The question, “How was your summer?” often produces the same one-word response: “Short.”

It’s still hot and sunny outside, but from the rural communities to the urban centers, students are heading inside to school.

Four of the Pikes Peak region’s 17 public school districts are starting the 2019-2020 academic year with a new superintendent.

A change of command began July 1 at Academy School District 20 in northern Colorado Springs, Harrison School District 2 in southeast Colorado Springs, Lewis-Palmer School District 38 in Monument and Manitou Springs School District 14 in Manitou Springs. Harrison D-2 is the first in the state to test a “dual superintendent” model.

The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, a statewide specialty school based in Colorado Springs, also has a new superintendent.

Residential growth to the east, north, and south has necessitated the need for more schools, with a brand-new elementary school coming online in School District 49 last month, a preschool through eighth-grade school opening last week in Widefield School District 3 and a middle school debuting Tuesday in Academy D-20.

All three districts passed ballot financing measures in recent years to pay for the multimillion dollar buildings with 21st-century features such as “soft seating,” flexible spaces and desks and tables on wheels.

Depending on how enrollment shakes out, Colorado Springs School District 11, the area’s oldest and largest district, might lose one of its titles. Declining enrolling has led to a new strategic plan focusing on equity, collaboration and improving academic performance.

At the state level, new legislation refocuses how reading is taught in early grades to boost performance under the READ Act (Reading to Ensure Academic Development) of 2012.

Districts are being required to provide “evidence-based” services focusing on phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency and comprehension, said Colorado Department of Education spokesman Jeremy Meyer.

Other legislation provided for loan forgiveness for some rural teachers, principals and special-service providers and several stipend programs for rural teachers.

More opportunities for high school students to take college courses while working on earning their high school diploma will be available.

Gov. Jared Polis’ campaign promise to fund full-day kindergarten has been realized. All districts are banned from charging tuition for full-day kindergarten, which will be funded this year with $175 million from state coffers.

Because some specialized Colorado Preschool Program positions have been used to support full-day kindergarten, there are now nearly 5,100 additional preschool positions for at-risk children from low-income households.

Here’s what’s new in each of the region’s districts.

Academy D-20

This will be Tom Gregory’s 29th year working in D-20 and 30th year in education. But it’s his first time as superintendent.

“I’m pretty well-grounded in the district,” he said.

Two pillars continue to be ingrained in D-20, Gregory said: Plenty of choice and options for students and parents, and site-based management instead of central office control.

The latter allows individual school leaders to decide what’s best for their community, Gregory said.

He cites the new Chinook Trail Middle School, which is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, as an example. The principal chose curriculum, in line with state academic standards, and the building design.

Gregory said he wants to encourage school principals, administrators, teachers and parents to be creative and take risks.

“The world is changing quickly; we need to adapt, and that can’t come from one place in the district,” he said. “It needs to filter up instead of down.”

Forty D-20 buildings have been refurbished with funding from a $230 million bond voters passed in 2016.

A new elementary school opened in the fall of 2018 as part of 100,000 square feet of expansion last year. This fall, another 250,000 square feet has been added. There’s 7,000 more to go, Gregory said.

“Everybody’s been affected in some way, from small projects to new schools,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”

Just over $60 million of the approved bonds have yet to be issued. Another new elementary school in the North Fork neighborhood is planned.

A new learning management system, Schoology, is being implemented as the means by which students and teachers interact electronically.

Finance, technology and human resources departments have a new electronic planning setup for employees. The project has been in the works for 18 months, led by Gregory in his former job as chief financial officer. Becky Allan is the new CFO.

“It’s all coming together,” Gregory said. “There’s a feeling of change happening that’s positive. There’s an energy and cohesiveness. Our brand is ‘Peak of Excellence,’ which I want to work towards. I want parents, teachers and administrators to live that slogan.”

Calhan RJ-1

For the first time, Superintendent David Slothower is removing his principal hat and concentrating solely on running the district, 35 miles east of Colorado Springs.

Increasing enrollment has paved the way for the change.

“Due to our growth, we’ve expanded our administrative component,” he said.

The new secondary principal is Donovan Mitchell, a third-generation Calhan High School graduate. Mitchell had been the district’s activities director for the past two years. A new assistant principal and activities director also have been hired.

