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Mark DeVoti appointed to governor’s Education Leadership Council

Late last week, it was announced that Archuleta School District 50 Joint Superintendent Mark DeVoti has been chosen to serve on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council — one of only three district superintendents appointed to a board composed of 38 members.

“I believe my appointment along with two other Colorado superintendents is a testament to Archuleta School District’s BOE (Board of Education) and staff and their forward thinking wisdom and practices,” DeVoti said yesterday. “We are seen as a district on the move. We have incredible board and staff commitment, and all of this reflects our high standing reputation with the Colorado Department of Education.”

Created by executive order on Hickenlooper’s first day in office, the Education Leadership Council provides, “(A) meaningful forum for educators, community members, business leaders and lawmakers to examine the current status of education policies and make recommendations to the governor, General Assembly and governing boards regarding long-term improvements,” according to a statement released by the Governor’s office last week.

That statement stated that Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will chair the council. In that statement, Garcia wrote, “Education is key to our children’s success and to the success of Colorado.

“The Education Leadership Council will work to ensure our state helps deliver on the collective promise created by recent education reforms, like the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids and the Educator Effectiveness bill.”

The council will meet for the first time on Sept. 20 in the Carriage House, located at the Governor’s Residence at the Boettcher Mansion in Denver.

Regarding his appointment, DeVoti said, “The governor had 178 school districts from which to choose, for superintendent representation, and our being one of three, and the only West Slope district, should tell Pagosa residents that their children are in the most capable hands, anywhere, concerning education.”

According to the governor’s office, the Education Leadership Council was formed to provide educators, community members, business leaders, and lawmakers a forum for discussing the current status of education policies and for analyzing the systems’ near-term opportunities and challenges. The result of those meetings is to make recommendations to the Governor, General Assembly, and governing boards regarding long-term improvements.

Furthermore, the council is expected to begin by supporting the implementation of education reform initiatives recently enacted such as the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids or CAP4K (Senate Bill 08-212) and the Educator Effectiveness bill (SB10-191).

The first bill is designed to assess and qualify skills among Colorado students to prepare them either for the work force or for post-secondary education. The latter is an annual teacher assessment program, set for implementation during the 2014-15 school year.

The governor’s office went on to say that the Education Leadership Council would measure its success by its “ability to improve school readiness for all children; reduce dropout rates; close achievement gaps and degree attainment gaps among students from different income, racial and ethnic groups; reduce remediation rates for students entering higher education; increase student retention and graduation rates; increase the number of degrees and certificates awarded; and remove barriers for entry into college and the performance of graduates.”

Speaking to those issues, DeVoti said, “When considering public education, look at what we enjoy as residents of Archuleta County: Since Colorado has been tracking student academic growth with the Colorado Growth Model, we have registered above the overall state average.

“Our students attend just about any post-secondary institution they choose, and many receive significant scholarships to do so. Over the past 10 years at least, we have had 70 percent annual post-secondary enrollment by our graduates and we accomplish this in a rural district with a poverty rate of over 51 percent. And we accomplish this in K-8 buildings which rank among the very worst facilities in the state.”

DeVoti will serve on the council for nearly two years, with his term expiring (as with all appointed Education Leadership Council members) June 30, 2013.

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