As a result of recent concerns shared by members of the Manitou Springs School District 14 community, a group called Stand Up for Manitou has been formed.
This group has garnered the attention of 40-plus families as it works to protect what we consider to be the heart of Manitou Springs School District 14: the staff and faculty who have cared for our children in multiple stages of their educational lives and personal growth.
No matter our political differences, educational backgrounds, incomes or religious beliefs, we all value the qualities that have been inherent in this district for many years. Qualities that have drawn a large number of “choice” families and that have kept the staff turnover rate quite low in comparison to other places.
The latest trend of high staff turnover has an effect on everyone, especially the students. No matter the cause, it is in our community’s best interest to learn how to prevent this from happening in the future.
Stand Up for Manitou hopes to be as informed as possible and to work together to encourage an environment of trust and transparency, and to be a vessel by which questions about these events may be raised openly and respectfully in a non-antagonistic manner.
Included below are questions that Stand Up for Manitou families prepared and presented to the MSSD 14 Board of Education at its most recent meeting, Monday, April 18. We hope to hear the answers to these questions during the next Board of Education meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, May 16.
Stand Up for Manitou seeks to understand how decisions are being made that impact our children and how we can ensure MSSD14 is the most desirable district in the region. We are convinced this information will strengthen the district and, together, we can promote open dialogue and rich conversation.
Should you wish to join this group of concerned families or if you merely have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions for the MSSD 14 Board of Education from concerned community members:
- We have lost five principals, in four schools, in less than three years. What is the board doing to better understand a 125 percent principal turnover? Are the correct questions being asked? Are they choosing to leave?
- We know that COVID-19 has caused unprecedented stress in public education. Can that fully be the blame for recent increases in turnover or is there more to learn? How does our turnover rate in the past three years compare to district history and to other Colorado school districts?
- Are you concerned that parents are having conversations that include some staff feeling pressured and fearing retaliation?
- Has the board previously inquired or participated in exit interviews when district staff retires or resigns? Who is privy to those conversations? We are requesting that the BOE conduct exit interviews, apart from current administration, and potentially in partnership with an external consultant. The results of these interviews should be confidential.
- Who is making decisions on significant personnel issues that have broad impact on the district? Is the board briefed on those decisions? Has the board ever considered an external investigation to better understand district and building administration turnover?
- Would the board be open to discussing a D14 staff survey, to be conducted by an external consultant, that assured confidentiality?
- In February, a handful of administrators and staff were put on leave. What information did you have that dictated who was put on leave? Was that a request by the D14 attorney, another agency or D14 administration? How did we, as a district, support students and the staff who were on leave during that time? How did that impact staff and students?
- How can the board effectively research what the community needs from its school system? Do the district and community’s visions align?