The board is considering placing an $11 million to $15 million bond measure before voters in November to expand the school and build a career technical education center. Classes in vocational agriculture and information technology are housed in a modular building. Programs would expand to include business, wind technology, graphic arts and performing arts, Slothower said.

A state BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant will upgrade the strength and condition and fitness facility at the school and fund workout programs for students and the community. Money also will pay for district kitchen enhancements.

Cheyenne Mountain D-12

When D-12 students return Thursday and Friday, Cheyenne Mountain High School will have a new principal.

Former assistant principal Carrie Brenner will take over for longtime administrator Don Fortenberry, who retired. Fortenberry was principal for six years and had been with D-12 since 1999, Superintendent Walt Cooper said.

Previously an assistant principal, Brenner is the first female principal in the history of the school, according to Cooper.

In addition to Brenner, administrative changes at Cheyenne Mountain include the addition of Kim Sandoval as assistant principal and Liz Cole as dean of students.

Sandoval has worked for D-12 for about 20 years, Cooper said. She was previously an administrator in Lewis-Palmer School District 38 before her return to D-12.

Cole was previously an assistant principal at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Cooper said.

At the district administration level, D-12 added a new position, director of safety and security. The role will be filled by former school resource officer Susan Payne, who founded Safe2Tell, a school safety tip line that allows community members to anonymously report possible security threats.

“We’re fortunate to have her on our team to add to our safety operations,” Cooper said.

Cooper, now in his 13th year as superintendent, said he sees the district’s emotional and mental health services as strengths that improve school safety. But he and the district wanted to improve the physical safety of school facilities.

“We just felt like we didn’t have the internal expertise on some of the other aspects of safety and security,” Cooper said.

The high-achieving district’s enrollment remains constant, Cooper said. Because the district has a high number of choice-in requests, it can vary out-of-district acceptance rates to keep overall enrollment steady.

Cooper said the in-district population is slowly increasing, so the number of choice students the district accepts is slowly decreasing to accommodate the in-district growth.

Among other changes, elementary schools will have new math curriculum in the fall. Cooper said the switch came out of a standard evaluation of school curriculum.

The district’s transition program for high-needs and nontraditional students is moving to the campus of Cheyenne Mountain Junior High, Cooper said.

Colorado Springs D-11

A new mission statement: “We dare to empower the whole student to profoundly impact the world,” a new strategic plan and a new brand are being implemented districtwide as school starts Wednesday.

The changes, developed with input from 1,500 people from staff to residents and business leaders, were announced at a communitywide school kickoff last week at The Broadmoor World Arena.

A new equity policy and regulations will be established to address a focus on equity for all students and removing barriers, said district spokeswoman Devra Ashby.

Two D-11 elementary schools, Mark Twain and Monroe, will offer before- and after-school enrichment programs and be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. this school year, as an example of “an equitable practice to provide children opportunities,” she said.

Another example is a new community health center being built at Mitchell High School. It’s scheduled to open in December and will serve students, families and residents.

Many schools are seeing upgrades from funding from a 2017 voter-approved mill levy override of $42 million.

A new initiative is to develop a “graduate profile” of what qualities define a D-11 graduate and how students can reach those, Ashby said.

Cripple Creek-Victor RE-1

To further engage parents and the community, Superintendent Tory Richey is starting monthly parent dinners, at which student-of-the-month awards will be given out.

The event will rotate between the elementary and secondary schools. Biweekly community coffees that started last year in Cripple Creek and Victor also will continue, he said.

“We wanted to have something in the evenings to communicate with the parents as well,” Richey said.

A new early literacy grant is funding elementary school staff training to help gather data for professional learning communities, which the district started last year and is enhancing this year.

Specialty classes, including drama, automotive and woodshop continue to be popular, Richey said.

Edison 54-JT

Superintendent Paul Frank also has removed one job title — he’s no longer principal. Career counselor and math teacher Corinna Brewer has moved into the role after completing her principal licensure and said in a newsletter that she’s excited about her new position.

Four new teachers out of a staff of 15 make for a big change in a small district, said Frank. Edison is the region’s smallest district with 232 students last year. Frank expects enrollment to be stable this year.

Brooke Sifford has returned as an elementary teacher to help in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. She also has taken over interventions in the afternoon.

James Lavalette is a new face in the secondary school, taking on English classes, yearbook and computer classes.

