Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Setting record straight on Douglas County school ratings

Posted 1/26/15

We would like to take a moment to apologize to the students, teachers and staff of our Douglas County School District alternative education campuses for the misleading and derogatory comments quoted …

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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Setting record straight on Douglas County school ratings

Posted

We would like to take a moment to apologize to the students, teachers and staff of our Douglas County School District alternative education campuses for the misleading and derogatory comments quoted in a recent article written by Colorado Community Media reporter Jane Reuter.

The statements quoted in the article implied that the Douglas County School District is Accredited with Distinction by the Colorado Department of Education solely because its alternative education campuses’ scores were removed from the CDE’s formula for accrediting school districts this year — leaving the reader to believe that the scores must have been poor.

The truth is all three of DCSD’s alternative education campuses received a rating of AEC: Performance Plan; Performance is the highest rating available for any school. CDE’s accreditation formula was consistently applied to all Colorado schools and districts.

The Douglas County School District is proud of all of its talented students, teachers, and staff. It is their hard work and dedication to something better in education for the 21st century that has led to DCSD being the only district over 30,000 students to earn CDE’s highest rating: Accredited with Distinction.

Kevin Larsen, president, Douglas County Board of Education
Doug Benevento, vice president, Douglas County Board of Education

Comments

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Chinook

It's getting a little tiresome listening to Doug Benevento whine about parents and reporters who dare to tell the truth about issues that portray him and his cronies in a negative light.

This letter from the Colorado Commissioner of Education clearly shows that parents quoted in the article lamented above were correct in stating that the district's petition for changing accreditation level was granted in part because "removing the data for students enrolled in the AEC from the calculations... would otherwise cause the District or Institute to receive a higher Accreditation rating."

https://www.dcsdk12.org/sites/default/files/communityrelations/Douglas%20County%20R2R%20Response%20from%20CDE_11.11.14.pdf

Benevento similarly attacked a 9News journalist when he was with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment over a story on radioactive soil, but when asked which parts of the report were misleading, could only point to semantics. http://www.westword.com/2005-10-27/news/soiled/

And he attacked Colorado Community Media last year, publicly stating falsehoods that were easily debunked by a quick glance at the article in question, and doing so during a school board meeting when he has the floor and no one is allowed to challenge his statements. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx6EPfWB_mI&x-yt-ts=1422503916&feature=player_embedded&x-yt-cl=85027636

It seems that Mr. Benevento's strategy is to attempt to bully and intimidate parents and journalists into silence. As elected government officials, Mr. Benevento and Mr. Larsen have an obligation not to interfere with freedom of speech or freedom of the press. Parents and journalists, do not let these people intimidate you. Please continue to speak out.

| Thursday, January 29, 2015
LauraWelch

What a strange and defensive letter from our elected school board officials. For the past 4 years, Douglas County School District officials have consistently blamed their Alternative Education Campuses for the district losing the ‘Accredited with Distinction’ designation DCSD schools enjoyed before the “reform” school board took control.

It is commonly acknowledged that students who need alternative education are often disadvantaged in some way, and there are multiple studies showing that these students tend to score lower on standardized tests. How is it suddenly “misleading and derogatory” to acknowledge the fact that DCSD asked the state to remove the three AEC campuses from their review so that DCSD’s rating could go up?

This letter is a poor attempt to divert attention from the many problems in DCSD. Directors Larsen and Benevento, it has been almost THREE years since you and your fellow board members first committed to doing another parent, staff and community survey. Where’s your integrity? Why don’t you keep your word?

Friday, January 30, 2015