Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers will be among the special guests at Colorado Springs School District 11’s communitywide school kickoff Thursday.

The event will be from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd. The program includes the launch of D-11’s new strategic direction and brand identity. The public is invited.

Polis also is scheduled to tour Pikes Peak Community College’s new Center for Healthcare Education & Simulation, at 1850 Cypress Center Drive.

The building is being remodeled to house PPCC’s allied health programs including two- and four-year nursing degrees, surgical technology, pharmacy tech, EMS, dental assisting and medical assisting and an interdisciplinary simulation lab.

“This is a big deal for us. We’ve not done anything like it in our district,” D-11 spokeswoman Devra Ashby said of the large-scale D-11 event.

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Superintendent Michael Thomas took over July 1, 2018, as head of the state’s 10th largest district, with about 27,000 students, and started working on a new direction for the district.

The strategic plan, subtitled “A New and Different D-11,” is the result of months of community sessions with about 1,500 participants, from staff, students and parents to business leaders and residents.

A planning team developed the new mission, vision and strategies. Students helped create the new logo, Ashby said.

The seven-member board of education approved the plan in the spring, and it’s being enacted now in preparation for the Aug. 14 start of the 2019-20 school year.

The district had been operating under a business plan under previous Superintendent Nicholas Gledich, who retired after a decade in the role.

“We’re primed for a strategic plan,” Ashby said.

The new mission statement is: “We dare to empower the whole student to profoundly impact our world.” And the new tagline: “Inspire Every Mind.”

The branding will be consistent, and the new direction will define decisions from the classroom to the board room, Thomas said in an interview with The Gazette in June.

“We have to be a viable option for everyone, and we want to be given an opportunity to provide support to every student,” Thomas said.

Developing equitable practices for all students, building a collaborative culture and aligning everyone on the same page are among the key initiatives.

“Strong schools equate to strong communities, and D-11 is part of a larger ecosystem called Colorado Springs,” Thomas said in June.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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