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RFSD school board matters keep rolling

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This summer, Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) board members have participated in meetings and executive sessions on a myriad of topics vying for their attention. Below is a synopsis.

Housing Task Force Aug. 31 meeting
The Superintendent Housing Task Force was established in March in response to the pressing need for superintendent housing solutions, whether for the current or for future superintendents.

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The 21-member task force, composed of faculty, staff and community members, has conducted six meetings over the past few months.

The superintendent housing issue gained prominence following the departure of Rob Stein, and the ensuing search for a replacement. As the school board recognized the importance of attracting and retaining top talent, housing emerged as a critical factor.

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The task force’s exploration of solutions brought forth several possible scenarios. The three primary recommendations were: 1) to purchase an existing house, 2) build a house on district land or 3) provide financial assistance as an equity investment.

In July, the board discussed the recommendations in depth during an executive session. Presently, the board has instructed staff to delve into the details of the first two options, but particularly exploring the acquisition of an existing house.

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To ensure transparency and community involvement, the task force will present their findings at a public meeting scheduled for 5pm on Aug. 31 at the District Office in Carbondale.


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Dr. Cole fills in 
On Aug. 14, a press release from the district stated that, effective immediately, Superintendent Dr. Jesús Rodríguez “will begin Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time-off as his family anticipates the arrival of a new baby this fall.”

Dr. Anna Cole, chief of student and family services, stepped in as the acting superintendent. She will hold the position until Oct. 20, when Rodríguez is anticipated to return from FMLA.

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“I am committed to our district and I am honored to take on these additional responsibilities while Dr. Rodríguez is with his family,” Cole stated. “We have a great team, and I am looking forward to providing all the support I can.”


School board candidates
Prior to the Aug. 23 meeting, the board hosted an information session for prospective school board candidates. Three of five seats will be up for grabs on the Nov. 7 ballot.  All of the current board members were in attendance, with the exception of Secretary/Treasurer Natalie Torres.

The session, attended by two aspiring candidates, involved a comprehensive overview of director responsibilities and offered a platform for attendees to ask questions.

Completed petitions must be submitted in-person at the District Office to Jonathan Landon, the designated election official, by 3:30pm on Sept. 1.

As an aside, at the Aug. 23 meeting, Cole assured that the board would receive regular updates about the Meadowood teacher housing project in Carbondale. At the time, she said that the project remained on schedule and within budget.


Testing shows ‘notable progress’ in math
On Aug. 17, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) released the results of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) and SAT Suite of Assessments. Both indicated a positive trajectory in student learning, post-pandemic.

In the spring of 2023, CMAS testing was conducted for students in third through eighth grades. Notable growth was recorded in mathematics with 24.8% of students meeting or surpassing grade-level expectations, which marks a 1.1% upturn from the spring of 2022. English Language Arts (ELA) performance increased from 32.7% in 2022 to 35.8% in 2023.

Nonetheless, within CMAS assessment subgroups, disparities persist, mirroring a statewide trend for students with disabilities, emerging bilingual learners and economically disadvantaged students.

Similar trends emerged from the SAT Suite of Assessments for ninth through eleventh grade students. While not fully back to pre-pandemic levels, RFSD students exceeded state averages in mathematics. Hispanic students outperformed state averages in English-based reading and writing.

In a letter to district families and staff, Rodríguez underscored the district’s commitment to learning acceleration, citing growth data that outpaced the state’s averages. He expressed confidence in the dedication of Team RFSD to equip every student with skills, knowledge and the resilience necessary for an ever-evolving world.

For detailed school-level and statewide comparisons, see the CDE’s Assessment Unit at 


Food programs to benefit all Roaring Fork Schools
Starting this school year, Roaring Fork Schools are embracing the Healthy School Meals for All initiative, which ensures all Colorado students receive free breakfast and lunch. This statewide program, approved by voters in November 2019, aims to provide nutritious meals to students in public schools. 

Although meals are free, the district encourages families to complete the Free and Reduced Meal Application, so the district can access federal funds supporting meal costs, after-school activities and nutritional programs.

At the close of the Aug. 23 school board meeting, Vice-President Jasmin Ramirez said, “I’m particularly proud of our food and nutrition services team. As one of the lucky school board directors that went to the Capitol to testify on the initiative, it was really important to me that our team made every attempt to become part of the 32 districts across the state that opted to be a part of the program.”

In addition, RFSD has been chosen as a recipient of the CDE’s Local Food Program (LFP), granting them $18,760.85 to purchase Colorado-sourced products. This initiative promotes farm-to-school ties and education efforts regarding the benefits of locally sourced foods.

Octavio Maese, RFSD’s director of food and nutrition services, expressed enthusiasm for the program, emphasizing its positive impact. 

“This program gives our students access to fresh, nutritious food while supporting local farmers, ranchers and businesses. It’s a great opportunity that benefits our kids, the economy and our local community,” he said.

The LFP pilot grant program, now in its second year, emerged after the May 2019 passage of Colorado House Bill 19-1132. It aims to provide Colorado students with locally grown, raised and minimally processed food while simultaneously providing economic opportunities for local food producers and processors. 

LFP also allows federally qualified residential childcare centers to participate in the purchasing program.

Tags: #Colorado Health School Meals for All #housing #Roaring Fork School District #SAT testing #testing
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