At Laramie County School District 1, our strategic planning work continues with a strong focus on supporting students and families. We recognize that schools, family and community life are interconnected, and LCSD1 is here to serve as the conduit for our students.
As part of the healthy environment strand of our strategic plan, our goal is to partner with community and family entities to create opportunities that might not otherwise exist.
A good example is our district’s collaboration with HealthWorks to provide a mobile school-based health clinic at each of our three junior high schools on a rotating basis. The program, which kicked off last week, provides preventative early intervention and treatment services at school. We know our students cannot achieve academic readiness if they are struggling with health. Our partnership with HealthWorks helps students access health care, and we are thrilled to set the example across the state and the region.
We are in conversation with the Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne and Cheyenne Family YMCA to expand opportunities so that our students are engaged and feel a sense of belonging both inside and outside of school. We can do that by ensuring we have caring adults working alongside our parents. I will report back when we have more information.
Throughout this month, our Sources of Strength (SOS) Team has been providing parent workshops, and we have had an incredible show of interest. The team continues to support staff and student advisors in program implementation at the elementary and secondary levels, and recently provided training for members of Cheyenne’s civic organizations. As a reminder, SOS is designed to provide a framework for fellow students, staff and community members to help students deal with harmful situations. Additionally, the school counseling best practices two-year professional training for our school counselors will begin March 24.
During a large strategic planning group session, high school juniors and seniors recently provided feedback about healthy environment in their schools. A major theme that emerged was relationship-building between school staff and students. They talked about the importance of mentorship, open communication, warm and welcoming spaces, and mental health support. We plan to engage with this group again, and will work to broaden it so that we receive even more perspectives.
I am pleased to announce that McCormick Junior High officially opened its beautiful new media center, which is a well-designed, welcoming space for students.
LCSD1’s Teacher Apprenticeship Program pilot has officially launched. The program is open to LCSD1 classified staff who are interested in pursuing teacher certification in math, science, English as a Second Language (ESL) or special education. Applications are being reviewed, and the program will kick off this summer.
Speaking of this summer, our August professional learning calendar is set, and is full of robust, relevant and engaging learning opportunities for all staff, not just teachers. The district will be offering an optional Teaching and Learning Conference Aug. 7-8 for supplementary training on innovation, school transformation and leadership.
And, saving the best for last, it’s always fun to report on unique student happenings. For the first time since the pandemic, our Nutrition Services program offered its Junior Chef competition, which allowed students to submit their healthy recipes. Recipes were narrowed, and students whose dishes were chosen were invited to a cooking competition at Johnson Junior High. I was privileged to attend this event, and must say the food looked delicious.
As we continue our strategic plan work, the goal is to give our kids multiple opportunities to explore and discover their areas of interest. We want whatever this is to serve as their “hook” into school. As we expand their sense of belonging, I want them to feel like they are connected both inside and outside of school. I am excited for the ideas that are emerging in this area as we Elevate LCSD1 for our students and their future.
Margaret Crespo is superintendent of schools for Laramie County School District 1, which is the largest school district in the state.