SCOTT GRAVES & STEVE MCKENNA
Inspiring Our Kids Through Excellence
Scott and Steve believe parents and teachers want the same things - for children in Cherry Creek Schools to be safe and secure in our schools, to feel welcome and a sense of belonging when they walk in the door of the building every day, and to grow to be the best they can be in our classrooms. They want children to be prepared for their futures, whatever they may look like, and to be prepared for the opportunity to achieve their biggest dreams!
Inspiring Excellence Action Plan
CURRENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE FACTS
“[R]ecent state data shows that about half of Cherry Creek students met or exceeded grade level expectations in English language arts while 39.9% of students [did so] in math.”
At CC’s Challenge School 88% of students met grade level expectations in ELA while 85% did so in math. At the other end of the spectrum, only 17% of Prairie Middle School students met expectations in ELA and only 8% did so in math.
Source: The Sentinel, September 12, 2023 “Cherry Creek schools student state test scores essentially flat from last year”
“The 2023 CMAS scores show 61.6% of Douglas County School District students met or exceeded expectations in English language arts, and 50.7% of students met or exceeded expectations in math.”
Source: Colorado Community Media, August 23, 2023 “Douglas County scores some of the highest in state”
Douglas County schools surpassed Cherry Creek by over 10% in both ELA and math, despite having significantly lower starting teacher salaries -- $45,209 vs. $58,710. Why?
Such disparities amongst our schools and others should be studied so that we can identify what is working and what is not.
ONE IDEA TO RETURN OUR SCHOOLS TO ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
Scott and Steve propose a program that inspires academic excellence where the district identifies and recognizes its most effective teachers at each grade level and encourages them to provide their colleagues with the secrets of their success for implementation the following year.
In the pilot program, to be implemented this school year, three teachers in each of grades three through eight will be selected based upon improvements in CMAS test results and recognized as district leaders. They will then be encouraged and incentivized to share their lesson plans, course materials, and a video where they identify and explain what they view as their keys to success. These materials will then be shared with other teachers that can then adopt them, in whole or in part, based on their individual classroom needs.
We will solicit feedback on the program over the summer and next fall to refine it and determine whether this should be done every year or less frequently to provide an additional tool for our teachers and students to excel. This plan is specifically designed to capitalize on demonstrated excellence from top teachers and to deploy these best practices throughout the district for better educated students and higher district CMAS test results.
We know that we have fantastic teachers in Cherry Creek Schools. By sharing the successful strategies of our best teachers, specifically with regard to academics, we can improve results for all of our teachers and kids. This plan will be easy to employ and require no additional cost to taxpayers.
Simple solutions like this can and will help Cherry Creek School District realize its historical “Commitment to Excellence.”
Meet The Candidates
Steve is a Navy veteran, attorney, author, husband and most importantly a father to three children. Steve has a law degree as well as an aerospace engineering degree. He believes in our public education system and wants CCSD to inspire excellence in their students.
Our Main Goals
We want Cherry Creek Schools to be proud of our academic standards and accomplishments. Students should leave their time in our schools with the needed skills and knowledge to achieve their biggest dreams! We want every child to reach their highest level of academic potential and pledge to work to continue recognizing the honor of being named Valedictorian of their class. We believe children should be encouraged to set goals and to feel the sense of pride that comes with having worked hard to achieve them.
SAFE & CARING SCHOOLS
Every child should feel safe at school. When parents kiss their kids in the morning and entrust them to their teachers for the day , they want to know they will be safe, welcome, and cherished. We know teachers and staff want to feel safe too. Because of this, we will work to have a School Resource Officer in every single Cherry Creek school, not just our high schools. We are also committed to ensuring our schools provide all children a welcoming and inclusive environment in which to learn and grow.
We believe partnerships between the student, their parents, and their teachers will produce an understanding of everyone’s needs and expectations in order to maximize student success. We want to create the opportunity for parents to be as involved in Cherry Creek Schools as they would like and their schedules will allow and believe these partnerships will provide transparency and accountability for all parties. Research has shown that when all three parties are involved, both students and teachers are more successful and feel more supported.
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