Grateful for positives in Clear Creek schools

Karen Quanbeck
Clear Creek superintendent
Posted 7/7/21

Although the 2020-21 school year was quite a challenge, the last month brought many celebrations! The Clear Creek School District Board of Education approved a compensation increase for all …

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Grateful for positives in Clear Creek schools


Although the 2020-21 school year was quite a challenge, the last month brought many celebrations!

The Clear Creek School District Board of Education approved a compensation increase for all educators, averaging 5.5% across employee groups. The Clear Creek County Education Association and the Clear Creek School District team worked together to also add an annual stipend for educational professionals who obtain their National Board certification, as well as an addition to the CCSD salary schedule for those who have earned a master’s degree + 75 hours.

What does this mean for students? It means more consistency in teachers and highly qualified educators who seek out new learning. We are incredibly fortunate in CCSD to have deeply dedicated educators who collaborate, take risks, and embrace learning. Grateful!

Other celebrations include an approved budget for the 2021-22 school year that includes multiple ongoing grants. Increased mental health support, work-based learning, computer science, clean water, school safety and outdoor learning are just a few of the areas our grant dollars support. Sometimes it feels like our eyes are bigger than our stomachs as we go after grants, yet we know it means more and better things for the students in CCSD, and they are worth it. Grateful!

Most exciting about this spring? The foundation that has been built for experiential learning: At its core, this is all about learning through experiences. In Clear Creek, we have an incredible community in a beautiful mountain environment, contributing to one of the best learning environments for students.

Think outside the walls of classrooms and consider what’s possible when students learn by doing. Math and physics come to life when connected to a mountain bike. Entrepreneurial skills and financial acumen are honed when working with a local business owner. History is more interesting when you can see it, touch it, talk with those who lived it. One of the best things about Clear Creek is just that, Clear Creek. The community. The history. The people. Grateful!

One of the best celebrations recently was the completion of Carlson Elementary’s playground. A bond project hampered by COVID delays and supply chain issues, pauses as we agonized over the future of Carlson’s location, and the not surprising surprises that construction projects often bring. Challenges (finally) behind us, the playground at Carlson in Idaho Springs is now complete with a turf play area, climbing structures, beautiful pathways and more.

It is open to the community (as are all of our playgrounds and fields) whenever school is not in session. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Clear Creek voters who in November 2018 approved a bond that brought more than $5 million in facility improvements to schools. By next summer, CCSD will have delivered more than $6 million in bond projects on the $5 million bond, thanks to grants, bond premiums & interest, capital reserves from the district, in-kind donations and monetary contributions from our local community. Grateful!

In the next few weeks, CCSD is hosting a series of community conversations focused on a potential bond question for this November’s election. What? Another bond as CCSD is finishing the 2018 set of projects? Yes, and it’s a big one: potentially $33 million.

That number is dwarfed, however, when we consider the $71.3 million of needed facility repairs and maintenance identified by the state during recent facility assessments. While it tends to be true in many school districts that needed repairs far outnumber the available resources, CCSD has been more cautious than most in going to voters for tax increases. This has created a long list of needed facility updates and repairs, more than the recent $5 million bond was ever intended to address. 

Join us for one of the community conversations, 6-7 p.m. July 13 at Clear Creek Middle/High School; July 15 at Carlson Elementary School; July 19 at King-Murphy Elementary School; and July 21 at Georgetown Community School.

Community input will be essential as the Board of Education considers a bond question. CCSD cares deeply about the success of students; we want the very best for them! And we acknowledge that this could be a difficult decision for community members. Come and learn about the district and the needs, and share your thoughts. Even when faced with difficult decisions, we have the best community ever. Grateful!

Karen Quanbeck is the superintendent of the Clear Creek School District.


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