Jasmine Burgos is new, working in elementary literacy, ELL and Spanish classes. However, smaller preschool numbers will shrink the program from four to two days a week.

The district has updated science curriculum, in preparation for state standards to change in a few years.

And, “We’re moving into our third year in our new building and still enjoying it,” Frank said.

The remodel, funded by community tax dollars and a BEST grant, combined elementary and secondary schools back into one building, which Frank said is beneficial.

“It’s been nice to develop that family atmosphere when older and younger kids rub shoulders more,” he said. “It’s a novelty in the school setting but in our setting, it’s great.”

Ellicott D-22

A ban on cellphones in classrooms, a new tornado shelter under construction and adjusting for growth are among the changes greeting students this fall.

Steady enrollment growth has led Superintendent Chris Smith to hire 20 additional staff.

“We have a full house,” he said. “A new administrative team has been working all summer to get ready for opening day.” School starts Monday.

A full-time preschool director has been added to oversee 100 youngsters. A School Counselors Corps grant is allowing for two counselors for 450 K-5 students.

The summer months brought building improvements. A $470,000 grant added secure entrances at the elementary and high school buildings and updated the Raptor security system and cameras.

“We’re going for 100 percent identification on staff and students, which will be a change for our entryways, which can sometimes be hard for people,” Smith said. “But we’ve got to make sure we take steps to secure our children and do everything we can.”

School resource officer time will increase to three days a week at D-22 schools, Smith said, up from one day a week. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office deputy will work two days a week at Hanover D-28. The districts will split the cost, Smith said.

“We’re hoping it can transition into a proactive program — talking to students to get them thinking before they make a poor choice,” he said.

A sheriff’s patrol office opened on school property in June.

To keep the focus on learning, cellphones will be banned in classrooms and secured in lockers from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. D-22 provides laptops or iPads for secondary students to do school work.

“So there’s no need for a phone,” Smith said.

A $2.1 million BEST grant, requiring an $836,000 match from the district, funded a new sewer line that had cracked following a tornado that hit district buildings in 2000. A new tornado, or high wind, shelter, is in the works. Students no longer will have to cross the highway to huddle up during severe weather.

March’s bomb cyclone tore the high school gym roof “to shreds,” Smith said, which was replaced over the summer.

“I’ve been doing this for a while, and I’m probably the most excited I’ve been in 20 years,” he said. “We have new energy with new staff and new administrators. We took our lumps athletically and academically last year, moving to 3A for volleyball and basketball, but we’re taking steps and making progress.”

Fountain-Fort Carson D-8

Construction is coming to fruition at Fountain Middle School, which is launching new auxiliary areas, including the gym and main office. That adds on to the 55 percent of the building that was completed at the start of the 2018 school year.

Fountain Middle School isn’t the only school with building updates; every D-8 school received repair work from hail damage.

“There was not a single building that wasn’t impacted by that,” said Lori Cooper, assistant superintendent of student achievement.

Remodeling of Mesa Elementary includes new ductwork for heating and air conditioning, new wiring and fiber optic cables, as well as ceiling modifications and restroom renovations.

Fountain-Fort Carson High School’s main office was also refurbished as a part of updates on the building’s security after the district received a $1 million grant for security and safety measures.

The district is welcoming 151 new teachers and three new principals with Karry Davis leading Jordahl Elementary, Trica Starzynski at Eagle Side Elementary and Anthony Greco heading Carson Middle School.

Preschool offerings will expand this year with four new classes districtwide.

A new English and Language Arts curriculum for elementary schools is being rolled out to meet revisions to state academic standards.

D-8 also has new programs to support students’ social and emotional well-being. Responsive Classrooms is a schoolwide approach to build relationships in the classroom.

Secondary schools will implement the Below the Surface Program led by the National Alliance on Mental Illness — a grassroots effort to engage students and provide support outside the classroom. The program gives students the ability to text a mental health service provider.

Other programs include AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college readiness program that teachers spent three days learning how to implement in their classrooms during a summer institute.

“We’re super proud that we have about 68 percent of our teaching staff in the secondary school trained in AVID,” said Montina Romero, the district’s deputy superintendent.

Hanover D-28

The unexpected popularity of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) track has led to expansion this year.

There’s a large dedicated space for classes, two teachers have been hired specifically for the program, and more engineering courses are being offered, said Superintendent Grant Schmidt.

