TO ACHIEVE, INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE EACH CHILD

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POWER Zone Overview

POWER Zone's educators and support staff are dedicated to facilitating a mission focused on purposeful risk, ownership of learning, whole child-student concept, engaging inquiry and respectful relationships (POWER). Their values involve climbing with confidence where everyone has permission to fail and try new ideas. The zone is creating a loyalty effect, where working together to solve problems helps everyone succeed.

POWER Zone administrators and teachers strive to treat everyone as the most important person, ensuring a positive culture. And a focus on community service ensures their community's support in critical times. A family-first focus for a well-rounded life helps each student’s family enjoy each other, increasing academic productivity. School faculty are dedicated to nurturing respectful relationships. Teachers are given autonomy to teach and through the proposal process, anyone can bring ideas to the entire zone community for approval and implementation. All suggestions are considered with respect. The zone's administration believes in innovative change in education with comprehensive engagement, so all seek mastery.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Ecosystem
  • Arts Integrated into STEM
  • Elementary Science Labs
  • Engineering Academy
  • Robotics and Technology

POWER Zone Indicators


Hundreds of families responded to the POWER Zone performance dashboard survey sent in late 2015. The zones administrators are using the information their families provided, as a way to create a zone that is the best place to learn, work, and lead within. The word "best" can be subjective. What does it mean to be the best in the eyes of our community? What indicators would evidence that we are "best?" Finding the answer to this question is exactly the point of the POWER Zone performance dashboard process. As a collaborative community, our zone is committed to creating school priorities that are very real and meaningful.

In POWER Zone, each family's input is helping to drive zone-level educational decisions. Please browse our community created indicators to see how each directly supports your child’s ability to successfully leave POWER Zone career or college ready.
  •  Critical Thinking

    Critical Thinking

    Critical thinking refers to a person’s capacity and commitment to embark on an unbiased, self-guided, self-disciplined reflection of ideas and evaluation of concepts, while recognizing a need to understand multiple perspectives. In our zone performance dashboard survey, parents told us that the ability for their child to not only problem solve, but to also think critically while doing so, is very important.

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  •  Problem Solving

    Problem Solving

    Problem solving skills require our students to understand how to properly identify a problem, plan out how to solve it, follow that plan, and know what to do if they don’t find the solution right away. Regardless of the profession your child wants to attain after high school, he or she will need to be able to solve problems in a variety of ways. This zone indicator allows POWER Zone to support more learning environments and opportunities that teach students the ability to look at real life problems through different lenses and points of views.

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  •  School Climate

    School Climate

    When we mention school climate, we're referring to a school's quality and character, along with the values expressed during social interactions and organizational processes and structures. To ensure POWER Zone schools demonstrate a positive school climate, where there is a focus on developing quality and supportive stakeholders relationships, we will continue our unabated focus to bring a positive school culture into every single classroom.

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  •  49 Pathways

    49 Pathways

    To ensure POWER Zone students have the opportunity to choose, create and explore targeted academic and career pathways, we will continue to commit resources in this area at our secondary schools. We now have an individual career and academic plan coordinator and a dean of concurrent enrollment at Vista Ridge High School. Both of these positions provide evidence of our commitment to this area. More and more, teacher training is occurring in this area each semester, so that we can ensure we have the personnel and resources to support such an exciting and important endeavor.

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  •  Literacy

    Literacy

    Literacy is a process of reading, thinking critically and communicating around a variety of diverse and meaningful content. Through our POWER Zone performance dashboard survey, parents overwhelmingly explained their support for strong literacy skills. We couldn’t agree more. A child's future success rate across all core content areas has been closely related to their ability to read proficiently by third grade.

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  •  Safety and Security

    Safety & Security

    Our parents must know their children are safe. Our students must feel safe to learn. The importance of ensuring a safe and secure learning environment was universally seen throughout our performance dashboard survey as the most important indicator to our community. To ensure POWER Zone school environments are kept safe and orderly, we will continue to regularly garner input from our community.

