Colorado Governor visits Durango High School and Fort Lewis College – The Durango Herald

Jared Polis signs bills related to American Indian education and research efforts

Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday signed a bill removing pilot status from Colorado’s school leadership program. The program allows principals to be mentored by other experienced principals to create a better environment for students and educators. (Tyler Brown/Durango Herald)

A bill to expand Colorado’s school leadership program was signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Jared Polis during a visit to Durango High School.

The pilot program that began in the 2018-2019 school year was to be repealed. The program provides professional development for principals of public elementary, middle, and high schools. The program aims to create a sense of support among education officials to increase the retention rate of principals and vice-principals statewide.

“Retention is a challenge in rural communities. Sometimes the isolation and lack of that community partnership that you would see in some metropolitan areas can definitely wear you down,” DHS Director Jonathan Hoerl said.

The bill would continue to allow high-quality principals to mentor other principals to improve the climate and culture of public schools. It will also allocate up to $250,000 annually to the Colorado Department of Education for the program.

“This specific bill is more about leadership than it is about teachers, but it’s also indirectly about teachers,” said DHS teacher Robert Logan. “If you think of principals and vice-principals, they are the main leaders of the school, whatever ability they can bring to it. Often teachers move from the classroom to assistant principal and later to principal, and this transition is very important. Often there is not much support for the new manager or assistant manager. »

Logan was instrumental in starting the program and is also an educational coach for DHS teachers.

Polis said more than 40 principals have been trained at the Principal Leadership Institute, including principals from Mancos Elementary School, all three levels of Ignacio Schools and Pagosa Springs Middle School.

“It brings people together and puts them in a framework for at least a year,” Logan said. “You have a manager with a lot of experience interacting with another manager with maybe less experience. So if a new principal comes along and it has a parent that’s out of control, it can deal with that other principal.

The bill removes the pilot status of the program and makes it a recurring practice in future years.

Polis also signed a bill that better clarifies how teachers are evaluated to examine the effectiveness of educators.

The bill stipulates that 30% of a teacher’s evaluation will be determined by academic growth compared to the 50% that was previously mandatory. Teachers will also have different rubrics depending on what they teach and the students they teach.

“When I was teaching, we had this new curriculum on how to evaluate teachers, and from my perspective, that was kind of silly,” state Rep. Barbara McLachlan said. “It was kind of a ridiculous amount of work people had to do to rate us and this bill changes that.”

The assessment process will take effect in the 2023-2024 school year and will allocate $452,973 from the general fund to the Department of Education.

“That’s how we can improve recommendations to teachers and what they can do to improve their teaching skills or content knowledge,” Polis said. “At the heart of education is teaching and a good teacher makes a huge difference.”

The stop at DHS was one of the few the governor made on Tuesday as he also signed three bills at Fort Lewis College.

Governor Jared Polis signs bills that prepare students for success and strengthen Colorado’s Native American and Alaskan communities. (Nathan Van Arsdale/Durango Herald)

At the FLC, Polis signed into law House Bill 22-1327, a Federal Indian Residential Schools research program that mandates History Colorado to research the physical and emotional abuses that Native Americans face at the Federal Indian Residential School at Fort Lewis Indian School in Old Fort at Hesperus.

He also signed into law Senate Bill 22-148, a law that provides money to land tribes in Colorado to build or renovate behavioral health facilities and provide behavioral health services.

Additionally, Polis has signed SB22-104, a law that defines local government entities eligible for benefit programs and also recognizes Colorado tribal nations as beneficiaries of these programs.

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