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Superintendent Report Concludes WPS is on Road Back from COVID-19

Urging everyone to remain vigilant in 2021, Superintendent Pam Swanson delivered her 10th Annual State of the District Report to the community saying, “The state of WPS remains strong,” adding, “the district is positioned to do even greater and more innovative things in 2021.”

Swanson delivered the remarks during the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, January 26.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us, stretched us and challenged us in ways that we never could have imagined. Each and every one of us stepped up on behalf of the children of this community,” Swanson said.

Because the pandemic impacted virtually every aspect of Westminster Public Schools, the superintendent framed her remarks around what she called the 3 R’s.

  • Response
  • Recover
  • Renewal

Swanson recapped the district’s yearlong response to the pandemic that began in March of 2020 when all schools immediately transitioned to remote learning and every student was provided a Chromebook and access to internet service. Among the other highlights:

  • Virtual high school graduations
  • Opening of WPS K-12 Virtual Academy
  • Food for students and families
  • Safe learning environment and 10 weeks of in-person learning
  • Creation of COVID-19 Dashboard
  • Extensive communication efforts and Public Service Announcements.

A major component of the recovery plan is to help students make up for learning that was lost during the pandemic. WPS is now considering a proposal to expand the number of learning days for students and the board recently passed a resolution asking the Colorado Department of Education to suspend statewide standardized testing so teachers and students can focus on teaching and learning.

Swanson also detailed the district’s expanded programs for COVID-19 testing and efforts to help staff receive vaccinations.

The superintendent finished her remarks by focusing on renewal, something she described as a continual process that, sometimes got pushed off the front pages by the pandemic.

Specifically, she highlighted the numerous construction projects that continued during the pandemic including the renovation of three schools and the construction that continues on the new Orchard Park Academy that will replace Skyline Vista Elementary. “A big part of renewal is reinvesting and that is exactly what we are doing,’ she said. “My hope is that later this year, we can celebrate these major accomplishments. They were of course only possible because of the generosity of our community and the passage of the mill levy override in 2018.”

Swanson also said she was excited about the creation of an advisory committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The committee will help the board and school leaders address important issues that sometimes divide communities because of misunderstandings or insensitivity.

“It is an important project, especially in such a divisive age when many people don’t feel connected to one another, “she said. “ Kindness and civility must be the bedrock of our community and the example set by WPS staff and students.”

You can view the entire speech here.

Below are some of the speech highlights.