Two new playgrounds have sprouted after last year’s hail damage. The elementary school and the community park across the road from the junior/senior high school have new playground equipment.

A $120,000 grant will enable the district, in southeast El Paso County, to prepare for upcoming changes to state academic standards for English language arts.

“We have a consultant leading professional development training throughout the year, working with staff to write curricula,” Schmidt said.

Statewide standards for all content areas except science will change in 2020, and science in 2021. State assessments will be revised in 2021 to match the new expectations.

Additional funding from the state’s new full-day kindergarten mandate purchased updated technology and furniture for kindergarten classrooms, Schmidt said.

Harrison D-2

The state’s first dual superintendents, Wendy Birhanzel and John Rogerson, have divided up duties and dug in. They’re continuing to promote the idea that all students are capable of excellence, regardless of their ZIP code, Birhanzel said.

Delivering quality instruction and developing the healthy well-being of children — including through social skills, coping mechanisms and problem-solving abilities — are priorities, Rogerson said.

Equity also is a key focus, Birhanzel said, meaning opportunity for all in the classroom, in athletics and in other activities.

“We want to find ways to determine what student success looks like and find their talents,” Rogerson said.

Taking care of students is just part of the job, the pair said. Teachers, staff, families and the community also need assistance, which the district works toward fulfilling.

Birhanzel oversees the high schools, while Rogerson has middle schools, and they split the elementary schools.

“We’re trying to use this model to target our needs, where we can go deeper on an issue,” Birhanzel said. “It’s allowed us to come up with more practical and useful solutions.”

The model also enables them to be in classrooms and provide targeted support, she added.

Four renovation projects have been completed with funding from a $180 million bond issue voters approved in November, with more to come.

“We’re right on schedule with everything,” Rogerson said. “It shows our community’s trust and value of schools, and we’re taking good care of the money.”

Every classroom was redone at Otero Elementary, and Centennial Elementary also received major renovations, such as a library center and learning commons. Upgraded technology and mechanical systems also were completed.

A building expansion at Sand Creek International School has made room to add sixth grade this year and seventh and eighth grades in upcoming years. The expansion will be finished in mid-September.

The interior of Mountain Vista is being renovated to also add middle school grades for a K-8 campus.

Options for a new compensation model being developed by a committee of 22 staff members should be rolled out by December. The longtime pay-for-performance compensation scale was suspended last year, after complaints and high turnover.

Employees received a 3 percent across-the-board increase in May 2018 and a graduated percentage in December. Raises this year targeted lowest-paid teachers and support professionals.

Free school supplies for all kindergarten through eighth-grade students is a new initiative from Rogerson and Birhanzel. The district is using $231,000 of federal Title 1 funds.

“That’s an equity thing,” Birhanzel said. “We want students to learn and have everything available they need.”

Rogerson said there’s been a lot of interest from other districts around Colorado and also outside the state on how the new leadership model is working.

“We’re on a new track,” he said. “We’re getting the culture revived, supporting students and bringing in the community as partners.”

Construction to replace Carmel Middle School with a new building will start in the spring. Adult education classes will be included, and Sierra High School is expanding its adult-level opportunities.

“This bond is helping rejuvenate the southeast community,” Rogerson said.

Lewis-Palmer D-38

Changes at Lewis-Palmer School District 38 start at the top, as the district continues to adapt to a booming population in the Tri-Lakes communities of Monument, Palmer Lake and Woodmoor.

New superintendent Kenneth Sommers took over July 1 from Karen Brofft, who retired after five years in the position.

Sommers was an elementary and high school principal. He came to D-38 after serving as an area superintendent at Aurora Public Schools.

“I’m humbled and inspired to lead Lewis-Palmer School District into the future,” Sommers said.

CFO David Crews and Krystal Rasmussen, director of student services, are also new to the district this year.

Both of the district’s high schools have new principals. Bridget O’Connor takes over from Anthony Karr at Lewis-Palmer High School. O’Connor had been an assistant principal at the school since 2015, according to the district’s website.

Terry Bramschreiber will start his first school year as principal at Palmer Ridge. He replaces Gary Gabel, who retired in the spring after serving as the school’s principal since it opened in 2008.

Bramschreiber was an assistant principal at Discovery Canyon Campus High School in Academy D-20 since 2009. According to D-38, he has over 20 years of experience in education.

