022-23 academic year. We encourage anyone who may qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch to apply. This helps with student and athletic fees as well, so speak with your school’s office staff or visit for more information. Full bellies lead to happy hearts, and happy hearts lead to interested minds.

I’m also going to continue to have hard conversations about educational funding at the state level. Our system is broken and our state legislators need to hear about it. I will work with other administrators and fight for the system to be reimagined for the benefit of both our students and our staff. Education in Colorado deserves better. I was disappointed that Initiative 63 failed to garner enough signatures to be on the next ballot, but that does not mean our fight is over. This is something that will continue long into the future as we seek to change for the benefit of our children.

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Hopefully, over the summer months, you were able to enjoy some sunshine. Like many of you, I too worked, but did my best to recharge and reset. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us. Welcome back, Eagle County School District families! You are what makes us great.

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

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