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POWER Zone Superintendent

Dr. Mike Pickering

Phone: 719.494.8812

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Mike Pickering

Dr. Mike Pickering is the POWER Zone superintendent. Ahead of his appointment in June 2013, as the former curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development administrator, he provided the zone with the leadership needed to make significant progress with innovation initiatives. Dr. Pickering brings a diverse range of educational leadership experiences. He has served as teacher, building level administrator and zone administrator for District 49. His formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts, a master's in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate in educational leadership, research and policy.

POWER Zone Schools

POWER Zone Updates

  • August 2015 Update

    Values: Climb with Care and Confidence * Create a Loyalty Effect * The Most Important Person in the World * Family First * Serving our Community

    Mission: Purposeful Risk * Ownership of Learning * Whole Child/Student Concept * Engaging Inquiry * Respectful Relationships

     

    Current and Ongoing Activity

     

    Primary Literacy

    Last May, at the completion of a Language Arts curriculum review and adoption process lead by Sherry Kyle, POWER Zone elementary schools began to plan professional development around new programming entitled Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA).  Two days of training occurred over July 30th and 31st.  K-5 teachers dove into the material and began a learning process to better understand how to best deliver these materials to a wide variety of learners.  The program was chosen primarily due to its strong explicit core phonics instruction, along with the relevancy and engagement of their reading passages.  This particular resource will align well with current benchmarking indicators and will provide the zone with the opportunity for whole zone collaboration around reading and writing instruction.

    D49 Pathways

    VRHS now has a dedicated lead Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) advisor whose primary responsibility is to ensure a core group of selected teachers are continually trained in the development of ICAPs for every student.  Advisory will now have an ICAP focus at strategic points throughout the year.  No longer will ICAPs be a formulaic checklist with little to no differentiation per student.  The expectation at VRHS is that ICAPs will be targeted and supported a monthly basis for each and every student.      

    Assessment Work

    POWER Zone will now use Beacon Assessments in place of Scantron for ELA and Math in grades 2-8.  These assessments are aligned to on grade level material that has the most impact on student learning.  Beacon also creates a virtual concept math for each individual student that can then be tracked once the student takes the beginning of year assessment.  This will allow for further differentiation across classrooms and grade levels.  These assessments will also be used within the zone’s student growth portion of their evaluation model.

    POWER Zone Performance Surveys

    POWER Zone is asking students, parents, and staff to take 2 surveys at the beginning of this year in order to measure the effectiveness of their three main zone initiatives of ensuring a safe, collaborative, and learning focused environment for our staff and students, ensuring they offer curriculum and learning opportunities that are engaging, rigorous, and individualized, and finally ensuring they have the most effective educators possible in each and every classroom.  The Level 1 High Reliability Schools Certification process offered through Marzano Research will serve as a framework to measure how successful each stakeholder group believes POWER Zone is in implementing strategies to meet these initiatives.

     

    Upcoming/Other Activity


    Two main focuses of the POWER Zone this year are to track feedback from their High Reliability School and Performance Dashboard surveys.  Both surveys will serve as major components of their overall community feedback process.

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  • Report of the POWER Zone Leader, April 2015: 

    Values: Climb with Care and Confidence * Create a Loyalty Effect * The Most Important Person in the World * Family First * Serving our Community
    Mission: Purposeful Risk * Ownership of Learning * Whole Child/Student Concept * Engaging Inquiry * Respectful Relationships

    Current and Ongoing Activity
    Primary Literacy
    Middle of the year benchmarking data is currently being reviewed by all POWER Zone elementary schools with a particular focus on DIBELS growth across and within proficiency bands. Meaning, the zone is looking closely at not just how many students are moving across proficiency levels (At Risk, Some Risk, Low Risk) but also within proficiency levels. This lets educators know how students are performing even if they remained within the same band at the mid year mark. A student may have been At Risk in the beginning of the year and remain in the At Risk category mid year. However, if the student is decreasing his/her proficiency gap between benchmarking sections this student may still be making adequate growth and catch up progress.

    Curriculum Pathway Work
    Sherry Kyle has completed standards prioritization work at across all content areas at VRHS and SMS and in the areas of Reading, Writing, and Communicating at OES, RVES, and SES. Every educator has read the standards for understanding and collaborated with both building and zone personnel over what is essential for our students to understand and be able to do within each standard. Next steps are to pair some resources acquired through Flippen’s C3 (Common Core Curriculum) training with the standards work that has already been completed. These resources will help teachers define appropriate levels of rigor for each standard and require some deeper forethought in preplanning questioning, pre assessments, and post assessments of student learning.