Alicia Welch is the new principal at Prairie Winds Elementary. For the last six years, she was the principal at Global Village Academy, a state-authorized charter school in Colorado Springs.

Joining the new administrators are about 60 new teachers, nurses, counselors and specialists, district spokeswoman Julie Stephen said.

D-38 has been coping with a growing area population over recent years, and this year is adding portable classrooms at Bear Creek Elementary School, Ray Kilmer Elementary School and Lewis-Palmer Middle School.

Lewis-Palmer Middle is at capacity, and the district is not accepting out-of-district choice enrollment for kindergarten through eighth grade, Stephen said.

In an effort to accommodate increasing enrollment, the district will likely reach out to voters once again in November with a bond proposal, Stephen said. The bond would be used to build another elementary school.

Last year voters rejected a bond proposal that would have provided D-38 with about $30 million in funds for expansion. The last time the district successfully passed a bond was 1999.

Other new facility upgrades this year include security cameras districtwide and new security doors at Palmer Lake Elementary.

Manitou Springs D-14

New Superintendent Elizabeth Domangue has been meeting people, listening and learning to set the tone for her leadership style of working together to get things done.

Her goal: “For us to come together as a team, rooted in high trust, collaboration, understanding and meaningful outcomes for students, staff, families and the community.”

Staff members will co-create a core values statement to root decision-making, she said.
“Manitou Springs is so rich in culture and tradition and represents what I care about in public education — focusing on the whole child,” Domangue said.

She will spearhead developing a strategic plan, with goals that will focus on connecting “things like our partnerships and community engagement, student growth and achievement around both academic and social/emotional development, staff retention and long-term capital needs.”

Domangue, who most recently was a professor in the education department at the University of Northern Colorado and also was a principal in Harrison D-2, also defines herself as an instructional leader, who plans to spend time in classrooms.

Continuing talks with city leaders about mental health is another priority. And a $15,000 grant from the Colorado Springs Health Foundation will fund training all 10th graders in first aid, making D-14 the first district in the state to do so.

Markus Moeder-Chandler, who came from Fountain-Fort Carson D-8, is the new high school principal.

Other developments: the career and technical education program is expanding to middle school students, a program to support unemployed and underemployed students is underway, Manitou Springs Elementary School has a new playground, and Ute Pass Elementary is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Miami-Yoder D-60

The 1:1 electronic device program, which provides students with iPads they can use during school and take home for schoolwork, is expanding to encompass all sixth through 12th graders, said Superintendent Dwight Barnes.

“It gives us the capability to handle resources electronically,” he said. “There are no lost papers, if the kids are absent or sick, they can still do school work. Some teachers are doing podcasts they can listen to.”

Last school year, only sixth- and seventh-grade students received devices from the district.

The roof over the gym has been replaced, after being damaged by a hailstorm last year and then this year’s bomb cyclone.

Thirty junior high and high school students, about two-thirds of the secondary school, have signed up for the college prep program to take classes at Pikes Peak Community College or vocational or technical courses, Barnes said.

“We’ve had a good start to the year,” he said.

The district, 38 miles east of Colorado Springs, will ask voters to remove term limits from school board seats in November’s election. The current limit is two terms.

“We have a few people interested in staying on, and we don’t want to lose them,” Barnes said. “Like other rural districts, it’s hard for us to get board members.”

Peyton 23-JT

This semester is the first time teachers and other district employees will be armed, under board policy approved last year to allow trained volunteer staff to carry concealed handguns. It’s the second district in the Pikes Peak region to do so; Hanover D-28 was the first.

It’s one of four prongs of a new approach to safety and security, said Peyton Superintendent Tim Kistler. All 100 employees have selected how they want to participate, he said. A medical team, a building evaluation team, a social/emotional team and the armed team form the security program.

Armed staff receive ongoing training and are aligned with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the SWAT team, according to Kistler. A grant is paying for the medical team to be trained in the Stop the Bleed campaign and first aid. Social-emotional team members are learning from outside speakers about identifying, knowing and understanding students’ issues.

“It’s going really well,” Kistler said. “The entire staff has come together and signed up for what they feel most comfortable with.”

The Peyton Online Academy is expanding to fifth and sixth grades this year. The program started with high schoolers three years ago and was lowered to include seventh and eighth graders last year. Now, it’s at the elementary level.

