Dan Deaver, the building manager at Dos Rios Elementary School, was named Classified Employee of the Year for Greeley-Evans School District 6 and he was honored at the Board of Education meeting Monday, March 13.

Deaver has worked at District 6 for 21 years, and most of his work has been at Dos Rios. He started with the district as a night custodian, and has worked as a building manager for 16 years. Deaver received this honor from the Classified Council, which received more than 40 nominations for outstanding employees this year.

Deaver is an important part of the Dos Rios family, says Christine Alcazar, who along with the leadership team at Dos Rios nominated Deaver for this honor. She said Deaver works closely with staff and students, even mentoring a young student who is interested in becoming a custodian someday.

“We can all rely on Dan to welcome us in the mornings,” Alcazar says in her nomination. “Dan does not only support staff, he helps students in need as well. Dan goes beyond the job title of building manager to work with students.”

Deaver thanked his co-workers at Dos Rios and the Classified Council for his honor.

“It has been a pleasure to work with them all,” he said. “Thank you very much.”

Dr. Pilch says classified employees are integral to the success of students in District 6.

“We could not do what we do for students without our classified staff,” says Dr. Deirdre Pilch. “Without the support of our classified staff, our teachers could not do what they do every day.”

Board of Education, GEA approve master contract

The Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education approved a new two-year agreement with the Greeley Education Association that includes a new salary schedule for teachers and other employees covered by the Master Contract.

Members of the Greeley Education Association also overwhelmingly approved the contract during a recent vote that concluded Tuesday night. GEA President Pat Otto said 99.2 percent of the voting GEA members approved the contract.

A new salary schedule for teachers and other licensed personnel is the major feature of the new contract. There will be a transitional salary schedule in place for a few years as the changes are phased in and implemented. 

The major changes in the salary schedule are:

  • A 2.5-percent increase between steps for years of service on the salary schedule. The previous schedule included a 3.75 percent increase between steps.
  • The increase from 12 to 15 on the increment of advanced education credits needed to move horizontally on the salary schedule. 
  • The removal of three columns on the salary schedule, and the addition of a column for employees who achieve an advanced doctorate degree.
  • The implementation of incentive raises at a higher rate, beginning at year five and continuing in five-year increments to honor longevity of employment.

While this change will cost District 6 a little more this year, it will save money over time in salaries and it will be sustainable, says District 6 Superintendent Dr. Deirdre Pilch.

“We came together to engage, we were empowered by the Board of Education to do the work, and what we have done is truly inspirational,” Dr. Pilch says. “This work is monumental; it is work that other districts won’t even take on.”

Steve Hall was the only board member to vote against the contract, saying he could not vote for a salary schedule that did not reward employees for performance, and that creates a “promise” of salary advancement. He also thanked teachers for their service.

All other board members voiced support for the contract. Board President Roger DeWitt read a letter of support from Board Member John W. Haefeli, who was not able to attend the meeting. Mr. DeWitt says he is “stunned” the agreement was reached given the history of the district.

“A couple years ago things were a little bit different in this room. I am stunned and amazed and in love with the idea of a two-year contract,” Mr. DeWitt says. “This contract was crafted to produce a resolution to some long-term ills, not to solve all the problems of the district. We will see continued success with the team.”

Ms. Otto says the agreement is indicative of a change in the climate, culture and decision-making model of District 6.

“It is a two-year agreement, so as we see little things we need to work on, we can do that throughout the year. We can do a true model of consensus throughout the year,” Ms. Otto says. “We are at a new spot; we are at a new era.”

Dr. Pilch recognizes that while this agreement is unprecedented, it doesn’t solve all the challenges the district will face as it creates a budget for the 2017-18 school year.

“I know we are not done. We still have very complex issues we need to work on together. But what I know is we came together and we solved one of the most difficult problems any district can face,” Dr. Pilch adds. “We don’t have enough resources in District 6. We didn’t pass a mill levy override. And we will have some difficult decisions around our budget this year.” 

The updated contract also includes a definition of hard-to-fill positions, a way to pay specialized service providers for additional work, a change in how employees who resign and seek to be rehired are compensated and several other changes in contract wording.

School of Innovation receives state approval

The State Board of Education has approved the innovation plan for the Greeley-Evans School District 6 Fred Tjardes School of Innovation, paving the way for this new, project-based K-8 school to open in August 2017.

This was the final hurdle for the Fred Tjardes leadership team to clear. Now, the school has received both the approval of the local and state boards of education, and can execute its plan to be the first totally project-based, hands-on learning public school in Greeley and Evans.

“I am excited about the opening of this school, and grateful to the team who has been working so hard to ensure that everything is in place for Fred Tjardes to have a successful opening this August,” says Superintendent Deirdre Pilch. “This school offers yet another choice for our families, and a real opportunity for innovative instruction and learning.”

The Fred Tjardes School of Innovation will be located in the former Right to Read building at the corner of 6th Street and 8th Avenue. Families have until Friday, March 10 at 4:30pm to submit an application for open enrollment to the Fred Tjardes School of Innovation. Forms must be dropped off at the District 6 Administration Building, 1025 9th Avenue. This form is available online at www.greeleyschools.org/openenrollment.

For more information about the Fred Tjardes School of Innovation, visit www.ftjschoolofinnovation.com/.