    Growth Based Evaluation Tool

    After receiving some confirming information from Flippen’s C3 training the zone has decided to begin to target their evaluation “look fors” to the ten Marzano instructional strategies that are proven to have the greatest positive effects on student achievement. These strategies all align to specific elements with the Marzano evaluation tool, which allows for a natural and fluid progression into these focuses rather than it seeming like just one more new initiative.

    Upcoming/Other Activity
    POWER Zone Accountability Plan
    The second week of January the accountability dashboard plan the zone has been working on this year will be messaged out to staff and parents for collaborative feedback. The zone aims to develop a plan that is community created and supported that will include external measures such as our state standardized assessment data, local measures to include grade level/department common assessments and qualitative survey data such as our District Climate Survey, and teacher discretion which includes classroom based assessments and teacher observation.

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  • Evaluation and Instruction: POWER Zone began the year on July 28th with day one of a two day training on the Marzano evaluation tool. The first day of training focused on the first few design questions and related elements within our instructional model. Day two will occur on September 26th and include training on the remaining design questions and elements within the model. This training is intended to further increase educator effectiveness across all licensed staff in the zone. iObservation Fidelity, a training and element norming resource for our administrators, will begin to be facilitated by Sherry Kyle, Zone Operations Administrator, in the month of August. This training is intended to increase scoring validity and reliability amongst our administrators across schools and the zone.
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2016-2017 News

  • SES Students Set For Summer Reading Success

    Hundreds of students, parents, teachers and community members supported literacy efforts at Stetson Elementary School May 19. The end of year event focused on celebrating student achievement and providing parents with resources for continued literacy efforts during summer break.

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  • Vista Ridge Boys' Track and Field Earns Second State Championsip

    The Vista Ridge High School Boys Track and Field Team earns the school’s second state track and field championship May 21 at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. The state finals meet was postponed and shortened to two days for the first time in history. The Wolves, led by strong efforts from their sprinters, ran away with the state title, scoring 93.5 points. Air Academy High School in District 20 was second with 58 points.

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  • BOE Honors Senior Set to Earn Associate's Degree and High School Diploma

    “Meleah is the first student in District 49 to complete her Associates of Arts and Business while completing her high school degree at the same time,” said Elisabeth Fisk, Vista Ridge High School concurrent enrollment dean during her introduction. Meleah earned college credit in high school through concurrent enrollment, a program for students to earn free college credits on high school and college campuses while completing high school graduation requirements.

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  • District 49 Special Needs Students Learn Fishing Skills

    Retiring adaptive physical education teacher Bonnie Mendenhall shows Sand Creek High School tenth grader Brendan Ellis,15, how to cast, May 11 at the 10th annual District 49 Fishing Day event for special needs students at Prospect Lake in Colorado Springs.

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  • Community Event Inspires Creativity, Collaboration at RVES

    “All of our grade levels and teams have selected activities that are placed throughout the building,” says Theresa Ritz, principal. “Many of the activities combine art and math or inquiry and science.” Ritz says inviting the community to the school for evening events promotes a healthy and collaborative culture that pays dividends for student learning. “Seeing them with their families makes a big difference,” says Ritz. “When our families come in we connect in a personal way, especially for a fun event. To see families interacting with our teachers in a fun way is motivating. It’s a big deal.”

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2015-2016 News

  • Class of 2016: VRHS Marks Milestones, Considers Future

    More than 300 Vista Ridge High School graduates received diplomas May 28 during a commencement ceremony at The Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.

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  • Exploring Colorado: Camp Helps Students Develop Language, Friendships

    Emmanuel Lozano Padilla, 13, wraps duct tape around PVC pipes for a shelter concept June 3 outside the Creekside Success Center in District 49. Originally from El Salvador, he previously attended schools in Mexico.

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  • Student Council Members Bring Buddy Bench to RVES

    Fifth-grader Jake Amaya, 11, sits on a “Buddy Bench” May 24 at Ridgeview Elementary School.

