New Sierra Grande Superintendent Jones looks to get community involved

Kevin Jones

FORT GARLAND — 2022 was a year of challenges and hope for Sierra Grande School District Superintendent Kevin Jones.

Two years of the COVID-19 pandemic devastated schools, businesses, and nearly every aspect of life. Coming to Sierra Grande in June 2022, Jones saw the disruption the pandemic caused and realized “students had to learn how to act in a brick-and-mortar school."

 Jones remembers the 2022 school year focused "mainly on learning how to be respectful, having discipline and structure, a return to basic classes like reading and math, and giving graduates the tools to be successful.” Jones added, “ to recapture the momentum before COVID."

Looking to 2023, Jones is focused on improving the curriculum. He and his principal are going into classrooms, gathering feedback from teachers to create a comprehensive Unified Improvement Program (UIP) through the Colorado Department of Education, which he hopes to implement later in 2023.

Jones feels strongly that “the UIP improve practices for all students, whether gifted, special education, or those low-income students that are struggling." It is important that, "everyone has a voice."  He welcomes ideas from staff and takes ideas what teachers want and need."

Jones had a meet-and-greet at the school on Jan. 25. Then he introduced some of his staff, like Dana McFarlane, who uses the Multi-Tiered System of Support approach, of which Jones is a big proponent. She works with high-risk students and with their parent's support, devises strategies to help these children.

Jones spoke about improving the curriculum and posed several questions to the parents — How can Sierra Grande support your student? What do you want your child to know when they graduate?

Jones also put out a plea for volunteers for reading and math.

At the meet-and-greet at Sierra Grande School, Biology teacher Jeannette Moore spoke of utilizing their empty greenhouse for students and the community. Sierra Grande School also partners with nearby Fort Garland Museum to provide additional educational opportunities.

Jones wants to "create a climate where our community and school can work and thrive,” and works "continuously to improve, bridge the gap and work together with the community.”