The Colorado State Board of Education has approved the Innovation Pathway for Billie Martinez Elementary School, which is entering its sixth year on the state accountability clock.

Any school that has been rated as Priority Improvement or Turnaround for more than five consecutive years in Colorado must go before the State Board of Education, which has four options to address achievement issues: close the school, redesign the school as a charter school, let an outside entity come in to manage the school or the Innovation Pathway, which allows the school to design an innovation plan to address achievement and growth needs of its students.

Billie Martinez Elementary was actually approved as a School of Innovation by the Colorado Board of Education last year. However, the school fell 7/10 of a point short of moving into the Improvement category this year, and remained on the accountability clock as a school ranked as Priority Improvement. Therefore, District 6 had to go back before the State Board of Education Thursday to ask for approval of an Innovation Pathway as the means to improve achievement and growth at the school.

Superintendent Dr. Deirdre Pilch, Board of Education President Roger DeWitt, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Leadership Wes Tuttle and Martinez Principal Monica Draper presented the plan to improve achievement and growth at Martinez at a hearing before the Colorado State Board of Education. After the presentation, and questions and statements from the State Board of Education members, the Innovation Pathway for Martinez Elementary was approved by a vote of 5-1.

Martinez is implementing a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics focus, as well as utilizing blended learning and project-based learning as a way to move student achievement and growth.

“They were less than one point from coming off the clock,” says Commissioner of Education Dr. Katy Anthes, who recently visited Martinez Elementary School. “I do believe it is reasonable to continue with this plan.

“I am proud of the hard work the Martinez staff and our District staff have done to develop and implement a solid plan to help our students achieve and grow,” Dr. Pilch says after the hearing. “At the end of the day, the commitment and work of these teachers and school leaders will make a huge impact on the students. We are excited to see where they will go.”

Two new principals to lead District 6 schools

The Board of Education approved the appointment of two new Greeley-Evans School District 6 principals who will take over leadership roles beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

Dr. Suzette Luster has been hired as the next principal at Franklin Middle School. Dr. Luster has nearly 18 years of education experience, including 6 years as an assistant principal at Brentwood Middle School and Greeley West High School, as well as serving for 12 years as a teacher of students with disabilities.

Dr. Luster earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts Degrees in Communication Disorders, and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies all from the University of Northern Colorado. Additionally, Dr. Luster earned a second Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix.

Steven Isenhour will become the next principal at Madison Elementary School. Mr. Isenhour comes to District 6 with nearly 30 years of educational experience, including six years as a physical education teacher and 20 years as an elementary principal.

Mr. Isenhour earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Criminal Justice and Physical Education, a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education, and an Educational Leadership License all from the University of Northern Colorado.

District 6 appoints Student Health Advisory Council

Seventeen high school students will serve on the newly formed Student Health Advisory Council for Greeley-Evans School District 6.

The youth are currently finalizing their mission statement, and are considering "Making a Difference in Present and Future Lives.”

The group will determine significant health issues that exist in their peer group and then will work to address that issue between now and May 2019. This program is funded through a grant from Kaiser Permanente, and the students will receive a small stipend for serving on the committee.

Members of the Student Health Advisory Council are: Valerie Gomez, Jefferson High School;  Cadence Heaston, Northridge High School;  Meghan Wampler, Greeley Central High School;  Brendan McCune, Greeley West High School;  Ryan Foslien, Northridge High School; Kaleea Turman,  Early College Academy; Cielo Ramos, Greeley Central High School; Emma Voigt, Greeley Central High School; Carly Burzell, Greeley Central High School;  Jacquelyn Gonzalez-Burciaga, Union Colony High School;  Monica Chacon, Union Colony High School;  Reina Gifford, Greeley Central High School; Maya Potter, University Schools;  Brooke York, Northridge High School;  Mikyla Bowen, Northridge High School; Samantha Wahlmeier. Northridge High School and Nydia Stohm-Salazar, Northridge High School.

MLO Oversight Committee named; spending posted

A group composed of business leaders and parents reviewed applications and have selected six Greeley and Evans residents to serve on the Citizens Oversight Committee for the 2017 Mill Levy Override spending.

The purpose of the Citizens Oversight Committee is to review the expenditure of dollars coming into District 6 though the 2017 Mill Levy Override, which was approved by voters in November 2017. District 6 will begin receiving that money, and has a spending plan in place that aligns with the ballot language for the MLO. Details of that spending plan can be found at Charter schools will also begin receiving dollars this spring, and are working on spending plans for their schools, which will also be submitted to the Citizens Oversight Committee and posted on the District 6 website.

The Citizens Oversight Committee will also report publically on the spending of the MLO dollars and its review of those expenditures. The group will decide how those reports are formatted and released once they begin meeting regularly.