Dear DCSD Employee:

First, please keep our colleagues and the family and friends of an amazing leader from Chaparral HS, Todd Vogel, who passed away tragically this past weekend in your thoughts.  Todd’s innovative leadership will leave its mark on DCSD and Chaparral HS for quite some time.  We are all here to support the staff, students, leaders, and the community of Chaparral HS as they work through this tragic loss.

Next, I would like to bring you up to speed on the latest information regarding the $2.8 M in additional compensation that the board approved in August.  As I mentioned in a previous email, this money will go toward increasing the retention stipend that will be paid in September to all eligible DCSD employees.  The September check will now include the 1% ($2.8 M) the board approved in July plus the flat amount ($2.8 M) approved in August.  We have finalized calculations and the proportionate distribution looks like it will be done as follows:

Employee Group Flat Amount/FTE
Licensed/Admin/ProTech $575
ATU 180 Day Employees $325
ATU 260 Day Employees $450
Classified 185 Days or Less $275
Classified 186-205 Day Employees $325
Classified 206-260 Days Employees $450

If you take 1% of your salary and add the amount above from your employee group (assuming you are a full time FTE), the total will be the additional, gross amount you should expect to see in September.

Finally, we are still in the audit process, but it looks like we will have enough one-time money to add approximately $75 per student to school budgets during the October true-up.  This amount is not guaranteed, but it will not be less than $50 per student.  We are committed to putting unanticipated district savings back into the classroom as soon as we can responsibly do so.  Principals, if you have needs, please contact your DOS and/or Assistant Principal soon so that we can meet student needs now — in anticipation of this additional one-time SBB money.  We would rather work proactively to get needs met and not have our students and staff waiting.

I hope you are having a good week, and please find some time for yourself over the long weekend.  Where did the summer go?



Dear DCSD Employees:

I hope you are having a good week. I have an important update I’d like to share.  Last night, the Board of Education voted to approve an additional $2.8 million in compensation dollars for all employees.

These dollars are in addition to the 1% raise ($2.8 M) and the 1% ($2.8 M) retention stipend that the Board approved in July. If you include the $2.2 M PERA increase that the district paid for all employees, we have reallocated $10.6 M to employee compensation in FY 2013. This means that in September, when you receive your retention stipend (if you are eligible), it will include both the 1% across the board amount (one percent of your salary) and a flat amount from the second 1% or $2.8 M.

Not long after we proposed a 1% retention stipend for all employees last spring, I received a note from a high school chemistry teacher stating:

Rather that the 1+1% income increase, take the money available for this and give a flat amount to each teacher.  The average salary will get 2%, the higher salaries will get <2%, while the ones who need it the most will get .2%.  It would be like the KLA and years of service increases of the past.

We have many great newer teachers who have never had a pay increase and I am concerned they will leave to better paying jobs if we don’t give them more.

This is exactly what we plan to do with the additional $2.8 M approved by the Board last night. The amount employees receive will vary, based on their individual FTE and employee group. The flat amount for full-time teachers looks to be approximately $500. This amount will be included with the 1% retention stipend in September paychecks. Here’s an example of how this may look:

Teacher: $30,000 salary / certified employee group / 1.0 FTE:
$300 (1% stipend) + $500 (flat amount) = $800

As you probably know, we have been closing the books since July 1, 2012, and I only learned this week that we had out-performed our projections for expenditures on utilities (good job Lee and the energy team), substitutes (great job teachers), and property tax delinquencies were lower than expected.  As a result, we did not fully spend these budget lines. This creates additional one-time money or fund balance.  Since Chief Financial Officer Bonnie Betz is certain we do have this extra capacity, we wanted to take a recommendation to the Board right away so that we could include the additional dollars in the September retention stipend check, and as I mentioned, Board members fully supported this recommendation last night.

In addition, we believe that as we come to our final audit, we will have enough one-time money to also provide all schools with additional dollars per student in the current year. We are hopeful that we can add more money to school budgets during the October “true-up.” We will provide that information as quickly as we feel confident in the data.

Finally, attached is a news release announcing the allocation of unspent dollars. Please also note that the board allocated 50% ($150,000) from their department carry over for school supplies; every teacher will receive $50.00 to put toward the cost of supplies. This is not as much as we would like, but it is a start.

Thanks for everything you are doing for our students. This is already a great year. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns. One last thing…over the coming weeks we will carry out a significant communication plan about pay for performance.  We will highlight one component of the pay for performance framework each week and provide you with more opportunities to understand each component. I understand there are many questions about the system, and we want to get those answered. I also know the ambiguity of certain parts is challenging for some, but keep in mind that the reason it is ambiguous is because we are going to build it out together. If we had all of the answers, the plan would have been created quickly rather than collaboratively. As I have said before, we are committed to a fully differentiated system that is quality – measures the most important things the best way and we are going to build it together.

Have a great day.



Welcome Back to a great school year.  Whether today was your first day welcoming our students back to school or the new year is well underway, we are glad you are here! I hope you had a great first day.

As many of you know, we have had a lot going on this summer. We had GUDA and Geek Camp, the GVC liaisons launched their work, quite a few teachers completed my What is a World Class Education class, many members of the Sage Canyon Elementary staff engaged in professional learning with none other than Yong Zhao, several teachers developed DCSD-aligned units for the Outdoor Education Center, leaders trained on CITE 2.0, Center for Professional Development (CPD) kicked off the change agent program, and under the leadership of Paulette Joswick, key members of the DCSD support staff received new CPR and first aid training.

I am very excited to see the debut of many new World Class Units this year. I have really enjoyed watching teachers rethink the outcomes (or desired results), performance assessments, and new ways to engage students in the highest, most sustainable forms of learning – develop opportunities for students to synthesize, analyze, evaluate, and create with new ideas and skills.  We have many “pioneer” teachers and leaders in DCSD who are leading the country in developing world class units — so that our students are the best prepared in the world on what matters most.

Not only were many DCSD staff members involved in various, important growth and development opportunities, some DCSD staff members provided growth and development for our students and parents during the summer.  For example, with the support of the entire district, Sedalia Elementary School offered a wonderful summer program to many of their students; and Rocky Heights Middle School modeled student advocacy in action with their Early Flight Transition Program for new 6th grade students and their Parent Boot Camp. A few 6th grade students from RHMS shared with me how much more comfortable they felt coming to school after the Early Flight Transition Program. Easing transitions is so important in education – great job RHMS!!

And…if you don’t know already, DCSD is the first school district in Colorado to have its own app in the iTunes App store, sponsored by Health One (no cost to the district). You can download it for free right now.  It will be available for Droid users soon!  And…our goal is to have an app for every school in the district. We have raised approximately 1/3 of the money needed to fully sponsor the school apps. Congratulations to our community relations department for their hard (and continuing) work on this! Believe it or not, there are many improvements already on the way… including DUG TV (like TED TV). 🙂

Again, I hope you are having a great week! I hope to see you soon.



P.S. If you like Twitter…I’m @DCSDFagen, and I have updated my blog  – the link is http://bit.ly/R12LNK