“Nontraditional students like the self-paced program, which we call a hybrid, because a lot of the learning may be on their own and guided online,” Kistler said.

He expects the program to grow from 15 to 40 students.

“Students sometimes do not excel well in the four walls of a building and under direct instruction,” Kistler said.

A 2017 mill levy override is paying to fix buildings and provide supplemental pay for staff, who endured years of no raises, he said.

The roofs on the district’s career technical facility were replaced over the summer, and security gates and cameras now surround the exterior of school buildings, for added protection.

State funding for full-time kindergarten will pay for two teachers, Kistler said, adding that new legislation for stipends for rural teachers will help as well.

“We appreciate the Legislature is at least looking at the unique needs of the rural schools and allowing us to work through some of those,” he said.

“Before, we were always in competition for money with the large districts, with little regard to our needs.”

School District 49

Reaching over 22,000 students, D-49 is the third-largest in the region and one of the fastest-growing districts.

“We continue to grow and welcome new families to D-49,” said spokesman David Nancarrow.

Part of that growth comes from Inspiration View, a new elementary school that opened to kindergarten through fifth-grade students a few weeks ago and has the capacity to grow to 600. The school in the Banning-Lewis Ranch neighborhood has an arts-integrated curriculum.

“We’re very excited about the new school coming online,” Nancarrow said. “We think that it will offer a unique experience.”

D-49 also opened a new elementary school last fall, both coming as a result of a 2016 voter-approved mill levy override.

Growth also takes shape with new principals, including Darryl Bonds at Falcon High School, Steve Gard at Patriot High School and Beth Dowdy at Stetson Elementary School.

Sand Creek High School started a pilot program for the Blue Point Alert System in April. The system, which immediately alerts police and launches lockdown procedures, is expected to expand to other schools in the district, according to Nancarrow.

Widefield D-3

Security, innovation and a new school are among the highlights in this district in southeastern El Paso County

D-3 has hired two additional staff for the Safety and Security Department, bringing the total to 13, said spokeswoman Samantha Briggs.

Of those, four are armed mobile positions, in which the individuals drive around all school campuses.

Each high school has two campus supervisors, one is armed and one is not. Armed supervisors also are stationed at the new preschool through eighth grade Grand Mountain School and the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab, or MILL National Training Center.

The joint program of D-3, Peyton 23-JT and business and industry houses three programs, wood manufacturing, cabinetry and construction.

In addition to the district Safety and Security Department, three School Resource Officers, who are deputies from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, work in D-3. They are positioned at Widefield High School, Mesa Ridge High School and Watson Junior High. But all junior high and elementary schools are served, Briggs said.

Schools throughout the district also have more security cameras this year. A BEST grant will fund further improvements at seven D-3 schools.

In the spring, the Colorado Department of Education granted Widefield Elementary, King Elementary and Grand Mountain innovation status, starting this school year.

The designation gives schools more autonomy and greater flexibility and control over budget, staff and operations.

“It allows our schools to make changes to educational programming, calendars and schedules,” Briggs said. “It also provides a pathway for schools to obtain great individual autonomy in order to implement diverse approaches to learning.”

They also add to the choice menu for parents, she added.

Widefield Elementary is now called Widefield Elementary School of the Arts, focusing on music and performing arts. King Elementary is keeping its name but has changed its curriculum model to project-based learning. Grand Mountain emphasizes computer science and coding.

D-3 also has Talbott STEAM Innovation School, which received innovation status two years ago.

Woodland Park RE-2

Ginger Slocum has been hired as the new principal at Columbine Elementary School. She replaces the retiring Veronica Wolken. Slocum has 23 years’ experience in education, most recently principal at Fitzsimmons Middle School in Bailey.

A flurry of facility maintenance has been happening, including replacing the flooring at the middle school, landscaping at the elementary schools and new boilers and other equipment.

Work to begin replacing the high school track will start soon, said spokeswoman Stacy Schubloom.

District officials had been planning to install security vestibules using grant money, but that’s on hold until next summer, she said, because the materials didn’t arrive in time for this year.

Kevin Burr has moved from interim principal to permanent principal at the high school, and this will be his first full year in that role.

“We’re excited for the school year and ready to roll,” Schubloom said. Classes start Aug. 21.

Gazette interns Evan Ochsner and Jessica Snouwaert contributed to this article.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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