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  • District 49 Earns RMPEx Foothills Award

    “By benchmarking our processes against high-performing enterprises in education and other industries, we can see more clearly where we are already excellent and where we have the most need to improve,” District 49 Peter Hilts, chief education officer, said.

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  • Student Achievement Honored During “Fantastic 49”

    Students from Sand Creek High School, Skyview Middle School and Falcon High School were honored during “Fantastic 49” achievements ahead of a monthly board meeting May 12 in District 49.

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2014-2015 News

  • VRHS Student Athletes Sign Letters of Intent

    Twelfth-graders Louis Quinones, 18, and Elway Tubbs, 18, sign letters of intent May 6 at Vista Ridge High School.

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  • Challenging Mission: To The Moon

    The POWER Zone schools in District 49 focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) ecosystem. Fifth grade students from the gifted program at the zone's three elementary schools visited Challenger Learning Center May 20. The students participated in a mission to a lunar base on the moon.

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  • Student Athletes Accept Awards at Vista Ridge High School

    Twelfth-grader Kellie Mrofcza,17, accepts the alpha award May 12 during the 2015 Athletic Awards Ceremony at Vista Ridge High School.

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  • Students Sign Letters of Intent at VRHS

    Twelfth-graders Malik Hollier,18, and Tyler Hunt,17, prepare to sign letters of intent April 21 at Vista Ridge High School.

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  • Organization Puts "Fun" in Fundraiser, Focusing on Fitness and Character Building

    Fourth-grader Natalya Gibbons, 10, completes laps during a fundraiser April 15 at Ridgeview Elementary School.

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  • Boardrooms to Classrooms: Businesswoman Inspired By Students

    Fourth-grade teacher Becki Sims explains research skills during a writing class April 14 at Ridgeview Elementary School in District 49. It was nearly 10 years ago, when Sims started volunteering in a kindergarten classroom. The experience would change her life, and many others.

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  • RVES Family Opens Little Free Library

    Logan Clemens, 5, checks out reading material at a Little Free Library gathering place April 10 near Ridgeview Elementary School in District 49.

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  • Sims Honored for Earning Teacher Appreciation Scholarship

    Becki Sims, Ridgeview Elementary School fourth grade teacher, describes the moment she found out she had earned a University of Phoenix teacher appreciation scholarship during “Fantastic 49” recognition April 9, ahead of a monthly Board of Education meeting in District 49.

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  • District Battle of the Books Arms Students for Regional

    Evans International Elementary School fifth-grader Alexis Gonzalez, 11, discusses a question about a story April 9 during a districtwide Battle of the Books competition at Evans International Elementary School in District 49.

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  • Families Gather to Explore Science, Inspire Children

    Eleventh-grader Natalie Roman, 17, teaches Nathaniel Jones-Brown, 7, about anatomy during a family science night March 20 at Vista Ridge High School in District 49.

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2013-2014 News

  • Spec. Ed. Students Walk Miniature Horses

    Sierra Jarmon, 16, a Mello Memories volunteer, walks a miniature horse with seventh-grader Raneisha Clay, 12, during a special education activity May 19 at Skyview Middle School in Falcon School District 49.

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  • District 49 BOE Honors Vista Ridge High School CyberPatriot Team

    Dave Shiller, president of the Air Force Association Lance P. Sijan Chapter, recognizes Vista Ridge High School CyberPatriot students for their state placements during a Board of Education meeting May 8 in Falcon School District 49.

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  • District 49 BOE Honors its Colorado Healthy School Champions

    Physical education teacher Tony Marino talks about Skyview Middle School's $2,500 Colorado Healthy School Champions award during a Board of Education meeting May 8 in Falcon School District 49.

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  • Teacher: 'Incredible' First Grade Music Program

    First graders perform "It's a Wonderful Life" in American Sign Language during a first grade music program April 24 at Stetson Elementary School in Falcon School District 49.

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  • Teacher Brings Panama Exploration to Second Graders

    Teacher Sandy Lamb explains her recent rain forest exploration for second graders Feb. 26, 2014, at Odyssey Elementary School in Falcon School District 49.

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